If prayer doesn’t change things, then let’s quit praying. But if prayer does change things, then we ought to devote more time to prayer, for all around us there are many things that need changing. If prayer does change things, then let’s get busy praying and changing the things that need changing. Just think what could happen if you really believed that! Jesus said, “If you can believe, all things are possible.”1 If you’ve prayed and things haven’t changed, then this little talk is for you.
A common expression among some Christians is “praying through.” That means you keep praying until you receive a definite assurance that God has heard the prayer and will take action. Perhaps you’ve felt that assurance at times—that you didn’t need to continue praying for a certain situation because you were sure that God had heard your prayer, the matter was in His hands now, and He would work it out as He knew best.
The Bible is full of accounts of those who prayed through, particularly King David in the book of Psalms. I get a thrill in my soul whenever David emerges from prayer and comes out with a bold expression of assurance: “The Lord has heard my prayer!”
At the beginning of one psalm, when David began to pray, he was almost in despair over some great trouble, but it wasn’t long before he came away declaring, “Blessed be the Lord, because He has heard the voice of my supplications! My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices.”2
Another time David was overwhelmed with discouragement, but he poured out his heart to the Lord and came away with the sweet assurance: “The Lord has heard the voice of my weeping. The Lord will receive my prayer.”3 And another time David comes away from prayer with the words, “Certainly God has heard me; He has attended to the voice of my prayer.”4
That assurance became so fixed in David’s heart and mind that he began one psalm with the words, “I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live.”5 He knew God was going to hear and answer.
Years ago I was injured in a terrible accident that left me a total invalid, paralyzed from the waist down, and I was mostly confined to bed for the next five years. I also had life-threatening heart and lung problems, and suffered various other side effects from numerous unsuccessful operations to try to restore the use of my legs. It was this fixed determination—this praying through—that brought the fullness of faith that I needed, and the result was that I was miraculously and completely healed.
Through Jesus Christ you too can have your prayers answered just as wonderfully. Hold on to His promises. “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”6 “Whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.”7 Have this fixed determination. “I’m going to hold on until the answer comes.” Don’t give up!
How badly do you want your prayer answered? Are you willing to meet this condition, this fixed determination, or will you let delays discourage you and cause you to give up? Will you allow obstacles to block your way to victory? Will you let others’ doubts frustrate and foil your faith? There are many ways of meeting a crisis, but only one way guarantees victory, and that is to pray straight through it.
The Bible says, “Let us not grow weary while doing good”—in this case, praying—“for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”8
May your faith be strengthened as you think of King David and others in the Bible who through this fixed determination brought down the walls of Jericho, marched through the Red Sea on dry ground, and wrought many other miracles.9
Take God’s promises and march straight through any difficulty, saying like the saints of old, “I’m determined that nothing shall cheat me out of what God has promised me in His Word!”
There are many reasons why God does not always answer immediately or in the way we expect, but He does eventually answer every prayer. Do you want your prayers answered badly enough to keep praying until God assures you He’s going to answer? Then you won’t be disappointed, because God is still on the throne, and prayer does change things!