Have you ever been suffering through the valley of the shadow of death and someone advises you to pray about it because “prayer works?” I remember being told this before I had my faith. And I remember being discouraged when I prayed to no avail. Did God not hear me? Or did He simply not care about my prayer? Knowing what I know now, neither of those answers are the truth.
Prayer Saved Hezekiah
In Isaiah 38 we learn about Hezekiah, the twelfth king of Judah. God had sent the prophet Isaiah to forewarn Hezekiah that his death was imminent, and preparations needed to be made. Hezekiah, however, decided instead to bow and pray.
In reaction to Hezekiah’s prayer, God sent Isaiah back with a new message, “I have seen thy tears: behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years.” (v. 5) The story closes out with Hezekiah saying, “The Lord was ready to save me” (v. 20).
From Hezekiah’s story we have proof that by faith, prayer works to change circumstances. That God hears our prayers and cares deeply about them. But there is more to this story than even that. Let’s take a look at another example, one where prayer didn’t “work.”
Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane
Prior to the crucifixion at Calvary, Jesus entered the Garden of Gethsemane fully aware of the torture He was about to endure on the cross. So He prayed, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matthew 26:39) This prayer He repeated a total of three times before returning to His disciples saying, “the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.” (Matthew 26:45)
What we see here is Jesus praying in the garden for the cup to be passed from Him. He’s asking God, “If there is any other way, please pass the responsibility from me.” And God (I’d like to imagine weeping) replied, “There is not, my Son.”
In this story, we see that despite Jesus Christ asking not to, He still had to die on the cross. Only He (a perfect man) could undo the fall done by Adam (a sinful man). It HAD to happen, and it HAD to be Jesus. That was the will of God.
So, why did prayer work for sinner Hezekiah and not the righteous Messiah? Because of predestination. Hezekiah living another fifteen years allowed the works of the Lord to continue being done, and he still died at the end of them. The plan, much like God’s original plan for mankind, was merely delayed not destroyed. God’s will was still done.
On the other hand, if Jesus had not died at Calvary, God’s plan to redeem Man through the sacrificial blood of the Lamb would have been destroyed, not delayed. ONLY Jesus could accomplish this. There was no one else. There never would be. And there was no better time than the present.
This is why when we pray, we pray, “Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” and then “Give us this day our daily bread.” Because we are to seek God’s will before our needs.
Faith Makes a Difference
In Matthew 21:22 Jesus says, “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”
When you pray, pray for what you need believing you’ve already received it. And remember that God’s timing is flawless. Just because it doesn’t happen that day, that week or when you’re expecting, doesn’t mean He isn’t moving. Faith is believing without seeing.
In Philippians 4:6-7 we are told, “in everything by prayer and supplication with thanskgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” And Jesus said in Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and you shall receive.” Memorize and absorb these verses. Matthew 6:8 tells us “Your Father knoweth what thing ye have need of before ye ask Him.” God knows what we need, and when we ask for it, He provides as He did for Hezekiah.
If He instead answers your prayer like He answered Jesus’, “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and mind through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). We will find joy in the outcome regardless because it fulfills God’s will, and God promises to provide us peace through said outcome.
Prayer works…by faith and in accordance with God’s will. Predestination is the reason some prayers seemingly go unanswered: because what you’re asking will be against God’s will, it will destroy His plan. When you pray seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness, every prayer will be answered.
Take these wallpapers with you for encouragement:
What prayers has God answered for you recently?