Do you ever wonder if your prayers really matter? Have you ever prayed long and hard only to feel that rather than touching heaven, your words only touched the ceiling? If you have, welcome to my world. Don't get me wrong. I know God is able. And I know God wants me to pray. It's just that sometimes I feel the problem is soooo big and the answer is soooo long in coming:
- A church member is battling cancer. Do my prayers really matter?
- A long-time friend is fighting serious burns across her body. Do my prayers really matter?
- I have big hopes and dreams for the future . . . God-honoring dreams! Do my prayers really matter?
Yes, of course they do! I know that, but at times I don't feel that. When my head and heart go toe-to-toe over the matter of prayer, I need to listen to Paul. Stuck in prison, Paul looks to God -- and the prayers of God's people!
12I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, 13so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. 14And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear....15 Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. 16The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17The former proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. 18What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice, 19for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance. Philippians 1:12-19 ESV
That italicized phrase boggles my mind. I would think Paul would say, I know that through the help of the Spirit, and stop there. Certainly having the help of the Spirit is enough! But Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, adds through your prayers. Wow!
No wonder Phillips Brooks wrote, "Pray the largest prayers. You cannot think a prayer so large that God, in answering it, will not wish that you had made it larger. Pray not for crutches, but for wings!"
Yes, your prayers do matter! What person, problem, or challenge do you need to bring before God today?