It’s often said that ‘prayer changes things’ but I’m convinced that God uses prayer to change people including and especially us who are praying.
1 It’s wonderful to know that prayer was God’s idea and came from him to us humans. He invites us to bring our simple, small and large and complicated prayers to Him who hears even our individual heartbeats. In John 15:16, Jesus said “You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.”(NLT), What an invitation! Whatever!
2 As we get close to Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit (given to every Christian) then we can get to hear God’s heartbeat as we pray. We end up praying the prayers that are on God’s heart so that He can be glorified and the answers keep coming.
3 In the same chapter of John’s gospel in v. 7, Jesus teaches about abiding in him i.e. remaining in him, resting in him. Jesus says, “if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want and it will be granted.” Then he goes on to say in vv.9-11, “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow.” God loves to bless us by answering prayers.
4 Joy is the fruit of what we experience as God answers our prayers. Sometimes, we have to wait a long time for the answers but we know that they are coming as God has said he will answer and he’s the only One who doesn’t lie. We have many examples in the Bible of how God made promises and then fulfilled them as people prayed. e.g. Abraham with the birth of Isaac (see in the book o Genesis). Great politicians and leaders and indeed may make promises and then lie about them and we may lie at times but God never does. (We need to guard our hearts about even small lies as it says in Scripture that liars await a sad end – see Revelation 21:8 but there is still time to repent and Jesus is at hand to forgive us. How we need to be vigilant and alert and repent as soon as we’re aware of any such actions.)
5 Again in the next chapter of John’s gospel, Jesus speaks again very plainly and clearly in v.24, “Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.” In Luke’s gospel, we are encouraged to ask, seek and knock in prayer, persevering and never giving up (see Luke 11). This was likened to a relationship with an earthly father. Usually, we can ask our human father for something specific and we expect our request. Good fathers wouldn’t give something nasty to their children especially when they have asked for something good and wholesome. So with our heavenly Father – we can simply ask using Jesus’ name and the request will be granted in God’s timescale that can be so different from ours. So praying teaches us to be persistent.
6 So, with our children, we need to teach and encourage them to expect great things from God as they and we pray. Praying makes us expectant for God to move in any given situation or extremity.
7 Praying brings hope. “Call to me,” says God, “and I will answer you. I will tell you wonderful and marvellous things that you know nothing about.” (Jeremiah 33:3.) [Put a child’s name instead of the ‘you’ italics to make it really personal and meaningful!] So, our children can ask God for help as they do their homework; they can ask for the desires of their heart; they can ask whatever and God will step in and provide all they need so that they can go from strength to strength in learning to trust their Heavenly Father to answer them!