Does Prayer Work

What do you say to a woman who’s lost her child? Or what about the man who, after night after night of fervent prayer, remains unemployed? What of the friend who continues to struggle with chronic illness despite all the intercessors praying for her healing? And how do we reconcile these things when we prayed with a faith strong enough to “move mountains”?

Today a friend and fellow ACFW author, Janet Sketchley, talks about this very thing. As an added bonus, she’s giving away a copy of her debut novel, Heaven’s Prey to one lucky reader selected from the comments below.

After you read her thoughts, share yours.

Janet Sketchley headshot 350x350Does prayer work? If we believe it does, or even if we only hope it might, we’ve probably whispered “Please help them” about someone we care for, at least once.

The better we know God’s character, and the longer we’ve walked with Him, the more confidence we have in prayer. He’s developing our faith. Even so, praying for people is tricky.

We can’t ask for what we think is best, because God has a much bigger view of the situation than we do. If their current hardship is a building block for His work in their lives or to draw others to Himself, who are we to get in the way?

“Prayer is the verbalization of your total dependence on God.” ~Dr. Wayne Barber

As such, it’s more than a wish list. It includes recognizing who God is, praising and thanking Him, asking forgiveness of those things that have come between us, asking for His perspective in our lives… and listening to Him.

The intercession part, where we’re committing others’ needs (and our own) to God’s care, is vital. It’s not about giving God advice—or instructions. And it’s not like we have to point out the issue to Him. He already knows all about it, and has a plan for what’s next.

My grandmother prayed daily for each family member by name. She called it her “knee grandmas-love-197294-mwork.” Whether we’re that diligent about it or we only pray for our loved ones when there’s a crisis, reaching out to God on their behalf is natural.

When we don’t know what to ask, we can commit them to His care. I often pray for sustaining grace and that the individual(s) will allow their circumstances to draw them nearer to God. For open eyes and hearts to recognize His care in the middle of their stress. For faith, perseverance, and courage.

It’s important to pray for the people we interact with. We know their needs, and often we can be part of the comfort, support or help they need. God may want to answer our prayers for them through us.

Janet Sketchley is a Canadian author with a passion for story. She’s also a wife, mom, daughter, and friend, balancing relationships and responsibilities while learning how faith applies to real life. Combine all that with her quirky imagination to get inspiring novels about everyday women in suspenseful situations, who discover more strength within than they could have dreamed.

Janet’s novel, Heaven’s Prey, released November 1, 2013 from Choose NOW Publishing. Feel free to tell your friends! For more information and a free sample chapter, see the Heaven’s Prey page at Choose NOW Publishing.

Heavens_Prey_Front_Cover 302x468Heaven’s Prey :

A grieving woman is abducted by a serial killer—and it may be the answer to her prayers.

Despite her husband’s objections, 40-something Ruth Warner finds healing through prayer for Harry Silver, the serial killer who brutally raped and murdered her niece. When a kidnapping-gone-wrong pegs her as his next victim, Harry claims that by destroying the one person who’d pray for him, he proves God can’t—or won’t—look after His own. Can Ruth’s faith sustain her to the end—whatever the cost?

Let’s talk about this! The other night at my Bible study group, we discussed this very thing. One of our members lost a child to a congenital illness, and she shared how fervently she’d prayed for her daughter’s healing. She said she’d prayed with a “faith to move mountains,” and yet, her daughter had died anyway. But then she said something very thought provoking. “What if the mountains that move are a different kind of mountain?”

livingbygracepic.jpLike the mountain of someone else who’s watching us persevere, watching us rely fully on God, who goes from disbelief to saving faith.

Or the mountain of a marriage, once teetering dangerously close to divorce, now restored.

Or the mountain of an emotional wound experiencing a deep level of healing.

How often do we consider those mountains? Join the conversation here, in the comments below, or at Living by Grace on Facebook.

Another post you might enjoy:

When is enough enough

Resources you might find helpful:

Live a Praying Life by New Hope Publishers