Does prayer “work?” I’ve heard the question asked directly and rhetorically, by authors in book titles and from people who are looking to have their “best life now.” Does it “work?” In other words, “Is it really worth my investment of time to do it?”
What is implied in the question is that there is a “right” formula or “right” combination for prayer to be effective. Now the Bible does talk about “the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man” availing much. But nowhere does Scripture infer that “doing” it right… the right posture, the right time, or the right combination of words… will force the hand of an Almighty and Sovereign God to do something.
I will commend “laboring” in prayer, if that’s what is meant by “working.” Prayer doesn’t do the work…WE do the work to make prayer a reality. Our trusting investment of time and energy, lack of sleep and focus of thought are the tools needed to build an effective life of prayer.
But the focus of our next few weeks in this blog as well as in our sanctuary on Sunday mornings is “PrayerLIFE.” Prayer is not a job; not an add-on to an already over packed schedule. It IS our life. We are to be continually, perpetually, unceasingly praying to the Father. Occasionally, it will be expressed in words from our lips. Other times (more frequently) it will not be.
The other thing that troubles me a bit about the question, “Does prayer work?” is that the focus of the question is on PRAYER as almost separate from God. It is a “thing” we do; a religious act we practice, rather than the yearning of a heart that desperately wants to connect with Father God.
So my answer to the question, “Does prayer work?” No. But is GOD always at work for our good and His glory? A thousand times YES! Don’t confuse the two. Prayer is a pathway; a communication line to connect us by faith to the throne and ear of our waiting Father.
My advice? Don’t stop short on the bridge. Don’t stop until by prayer and faith you’ve arrived at the THRONE and the One who is seated there!