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Some think prayer doesn’t matter, because God will do what he wants, anyway. Others pray and nothing happens, so they assume either God doesn’t care or he isn’t listening. What makes a prayer worth saying?
Without faith, there’s no need to pray.
Faith is more than believing. Since the devils believe and tremble (James 2:19), believing is no more than knowing the truth. Faith has the added dimensions of trusting God and surrendering to his will, which the evil spirits will not do.
First-century Jews believed in justice, not forgiveness.
Eye for injured eye, tooth for knocked-out tooth, the Law sought damages for people’s wrongdoing. We can be sure that when Peter asked how many times an offense should be forgiven (Matthew 18:21), he thought his suggestion of seven times was an absurdity. He would have expected Jesus to say once or twice was enough. Certainly not more than that. When Jesus answered with ten times seven, he was saying we should always be forgiving, holding no grudges.
At another time, Jesus told his disciples they should forgive the same person for the same offense when committed seven times in one day (Luke 17:4). Did they believe him? Yes, but believing wasn’t enough. “We need more faith for that,” they said.
The “prayer of faith” wants God’s goodness for everyone.
For my heart to be right toward God, I cannot hold ill will toward anyone, not even the uncaring drivers who cut me off on the road. If God loves them, who am I to be resentful?
Apparently, holding a grudge could hinder my prayers. Jesus said, if I’m praying at the altar and remember a grudge against someone, I should first take care of that problem and then come to the Lord (Matthew 5:23–24).
Faith is knowing the goodness of God and trusting him to do what is best for everyone.
Knowing how to pray is crucial.
The Bible says the fervent prayer of righteous people is important (James 5:16). That being true, I need to practice whatever it means to be “fervent” and “righteous.”
The Holy Spirit will help us in our weaknesses. For example, we don’t always know the Lord’s will and what to pray for, but the Spirit prays through us with groaning that English words cannot express. — Romans 8:26