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10 Times in the Bible Prayer Changed Lives

  • Sue Schlesman Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
10 Times in the Bible Prayer Changed Lives

If you’re going to say a prayer, it’s probably because you want something to change. When you pray for a blessing, you want to feel blessed afterward. When you pray for protection, you want to feel safe afterward. When you pray for deliverance, you want your problems to go away as soon as possible.

But if change doesn’t happen—or if change doesn’t happen like you think it should—you might conclude that praying doesn’t really work.

That’s probably why God has filled the Bible with stories of answered prayers. People implored God to intercede in their messy lives, which of course, He did. As you read these incredible stories of answered prayers, notice two important aspects:

-The attitude and motives of the person who prayed

-The power with which God answered

These stories could change the way you pray and change how your prayers get answered.

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  • 1. Hannah is infertile, and she prays desperately for a son.

    Hannah was the unfortunate barren second wife, ridiculed and humiliated by the wife who easily bore children. So Hannah pleaded with God for a son, promising to give him back to the Lord: “O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life” (1 Sam. 1:11). 

    Sure enough, Samuel became the greatest prophet in Israel’s history, who maintained direct communication with God throughout his life. In addition to Samuel, God gave Hannah 3 more sons and 2 daughters. When we are willing to give our best to God, He blesses us with more!

     

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  • 2. Peter is in prison for preaching the gospel; the church prayed for his release.

    After the Christian faith began to take root, the religious Hebrew governor, King Herod Agrippa, arrested Peter and put him in prison. “So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.” (Acts 12:5

    One night, an angel appeared in Peter’s jail cell and led him out of the prison, through doors and past guards. Peter arrived at Mary’s house, where the church was gathered praying; the servant girl was so surprised, she forgot to let him right in the house. Sometimes, God answers our prayers so quickly, it surprises us!

     

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  • 3. Jerusalem is under siege, so Hezekiah prays to save his people.

    The powerful Assyrian king Sennacharib had laid siege to Jerusalem. King Hezekiah, who told his people to keep their faith in God, prayed for delivery from their enemy: “And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: ‘Now, O Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O Lord, are God’” (1 Kings 19:20). 

    That night, the angel of the Lord killed 85,000 Assyrian soldiers, which compelled the rest of the army to return home without a fight. Whenever God’s people follow His plan, He wages war on their behalf!

     

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  • 4. Jairus asks Jesus to heal his daughter so she won't die.

    Jairus, a synagogue ruler, risked his position in his faith community by making a request of the new religious teacher, Jesus, right in front of everyone: “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live” (Mark 5:23). 

    Jesus tested Jairus’ faith with a stop along the way to heal a sick woman, so before Jesus got to Jairus’ house, the little girl had already died. But Jesus was planning more than a healing—he told Jairus to believe. Jesus entered the house and raised the girl back to life! Jesus wants to exceed our hearts’ desires—he wants to resurrect our faith!

     

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  • 5. Moses asks God to see Him.

    Moses, called “the friend of God” (James 2:23), talked to God regularly. In a beautiful conversation, Moses asked for God’s blessing on the Israelites and for God’s presence to go with them as they traveled. Then Moses asked to see God’s glory—God’s very personage—up close: “Now show me your glory” (Exodus 33:18).

    God responded by tucking Moses into a little cleft on Mt. Sinai and covering his view until God stood before him. Then God removed his hand and allowed Moses to view His form from the back. What was the result of this encounter? Moses so greatly resembled God’s brilliance that he had to wear a veil over his face so the Israelites could look at him. How much of God’s presence could we witness and represent, if we worshipped like Moses?

     

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  • 6. Hezekiah prays because God tells him that he is about to die.

    When King Hezekiah became deathly ill, the prophet Isaiah came to him with a message from God that he would die. Hezekiah prayed and cried to God. “‘Remember, O Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes’” (2 Kings 20:3). 

    Before Isaiah had left the palace, God instructed him to return with a new message: “I have heard your prayers and seen your tears; I will heal you… I will add 15 years to your life.” God responds to us when we remain in relationship with Him; He may even change His mind!

     

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  • 7. Jesus prays for God's will before His arrest and crucifixion.

    The night of Jesus’ betrayal, Jesus prayed alone in a garden, asking for God to protect His followers. Jesus agonized in prayer to God, saying, “‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done’” (Luke 22:42). 

    May we learn to ask for God’s mercy, even while we commit to obey His will.

     

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  • 8. To save his life and his friends' lives, Daniel prays for God to reveal a dream and its interpretation.

    When Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar had a confusing dream, he ordered his counselors to describe the dream and tell him what it meant, or they would all die. “Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon” (Daniel 2:17-18). 

    Not only were Daniel and his friends saved, but they were also elevated to positions of high authority in this pagan country; Daniel would become a spiritual influence to three powerful kings. You have no idea where God will place you, if you are willing to identify yourself as a praying believer who expects God to answer!

     

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  • 9. When Elisha and his servant are surrounded by the enemy, Elisha prays for God to reveal His power.

    Elisha’s prophetic abilities were thwarting the plans of an enemy king, so the king sent a battalion to surround the city where Elisha was, to launch an attack. As Elisha’s servant panicked, Elisha prayed, “‘O Lord, open his eyes so he may see’” (2 Kings 6:16).

    So God gave the servant the ability to see a vast army of heavenly hosts in fiery chariots, encircling the enemy. Then Elisha prayed for God to blind the enemy army, which He did. Next, Elisha led them away from the city. If we could see God’s protective celestial army encircling us every day, realizing that they are blind to His power, we might have the faith to do whatever He asks of us!

     

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  • 10. A thief on a cross asks Jesus to save him before he dies.

    While Jesus suffered on the cross to provide us salvation for our sins, two thieves hung next to him. While one of them ridiculed Jesus for allowing Himself to be crucified, the second asked for forgiveness. “Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ Jesus answered him, ‘I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise’” (Luke 23:42-43).

    Jesus forgave the thief during His dying moments. It’s never too late for a spiritual transformation!



    Sue Schlesman is a Christian writer, teacher, and speaker. Her blogs, Bible studies, fiction, and non-fiction reach a wide audience. You can find her philosophizing about life, education, family, and Jesus at www.susanwalleyschlesman.comand www.7prayersthatwork.com. Or email her at [email protected]

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