In a recent email, a friend made the statement that he often considers his own prayers to be relatively ineffectual.
I have to admit that I was a tiny bit relieved to receive this email…So it isn’t justmy prayers that aren’t answered!
Yes, I can certainly relate. I’ve even gone so far as to beg God to show me why my prayers are not effective. Am I praying with a prideful heart? Are my prayers too selfish? Does God not love me enough to answer my prayers?
This friend’s email made me think, however. Shouldn’t my prayers be effective? Shouldn’t the prayers of all believers be effective? After all, the Bible tells says that, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16b NIV)!
Wait. This text specifically states the prayer of arighteous person is effective. Is this my problem? Am I simply not righteous enough?
Not at all!
The Bible teaches that when we receive Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, we are clothed with His righteousness. Consider the following: “I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he hasclothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness…” (Is. 61:10 NIV; See alsoZech 3:4;2 Cor. 5:21;1 Pet. 2:24, etc.) This means that anyone who has accepted Jesus is righteous in God’s eyes, for we have Jesus’ righteousness!
No, righteousness isn’t the reason our prayers seem ineffective, for saying we aren’t “righteous enough” is, in essence, saying the Jesus isn’t “righteous enough”!
So if my righteousness isn’t in question, why does it feel like my prayers are so ineffective?
So often in His ministry on earth, Jesus rebuked human-kind for their lack of faith (SeeMark 4:40,Matt. 8:26;Luke 8:25, etc). The Bible even records that He didn’t do many miracles in His hometown because of their lack of faith (SeeMatt. 13:58). On the other hand, Hecommended others for their faith, and their prayerswere answered (SeeMatt. 15:22-29;Luke 7:1-10)!
Thus, when we doubt God’s ability to answer prayers, our doubt blocks His ability to answer those prayers; and to put this in context of our own prayers, doubting their effectiveness is what is actually making them ineffective!
Now that’s a solemn thought!
I type this, I realize that there is yet another reason why I am tempted to think my prayers are ineffective…
When my prayers haven’t yet been answered, these unanswered prayers so cloud my mind that I have trouble seeing beyond them. But when I truly push aside all the unanswered prayers, I see something totally different, something that the enemy does not wish for me to see: I see the thousands upon thousands of my prayers that God has answered…
Take, for example, a couple of Mondays ago. A friend’s daughter was under spiritual attack. I felt led to spend the day fasting and prayer for her. At the same time, I also prayed for six other things: for my mom to be healed of colon cancer, for the issues my son was going through, that my daughter-in-law would receive the full-time job she had applied for, that my house to sell, that a friend would receive full-time work, and for some of my own health issues. By Thursday of that same week, my friend’s daughter had been delivered from the spiritual attack, my mom was declared free of colon cancer, my daughter-in-law received her full-time job, and the issues in my son’s life resolved.
But do you think I could see these answers to my prayers?
Not at all.
I was too busy focusing on the fact that my prayers for the sale of the house, for my own health issues, and for my friend’s job had not been answered! I was pretty sure this was because my prayers were “ineffectual”! Meanwhile, I was being totally blinded to the fact that God had driven out demons, removed cancer, opened doors of opportunity and secured full-time employment, all as a result of my prayers…
Let’s remember that there is an enemy who wants nothing more than to make us believe our prayers are ineffectual. When we fall for his lies, our prayers do, indeed, lose power. Please join me today in renouncing the lies that our prayers are ineffective. Instead, let’s put our faith 100% in God’s ability and desire to answer ALL our prayers: “And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.” (1 John 5:15 NLT). Let’s put our faith in the fact that when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, we take His righteousness as our own. Let’s mediate on the truth that we are righteous, and that as a result, our prayers are powerful and effective. And in case of any lingering doubt, take a few moments and ask God to show you a few of your prayers that He has answered! You’ll be amazed at how long that list is in comparison to the list of not-yet-answered prayers…
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.