A Christian’s prayer still avails much. In certain terms, it works! Prayer to God has delivered the fathers and prophets of old and the apostles of new. It still delivers Christians today!
I recall Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel. Sacrifices were prepared and Baal’s prophets asked Baal to show that he was a god. Nothing happened at all! Elijah asked Jehovah to demonstrate that he was God “that this people may know that you are the Lord God.” God sent down fire and consumed Elijah’s sacrifice. On that occasion, when a false god entered a contest with Jehovah, the false god lost. The people cried, “The Lord, he is the God” (1 Kgs. 18:19-39). God has taught his people throughout history to have no other gods (Exod. 20:3).
God’s people should never cease praying. One of the mistakes we frequently make in exercising the privilege of prayer is that we only pray when things are bad. If God answers those prayers regarding bad things that are happening to us, why would he not answer our prayers regarding that which is good? We must learn the lesson to pray regarding good things as well.
Surely, there will be times when our prayers will not be answered to our satisfaction. Jesus prayed 3 times in the garden of Gethsemane that his cup pass from him, but his prayer was not answered. Paul prayed 3 times that his thorn in the flesh be taken away, but his prayer was not answered. We must be willing to allow God to have his will be done. However, this should never stop us asking God for help in our hour of despair. As David said, “From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Ps 61:2).
Christians pray (Lk. 18:1 ff; Rom. 8:26; Phil. 4:6-7; 1 Tim. 2:1-2,8). Not only do Christians pray, they pray in confidence, knowing that God answers the prayers that are offered “according to his will” (1 Jn. 5:14-15). “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).
If we are not getting our prayers answered, there are two possible problems. Perhaps we are not asking them “according to his will.” Or, something in our lives is hindering our prayers. Peter spoke of husbands conducting themselves as they should, giving honor to his wife “that your prayers be not hindered” (1 Pet. 3:7). The lesson is, as we take our needs to God in heaven through our prayers, we must be living soberly, righteously and godly every day (Tit. 2:11-12). When our lives are right, we will pray earnestly, knowing that prayer works! God hears and answers the prayers of those who worship Him in spirit and in truth and does the will of God (Jn 9:31 ff; Jn 4:23,24; Mt 7:21).
Therefore, let us live our life pleasing and acceptable to God’s Word, that our prayers reach the ears of God and by His grace deliver us from all evil!