Do We Really Believe God Hears (and Acts Upon) Our Prayers?
“Ask and it will be given to you.” — Matthew 7:7
Prayer is a gift and privilege, not merely a duty or obligation. Through Jesus, we have direct access to speak with and make requests of God as our Abba Father.
This privilege is clear in Scripture, such as Ephesians 2:18 and Hebrews 4:16.
- Ephesians 2:18, For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
- Hebrews 4:16, Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
The Problem of Prayer
Yet despite knowing this intellectually, we often lose heart, concerned whether God really hears and will act upon our prayers.
When we don’t see immediate answers to our prayers or discernible changes in a situation, we may start to doubt, wondering not only whether he listens but also whether he cares.
After days, weeks, or months of unchanging circumstances, we may lose heart and lack motivation to continue in prayer. Why get up for that early morning prayer meeting if it isn’t going to do any real good, right?
The Power of God
In these moments, we must remember that the power of prayer does not lie in the act of praying itself. Rather, the power is found in the God to whom we pray. In Ephesians 3:20–21, Paul reminds us with a doxology, rejoicing that “He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”
Prayer is powerful not because we are eloquent, passionate, or persistent in our praying. Prayer is powerful because of the God to whom we pray. It’s not that prayer is powerful as much as God is powerful. He wants to see His glory demonstrated in and through the church, and delights in showing himself faithful when his children cry out in their time of need.