by Stanley Grabill

Continued from Why Pray?

1. To Save Our Families

We may do all the right things in loving, training, and disciplining our children, but if God does not speak to them — if they do not have some awareness of God other than what we say to them — they will never become Christians. We need to pray for the Holy Spirit to convict them, draw their hearts, and woo them to Christ; otherwise, all of our efforts are vain. “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (John 6:44).

Jesus taught us to pray, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven” (Luke 11:2-3). We can pray for this to be fulfilled in our children — for God’s kingdom to be established in their hearts and for God’s will to be done in their lives.

2. To Live and Minister Well

Mark O. Wilson writes, “You cannot live well unless you pray well” (Filled Up, Poured Out). To live a good life, we need to be calm, wise, and discerning; all of these qualities are wrought in our hearts through prayer.

Peace will come when we have waited before God and been with God. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).

Wisdom comes when we have prayed well. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5). Discernment and insight do not come by way of a prayerless life.

3. To Affect God

God allows Himself — and I think delights — to be moved by our fervency, devotion, and loyalty as expressed in prayer. Scripture reveals the incredible truth that God can be affected. He can be moved. Through prayer, we can move the arm of God; we can move the heart of God.

Andrew Murray contended, “God does indeed allow Himself to be decided by prayer to do what He otherwise would not have done” (Prayer, Does It Make Any Difference? pp. 134-135). Karl Barth said, “He is not deaf, he listens; more than that, he acts. He does not act in the same way whether we pray or not. Prayer exerts an influence upon God’s actions” (Prayer, Does It Make Any Difference?).

“The eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him” (2 Chronicles 16:9). “You do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2). “When you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut the door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly” (Matthew 6:6). “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much (James 5:16).” These verses all testify that God is affected by our prayers.

“And if by prayer
Incessant I could hope to change the will
Of Him who all things can, I would not cease
To weary Him with my assiduous cries.”
(John Milton, Prayer, Does It Make Any Difference?)

4. To Bring Walls Down

“Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). Prayer moves God to brings walls down. God has caused walls to fall for others, and He will continue to bring walls crumbling down.

The reach of God’s influence and power is higher and greater than the walls the devil builds and boasts about. “Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds” (Psalm 36:5). “Your mercy is great above the heavens” (Psalm 108:4). It is a glorious thing to feel spiritual walls trembling and sense the Lord helping us to make mighty blows in prayer. If you have a wall that needs to fall, continue in prayer, and one of these days it will fall. “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me” (Psalm 50:15).

God never tires of us coming. Our cries to God for help are the same that have been prayed by people century after century, but He is still eager to hear our prayers. He has never heard it quite the same way that we say it. The Lord has heard the same prayers that we pray over and over again (for a son or daughter, for His presence and power, for revival, our praise and worship), but He never tires of hearing prayers from a humble, sincere, desperate heart.  To Him prayers offered in that way are fresh prayers. “The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry” (Psalm 34:15). “You will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you” (Jeremiah 29:12).

About the Author

Rev. Stanley Grabill is a 1995 graduate of Allegheny Wesleyan College and has pastored for 22 years. He currently pastors the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Salem, Ohio. He and his wife Sandra have been married for 28 years and have three children, a married son, a daughter in college, and a daughter in elementary school.