Q: Does prayer really change anything? I’ve wondered about this, because if God really wants to do something, he’ll go ahead and do it anyway, won’t he? He’s not going to wait until I get around to praying about it. — R. McC.
A: Yes, prayer does change things, even if we don’t always know how it happens. After all, if prayer were useless, why would God command us to pray? The Bible says, “Pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
Yes, God is sovereign, and he often works in ways that are hidden from us or are beyond our understanding. If he weren’t sovereign and all-powerful, we’d have no reason to think he’d answer our prayers, would we? But at the same time, God repeatedly tells us to bring every concern we have to him in prayer, knowing not only that he hears us, but also that he answers us according to his will. The Bible says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will … we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15).
I often think of King Hezekiah in the Old Testament. The Babylonian army had destroyed countless nations, and now their king demanded that Hezekiah hand the Jewish nation into his hands. But Hezekiah turned to God — and in response to his prayers, that night the enemy army was destroyed (see 2 Chronicles 32:9-23).
Never forget: by his death and resurrection Jesus Christ opened heaven’s door for us. Some day when we die we’ll enter that door, if we have put our faith and trust in Christ. But until then, we have the privilege of entering heaven’s door at any moment through our prayers. Make prayer an important part of your life every day.
Write to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201 or go to BillyGraham.org.