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  • Writer's pictureMichaela A de Guire

Does Prayer Work?

The memes out today with 'your prayers are answered’ or ‘the first truckload of thoughts and prayers just arrived in Texas' with an image of an empty truck or something like that are ridiculous. They are leading people to believe that prayer does not work. That simply (which mind you, is no simple task to begin with) praying for another or for yourself for that matter does not help the other or yourself in any way, shape, or form. The memes are suggesting that there is only one way to help and that is through physical action, actually lending a hand, time or money. As if using your personal prayer time is not making any difference in any way, shape or form.

Praying for another can come in many forms. It can be as simple as offering up a Hail Mary for someone (yourself included) or it could be offering up your entire work day, to someone. It could be offering up your pains, whether bodily pain, mental pain, or spiritual struggles you have.

Answered prayers come in many different ways, most frequently (in my life) I find answered prayers come through another human. Perhaps it is not because someone can’t help you when you need it, but rather God wants you to ask. God might know what you need for assistance, but He asks us to seek help when we need it. We cannot or should not assume God can read our minds and help us with every little thing. If we need help we need to ask. He wants you to seek first. Maybe you pray to God, then you ask another to keep you in their prayers. And, once all that is complete, you sit back and wait. You should not be sitting on the sidelines, with prayer as your sole means for seeking assistance. You must seek, that means keeping your eyes open for opportunities that arise, alongside your prayers. Being aware of what God might be placing in your path is part of receiving answered prayers.

Have you ever wondered (whether it be to yourself or out loud to another), is it out of laziness that someone says to you, “I’ll keep you in my prayers” or “I’m praying for you.” Can they not actually lend a hand? Are prayers even working? Do they intentionally make room for you in their prayers or do they only pray for you when they remember, sort of an afterthought?

I like to give people the benefit of the doubt as often as I can, until they prove me wrong, and oftentimes I give it to them even after that. Thus, I believe it is not out of laziness that another prays for you when you are struggling. I am not good at reading what people need or when they need it. So, I pray that you have the strength and patience to live out the difficult patch you are in and ask God to lead me to help you. If you are not in a difficult patch I still pray for you, that God leads you to where He needs you to do His work. That God stays with you, so if you need help, you will have it.

Answered prayers are never running on a human time frame. Everything happens in God’s perfect timing. If you think about it, nothing really runs on your time frame. Do you believe you are in control of everything? Think again. You might think you need something to happen now, but what you think you need and what you want are not even close to what God has in mind for you. God has a way of making bad things into a lifetime of wonders, of many good things.

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known unto God.” -Philippians 4:6

Perhaps it is not that God is not answering us, but rather that we are not asking him. And if we are asking him, are we also thanking him for all that we do have now? And if so, are we actively seeking the opportunities he has laid out before us? Are your eyes not open to what he has placed in your life?

To receive anything you must first be open to it. The second thing you must do is be thankful for what you do have. And then, you must ask, for God says, “seek and ye shall find”. Are you actively seeking? Or did you just ask God and then sit back and wait? What are you doing to pursue what you seek?

Prayers are actually being answered as you read this at this very moment. They are being recognized and filled. Each request does not go unheard of by God, but if you are not actively seeking, or if he has something better planned for you, then it might take a little time. The term “A little time” is used loosely, for it could take years to receive what you ask of God. Perhaps you have not received, nor ever will receive what you ask for from God, not because you do not deserve it, but because God has something better than you could ever imagine planned for you.

If you can’t already see, I do believe prayer does work, but only if you are also taking actions toward what it is you are praying for. If you are praying to assist another, keep your eyes open to opportunities to actively assist that person, while you continue your prayers. If you are praying for something yourself, then you must actively pursue opportunities that are available to you in regards to what you are praying for.

Thus, I believe what was a sad joke, that became a viral meme and is now leading people to believe prayer does not work. Prayer does work, only if you do it and then also act on what opportunities God places in your path.

There is a story about a man in a flood, he is standing upon his roof, water all around him. A boat is passing by and the driver says, “hop on!” the man on the roof replies, “no, God will take care of me.” Then a while later, as the water came higher another boat came by, the man in this boat said, “why not jump aboard and we can get to safety together?” The man on the roof replied, “no, God is going to save me.” The water continued to rise, and the man moved to the top of his chimney. A helicopter came and a man from above shouted down, “grab the line!” The man below said, “no, God will come get me.” The man went to limbo and asked God, “why didn’t you save me?” God replied, “I sent two boats and a helicopter.”

You see, prayer works, but if you do not look for the opportunities before you, and jump on them, then, you will not have what it is you pray for.

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