Why do so many believe prayer changes things?


From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Q: When I pray, I never seem to get the answer I want and it causes me to believe that prayer doesn’t really work, yet so many people keep praying. Even people who aren’t that religious pray for our country but things get worse. Why do so many believe prayer changes things? – E.P.

A: The Bible says, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16, NIV). It’s important to notice the key word “righteous.” No human soul is perfect. Righteousness comes to those who repent of sin and let God turn their life around. He points us in a new direction to help us walk according to His truth — the Gospel of Jesus Christ — and His Spirit helps us live according to His ways.

God doesn’t always give us the answer we may want, but He always answers us for what is best because only He knows our future. Why would we not want to place our trust in the One who knows what is ahead? No matter what people may think they can do, they cannot predict the future or be certain of what is ahead in the next moment.

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access” (Romans 5:1–2). This doesn’t mean that we can ask with selfish motives. We should seek God’s will by reading His Word and depending on Him to lead and guide us to ask for the purpose of bringing glory to His great and mighty Name, for only He is powerful enough to answer the prayers of the righteous.


One of the most effective ways to pray is to thank God for all of His blessings and salvation and watch with expectation for how He begins to work. “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” (Colossians 4:2, NIV).


(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)

©2022 Billy Graham Literary Trust. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




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