Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. -Mark 11:24 (NIV)
Did you ever wonder if or why prayer matters? I don’t mean to sound flippant or heretical about it. I even thought about this before being born again: If God lives outside of time, and knows and plans everything that has happened, is happening, and will happen, are prayers for outcomes meaningless?
Far from it. Over and over again in the bible, miracles often take place after His children initiate an act of faith. For example, when Jesus put clay on the eyes of the blind man (John 9), that man did not instantly see, but was instructed to wash in the pool of Siloam, and then he could see.
So, we don’t just kick back and let His miracles roll in. We pray and act in faith, trusting He will lay that next step under our feet as we move forward toward answered prayers. Some outcomes He plans require just this from us so we can travel down an intended path.
I do want to qualify that it certainly helps that we pray for outcomes that further glorify God, not just for things that satisfy personal desires. But the more we walk in His Word, the more our desires will be in alignment with His will.
Below is an excerpt from a very enlightening piece from John Piper Ministries, titled “Prayer and Predestination,” written as a dialogue. I hope it inspires you when it seems like your prayers aren’t being answered.
Prayerless: Well, if God ordains and controls everything, then what he plans from of old will come to pass, right?
Prayerless: So it’s going to come to pass whether you pray or not, right.
Prayerful: That depends on whether God ordained for it to come to pass in answer to prayer. If God predestined that something happen in answer to prayer, it won’t happen without prayer.