Prayer doesn’t “work.” It never has.

If your memory is clear, you probably recall how Americans were challenged to pray after the 9/11 Islamic terrorist attacks.  I remember repeatedly hearing, “Prayer works.”  The practice of prayer was almost deified as we worked through our national grief.  I have heard the cliche many times since.  It always bothers me.  Prayer doesn’t “work.”  It never has.  However, God works through prayer.  He particularly works on behalf of His people when they humble themselves and petition His sovereign and good throne. 

Jodi and I are reading a devotional written by Dr. Sam Storms.  The book is entitled A Sincere and Pure Devotion to Christ: 100 Daily Meditations on 2 Corinthians (Crossway, 2010).  Chapter four (“Prayer: Dealing with Our Doubts”) is based upon Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 1:11. 

“You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.”

Storms spends the remaining space in the chapter proving that the Apostle Paul firmly believed that God both hears and answers the prayers of His children.  This, asserts Storms, is the rationale for Paul repeatedly asking others to pray for him (Rom. 15:30-32; Phil. 1:19; Philem. 22). Although absolute sovereignty is what Paul loved to ascribe to God, he took seriously the Scriptural exhortation to pray.  Consequently, Storms writes,

“…we must never presume that God will grant us apart from prayer what He has ordained to grant us only by means of prayer. We may not have the theological wisdom to fully decipher how prayer functions in relation to God’s will, but we must never cast it aside on the arrogant and unbiblical assumption that it is ultimately irrelevant to God’s purpose for us and others” (p.38).

Storms concludes the chapter:

“Here is the bottom line: If we don’t ask, God doesn’t give. If God doesn’t give, people don’t receive. If people don’t receive, God won’t be thanked.  Think about it.  Better still, pray about it” (p.38).

This morning in our devotional time, Jodi and I concluded our reading of the Sermon on the Mount.  Matthew, chapter seven, contains these words:

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (7:7,8; NABS-Updated).

Jesus concludes His comments on prayer in that context by informing us that our heavenly Father enjoys giving good gifts to those who ask of Him (7:11). 

In my previous entry, I informed you of my decision to resign.  I also requested your prayers.  Like Paul, I am convinced that God does indeed both hear and answer the prayers of His children.  If you have (or will) pray for us as we wait upon God and search for a new ministry, thank you!  As you can imagine, we are praying daily for the Lord to guide and provide.  We are asking for “good gifts” (Mt. 7:11).  We believe God is capable and willing to give just that!

Again–THANK YOU FOR PRAYING FOR US!

Please know that we are more than willing to lift up your requests to the Father!  You can reply to this blog and we will pray for you and  yours. 

PS–If you would like to purchase Sam’s book, here a link:

http://www.crossway.org/books/1845-ebook/

See you before the throne!

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