Answered (Questions about) Prayer
- Monday, November 06, 2006
6) How do I know when to stop praying for something?
You should pray until the prayer is answered or until the circumstances change or until God lifts the burden from your heart.
7) How should I pray for a loved one who is away from the Lord?
Pray first for yourself -- that God will deliver you from anger and bitterness and unbelief. Then pray that God will open the eyes of their heart so that light from heaven will come flooding in. See "Praying for Your Prodigal."
8) Does God hear the prayers of non-Christians?
Because God knows all things, He hears every prayer of every person everywhere at all times. And God often graciously answers those prayers as part of His common grace to the whole human race. But God has bound Himself in a special way to hear and answer the prayers of His own children offered in faith in Jesus' name. See "Does God Hear Hindu Prayers?"
9) Some people say that it is wrong and a lack of faith to repeatedly pray for the same things over and over again. What do you say?
Persistence in prayer honors God because it expresses our continuing faith in Him. Repeating our requests strengthens our faith, purifies our motives, and causes us to glorify God when the answer finally comes. See "Three Levels of Prayer."
10) Is God more likely to answer our prayers if many people pray for the same thing? If the answer is no, what is the real value of having many people praying for the same requests?
I am not aware of any Scripture that promises swifter or bigger answers if ten people pray for something instead of five or one hundred pray for something instead of ten. God can answer the prayers of one desperate mother praying alone in her room just as easily as he can answer the prayers of 10,000. Numbers by themselves do not impress the Lord. However, that doesn't mean that united prayer is useless. United prayer halves our burdens and doubles our joys. And God is greatly glorified when his children come together to cry out to him in a time of great need. See "Helping Through Prayer."
11) Why does God not answer my prayers?
There is no one answer that will cover all situations. Sometimes we ask for the wrong things. Sometimes we ask from wrong motives. Sometimes our sin blocks the channel of God's blessing. And sometimes when we pray, God overrules our requests for His glory and our greater good. See "The Mystery of Unanswered Prayer."
12) How can we know if we have enough faith when we pray?
Faith can be hard to measure, and we are often unreliable judges of our own heart. Faith like a mustard seed moves mountains. It's not the amount of faith but the object of faith that matters. A little faith in the right object (Jesus Christ) accomplishes much more than great faith in the wrong object. Prayer itself is an expression of your faith. Don't worry about how much or how little faith you have. Pray as best you can, and leave the results with the Lord. See "Mountain-Moving Prayer."
13) When we pray for the sick, should we always pray for physical healing?
Not necessarily. There are times when a saint of God is truly ready to go home to heaven. In those cases, we need not pray that suffering be prolonged or that this life be prolonged. But most of the time, we are justified in asking God to heal. Remember these two things: First, healing comes ultimately from the Lord, and He grants healing according to His own will. Second, healing means much more than rolling back the clock and reversing the sickness. Healing means "wholeness." It means becoming all that God wants you to be -- body, soul and spirit. In that sense, none of us will be completely healed this side of heaven. When we pray for the sick, we are asking God to bring them to a place where they are all that God wants them to be. We shouldn't focus only on the physical side of things. See "Praying for the Sick."
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