Does prayer really change things?

As a working mom, I tried to take advantage of every minute of the day. On this particular day, I decided to drive to a nearby park during my lunch hour and balance my checkbook while I ate lunch. The park was located a mile or so from the school where I worked and it was another mile back into the park for parking. I thought it would be a good way to get in some nature, do something productive to check off my “to-do” list, and also have a quiet lunch. It was drizzling rain so I parked my car and sat inside to work on my checkbook while I ate.

When I finished and it was time to go back to the office, I put everything away and turned the key in the ignition to start the car – but it just ground. Oh no! I had turned on the lights since it was raining and I had forgotten to turn them off when I turned off the car! Now, my car would not start!

I was in a panic and didn’t know what to do. It was at least two miles back to the school and I was wearing heels! That would be an awful trek in the rain. This was before the days of cell phones so there was no way to call someone to come rescue me.

“God, help me,” I cried in desperation, mainly because there was no one else to call on.

It was then that I noticed a car parked to the left of my car facing perpendicular to where I was. I thought it strange that it was there because I didn’t hear anyone drive up. Since this was a very secluded area I had always taken a brief notice of any occasional car that happened to drive by and, oddly, I never saw this one pull up and park right beside me.

There were no other cars around. Still in a bit of a panic, I quickly weighed my options, I knew I was very vulnerable as I was in an isolated park with no one around but a strange man. My car was dead and he knew it. I could take off walking the two miles in the rain in my heels or I could ask him for help. I decided my only option was to ask him for help. After all, If he wanted to harm me, he could easily do that if I was on foot.

As I approached him, he was just sitting in his car looking straight ahead. The car was an older model, but extremely clean. I could tell he was African American and reasonably young – maybe mid 30’s. I nervously walked up to him and asked if he happen to have any jumper cables. He responded as though he was just waiting for me to ask. Obviously, he had heard my griding car. When he turned to answer me, I noticed that he had the most beautiful skin and the kindest smile I have ever seen.

He said “Yes, I do.” and proceeded to slowly get out of his car and walk to the back to open the trunk. When he opened it, I noticed that there was a pair of jumper cables lying there. Strangely, that was the only thing in the trunk.

I told him how thankful I was for him and that he was a God send as I had prayed for the Lord to help me. “That’s always the best thing to do,” he said, with that kind smile.

He promptly jumped off my car and I thanked him very much and quickly got into my car to head back to the office as by now I was running late.

As I drove off, I started to wonder. Could that have been an angel? Why didn’t I hear the car drive up? His countenance was so clean and his car was impeccable. Why were there just jumper cables and nothing else in his trunk? There was just something about him that seemed a bit out of the ordinary.

I can’t say for sure if he was an angel sent from heaven to help me in my distress or just a normal, yet kind human being that God put in the right place at the right time, but I know without a shadow of a doubt that God answered that desperate prayer in my time of need.

For what should we pray?

young woman on her knees praying beside her bed
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There are a lot of different views on prayer today. I’ve heard some say that we shouldn’t bother God with menial prayers. Are they saying that God is limited and can only handle a certain amount of requests each day? I’m sure that’s not the case. After all, he knows every sparrow that falls from the sky thoughout the world. (Matthew 10:29)

Some say we shouldn’t ask for selfish things like helping to find lost keys or parking space. I can’t say how God feels about our selfish prayers but I can say that when I do pray for such things, I always get a better result than when I don’t. I’ve prayed for room decorating decisions, lost items, and even help with a bad hair day, and am amazed sometimes at how quickly I get inspiration or help.

God is not a genie in a bottle. But He is concerned about everything that concerns us. The Bible tells us to “Pray without ceasing.” ( 1 Thessalonians 5:17) I believe that this means we can pray about anything because God loves us and wants us to be in communion with him.

But what about when He doesn’t answer?

The problem is not in asking but in the receiving. If we ask with wrong motives for our own pleasure we ask amiss. The Lord’s probably not going to answer that prayer. (James 4:3) But, what if we ask believing and with the right motive and we still don’t get the answer we want or no answer at all. Do we then have enough faith that God knows what He’s doing?

Just like a loving parent never gives their child everything they ask for, we should trust God when He doesn’t give us what we ask for. Like you, I’ve seen almost immediate answers. I’ve seen slower answers where God will give me hints that he working in the situation and I’ve prayed for some things for years and it doesn’t seem like anything is changing, yet my gut and trust in the Lord tells me he is working in that life or situation.

How should we pray today?

There are a lot more serious things to pray for these days than lost keys or parking spots. We live in a world where we incur serious health problems, addictions family issues, divorce, crime, death, and an increasing host of other problems every single day. But when we’ve trained ourselves to come to God with the little things, it builds our faith for when we need a larger miracle.

Praying hands on a Holy Bible
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Perhaps you’ve been praying for a loved one to come to salvation. Keep in mind that God gave all of humanity free will. He will never go against that loved one’s free will no matter how much or how long you pray for them. But, rest assured that God is working in situations to draw them to Him so keep praying and don’t give up.

Accepting an unanswered prayer takes just as much faith as an answered one.

Many times God goes above and beyond what we’ve even asked. He really shows out and answers in a way that surprises us and in a manner we could have never even thought of.

The Bible tells us to Pray for each other, (James 5:16,)

Pray in every situation, (Philippians 4:6),

Pray continually ( 1 Thessalonians 5:17),

Pray in the spirit, (Ephesians 6:18,)

Always pray, (Luke 18:1),

Be faithful in prayer (Romans 12:12),

Be devoted to prayer, Colossians 4:2

There’s a lot at stake in our world today and we are naturally concerned about the kind of place we will leave our children and grandchildren. There’s much we can’t control in this world gone mad, but there is plenty we can influence through prayers for our children, families, governments, schools, and communities. We often say, “All we can do is pray.” And sometimes that is literally all that we can do, but let’s never dismiss prayer as something not important that’s never going to alter the outcome, because it will perhaps more than anything else.

Why are we reluctant to pray?

So if prayers are so welcome to God and he wants us to pray about anything, and everything at all times, why do we often neglect to do so?

Unfortunately, we have an adversary who doesn’t want us to pray because he knows how effective prayer is. Also, our carnal human nature makes us think that many times we can just fix things without God’s help. How many times do we try to fix our situation first before even thinking to pray?

The most important prayer

The most important prayer by far is the prayer of faith to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. If you haven’t done that, it’s the place to start. He will always hear and respond to the prayers of his children. Maybe not always in the way we’d like, but with absolutely our best interest in mind.

Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.

1st Peter 5:7

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