When Praying Doesn’t Change Things

praying doesn't change things
praying doesn't help
photo by Miriams-Fotus at Pixabay.com

Is there any point in praying?

“What is the point in praying when it doesn’t change things?” she asked. “It’s hard to even go to God to ask Him because it feels like He’s not doing anything, anyhow.”

We have all been there when it comes to prayers unanswered. Instead of going to God’s Word, we commiserate with others. I’ve been there.

I have also learned to go to the Word and see what God says about my quandaries, whatever they are. Every time I ask God for wisdom and direction, He gives it. This Word is packed full of promises and ways to do things. All we need to do is obey.

When it seems like praying doesn’t change things, it does

The evening was a fun one, and I’d laughed and enjoyed the company of our youth group. Just before we were asked to bow our heads for a closing prayer, our leader asked us to sing When the Roll is Called Up Yonder. We sang it with gusto. And I prayed – during that song – for my friend who was not ready for that roll to be called up Yonder. I knew this for a fact, so I prayed that God would speak to her during this song.

We finished singing and went on our merry way, visiting and chatting together. My friend joined in the mix with nary a look of consternation. I knew my prayer made no difference, and for a few moments, I felt betrayed by God. I prayed so hard for her, and she never batted an eye.  How could His spirit not bring conviction to her, making her want to become right with God?! I was positive and told myself that praying doesn’t change things.

It was

Years later, I happened in a conversation with my friend. She explained her conversion experience and the patience of God as He gently wooed her to come to Jesus.

“I remember that one night when we sang When the Roll is Called Up Yonder, I knew God was talking to me. It was impossible to get away from His voice, but I said  ‘No’ that night. I never forgot that feeling, and that is one of the things that made me finally give in.”

And to think that I told myself that night, “Praying doesn’t change things.”

I smiled, nodded, and expressed joy in her newfound love of Jesus. Now we belonged to the same family.

praying doesn't change things
Photo credit: Pixabay

And God said

God said, “And you thought nothing was happening that night. See?!”

Yep. I saw.

I remember that moment and that conversation when I think nothing is happening. I’m back there in that room, among my friends, and I remember the feeling of helplessness because I prayed so hard, and I thought God was going to answer then. He didn’t, but He was working. Even when it seemed nothing was happening in her heart, it was. He was there all that time.

How to keep praying even when it seems praying doesn’t change things

So what do we do when we think it’s no use? Here is what I do. I go to the Word.

  • Keep praying. Philippians 4:6-7: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
  • Read scripture. When you think your problems are big and God is small, go to Job, Habakkuk, or Elijah and read what God said to them. To read about Job, go here. To read the story of Habakkuk, go here. Especially profound is this verse and these verses. If you want to read about Elijah’s depression after the Mt. Carmel miracle, read this. Every one of these men were discouraged and felt like they were the only ones left serving God. How wrong they were! You are not the only one, and God is still working!
  • Claim Truth. Recognize Who God really is. When we do this, we cannot help but praise God for His character. Isaiah says: Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.  Click here to learn about the character qualities of God, then praise Him for these qualities. It’s not about our feelings or emotions; it is about Truth. Repeat those claims back to God. He loves to hear us talk about Him!

Our faith must be based on fact. The more experiences we have, the more we claim the power of His Word. Worship the God you serve and keep praying. Reclaim the truth of Who He is every single day. It will change your view. It will change your prayers, and it will change you. Then you will never want to stop praying for those you love.

praying doesn't change things