One of the most discouraging things I believe for a prayer warrior is not knowing that your prayers have any impact.
Take the prayer warriors who are warring against the war in the Ukraine. For months we have been fasting and praying and doing spiritual warfare. But to what end? The war continues, atrocities continue to be committed, innocent people continue to die, a country continues to be decimated. I, for one, find it all rather discouraging, and more than once I have been tempted to quit.
It so often happens for this prayer ministry, and for hundreds of others like it, that people write in asking for prayer, but they never follow up to let us know how things are going. Even when we write to them, they don’t respond. Are our prayers having any impact whatsoever?
And then there’s the times when we pray for someone who does follow-up, only to learn that the situation may even be worsening. Is all of the effort for naught?
Of course faith is a major factor to answered prayer and is a huge component to a successful prayer warrior: “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6 NLT). But just how are we to maintain that faith when we can’t see the impact of our efforts?
As I write that last question, it occurs to me that the question is wrong; and it is this wrong question that may be bringing on the discouragement!
You see, “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” (Hebrews 11:1 NLT)! The fact that we even ask the question of how we are supposed to maintain our faith in prayer when we can’t see the impact of our efforts is a vital sign of lack of faith! Faith means that we can’t see the evidence!
But God doesn’t leave us without anything to encourage us in our spiritual battles.
Take the war in the Ukraine, for example. Sure, we all prayed that the war would end, but it drags on. But didn’t we also pray for the safety of civilians? True enough, atrocities were committed, but millions were able to flee the country, and the many of the areas where such horrors were being committed were areas that were liberated early in the war. And what about the benevolence of the Polish people, and all of the hundreds of others around the world who reach out to the refugees with humanitarian aid, who open their homes to take them in, who sponsor them to begin new lives in other countries? Aren’t those direct answers to our prayers? And if God is giving us evidence of the power in our prayers in these overt ways, can’t we believe Him to be answering other prayers as well? Let’s face it: our news coverage is limited at best. We truly don’t know how much impact our prayers are having!
I had been praying for a specific situation in someone’s life, and the problems just seemed to be compounding. It was discouraging to continue praying, to say the least. Upon receiving yet another prayer request from this person, I realized that the new request might elude to that fact that the former situation had resolved… So I asked some specific questions. Sure enough, that specific situation in this person’s life had been resolved! The person had simply not thought to let us know, little knowing that by not telling us, she was contributing to discouragement for prayers for her other situations!
The point is this: If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you are covered by His righteousness: “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NASB); “I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness…” (Isaiah 61:10 NASB).
This is not a righteousness of our own, for, “…all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment…” (Isaiah 64:6 NASB). It is His righteousness. It is a gift.
Believing this is the first step to faith in prayer. We have to understand that we are covered by Him, and as a result, we have access to the throne of grace: “Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, through His flesh…“ (Hebrews 10:19-20 NASB). That means that when we pray, we stand before God’s throne, clothed in Jesus’ righteousness!
Does this add power to our prayers? You bet it does: “A prayer of a righteous person, when it is brought about, can accomplish much.” (James 5:16b NASB)!
Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see the answers to your prayers. They are still powerful and effective, because of Jesus. We may not see what’s going on beyond our limited vision; but we can have faith — the evidence of things we cannot see — that our prayers are powerful and effective!
Oh, and if you are the one asking for prayer, don’t forget to notice and share even the tiniest response to those prayers. Not only will it boost your own faith, but it will provide encouragement to the prayer warriors as well! After all, doesn’t God deserve the praise?
In His love,
Associate Director, Answers2Prayer Ministries