United Prayer for America

Does Prayer Really Work?

There have been many recent studies on the effects of intercessory prayer for the sick. One such study says that the people who were prayed for actually faired worse than those who were not prayed for. According to this study done by Harvard Medical School, “In a clear setback for those who believe in the power of prayer, their prayers were not answered. Prayers offered by strangers did not reduce the medical complications of major heart surgery. Not only that, but patients who knew that others were praying for them fared worse than those who did not receive such spiritual support, or who did but were not aware of receiving it.http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/2006/04.06/05-prayer.html

So does this settle the much asked question, “Does prayer really work”? Now that scientists have determined that prayer doesn’t work, should that prevent us from praying?

We cannot conform the Lord to a scientific study. When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, he told Jesus to throw Himself down so that the angels would rescue Him. Jesus responded with the following verse, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’ “Matt 4:7 (NKJV). Even though God can rescue us from a fall, we are not to tempt Him by “testing” out His promises in this way. We are to stand on His promises, when praying. However, standing on His promises is different than tempting God to see if His promises work.

Many people do not believe in the power of prayer. Both Chrisitians and non-believers do not believe that God answers prayer.  This is very sad, because God has many blessings He would like to bestow on us through faith and prayer, but we have to believe in prayer in order to have the prayers answered. When I say blessings here, I do not necessarily mean financial blessings. Many preachers teach the health, wealth, and prosperity gospel today, but this is not scriptural. God does not teach that all blessings in the Bible have to do with finances.

Most promises for answered prayer in the Bible are conditional. If you want answers to your prayers, then you must meet the conditions for prayer. Even though God answers prayer, we should not believe that God is going to answer every prayer exactly the way that we want it answered. He will not answer every prayer just as an earthly father isn’t going to give his child everything he/she asks for. But I wouldn’t settle for mediocre prayers, just because He might not answer. I like to “Pray Big” prayers, because we serve a big God. It is up to Him to determine how to answer our prayers. I don’t believe God has ever said, “Oops! I shouldn’t have answered that prayer.” There are many prayers that I am still praying because I still have not received an answer. However, I know God listens to my prayers, because I have had many prayers answered. The Bible says, “You have not because you ask not.” So don’t be afraid to pray unless the prayer is a selfish prayer. Here are some of the conditions we have to meet in order to receive answers to prayer:

    1. All known sin should be confessed to the Lord. (see Sin List from A-Z)
      1. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear. Psalm 66:18 (NKJV)
      2. Whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep his commandments and do what is pleasing in His sight. 1 John 3:22 (NASB)
      3. Behold the Lord’s hand is not so short that it cannot save; nor is His ear so dull that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear. Isaiah 59:1-2(NASB)
    2. We should not pray selfish prayers.
      1. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. James 4:3 (NASB).
    3. We should not harbor unforgiveness in our hearts.
      1. Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions. Mark 11:25-26 (NASB)
    4. Husbands and wives should treat each other biblically.
      1. You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that you prayers will not be hindered. 1 Peter 3:7 (NASB)
      2. We have to have enough faith to believe God will answer our prayers.
        But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord. James 1:5-7 (NASB)
    5. We must pray according to the will of God. Perhaps He does not want to heal an individual because it is time for them to die.
      1. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done. Matt 6:10
      2. My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will. Matt 26:39

Taken from How to Pray by R.A. Torrey pages 63-73

Torrey, R.A. How to Pray. Whitaker House, 1983.

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Categorised in: Hindrances to Prayer, Recent Posts, Sin List, Sins Confessed Up-to-Date, Uncategorized, Why Pray?

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  1. The Christianity Test Part 7 – 1 John 3:10-24 | Prayer In Every City
  2. Do you meet the conditions for answered prayer? | Prayer In Every City

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