How We Answer Our Own Prayers
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“Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.’” Luke 11:1 (ESV)
A group of teenagers and I sat cross-legged on the church lawn, soaking in the warm summer sunshine. We’d just taken a break from a group game to sip something cold and visit. One of the girls had just returned from a mission trip in a developing nation and I couldn’t wait to hear about her experience.
“So, Renee, tell us about your trip.” I inquired. “What is the one thing you think you will remember the most?”
I imagined her answer would have something to do with a child who captured her heart with a sweet smile. Or a church service she attended that was so very different from ours. Neither of these guesses were right.
“Oh, that’s easy. I will always remember it was on this trip when I learned how easy it is in our culture to answer our own prayers.”
Her statement stunned me for a moment. I wondered, What in the world did she mean by that? Answer our own prayers? Only God answers prayer, right? But before I could pipe up and ask her to explain further, she continued.
“You see, here in America, we bow our heads and say grace and ask God to ‘give us this day our daily bread.’ And then? We hop in our cars, run down to the grocery store and buy a loaf or two. We ask Him to keep us safe and warm. Then parents buy their kids the best car seats available, and we crank up the furnace whenever we feel chilly. It is so easy in our culture to provide the answer to our own prayers. But the people I met on the trip? They pray God will give them their daily bread, not knowing if they will have enough food to feed their families that night. Their prayers are bold. They ask God for things they can’t always provide for themselves.”
I had never thought of this concept before and it caused me to think about two things.
First, I want to use my abundance to help answer someone else’s prayers. To share the privilege I have been given with others.
Second, I need to learn to pray bold prayers, asking God for the things that only He can bring about. That is if they are in accordance with His will. To pray for requests in my life beyond the, “Lord, keep us safe and warm and well-fed. Amen.” routine we can often fall into.
Today’s key verse from Luke 11 gives me hope that I’m not alone in thinking my prayer life could use a makeover. Luke 11:1 reminds us that even the disciples wanted help learning how to pray. They saw Jesus praying and desired to follow His example.
Ephesians 3:20-21 tells us God can do things we can’t even dream of. Even provide answers to questions that we often hesitate to even ask. This suggests we can be daring when we pray, asking God for great things done only in His great strength.
My little chat with this spiritually sensitive teen changed me. I began to work into my prayers not only requests that God would help me be attentive to those who need my help, but also that He would help me make bold requests I can’t possibly answer myself. And then, that I would stand back and — in faith — watch Him work.
How about you? Is your prayer list full of items you can cross off yourself? Perhaps it’s time you, too, began to ask, “Lord, teach me to pray.”
Father, teach me to pray more boldly. May I be both generous in giving and faith-filled in my prayers. Help me pray more confident prayers that can’t be answered on my own and can only happen through Your power. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now, I’d so love to know…..what is a bold prayer you have? One you can’t possibly answer yourself?
Please leave comment and share your bold prayer. Feel free to hop on and reply to others’ comments to let them know you are praying for them and expecting God to answer.
A healthy, beautiful child of our own. We are middle aged and my husband was diagnosed sterile in our mid 20’s. With God, there is still hope.
I would like to pray boldly for my spouse and I. I would like nothing more then for us to
reconnect. We have been apart for almost a year my spouse had met someone else
and spends most of his time with her. It just kills me inside. We still talk and he wants me to be his best friend like we had always been. He also said he wonders if we will ever reconnect. Right now he says he is so consumed with summer school he has not had the time to spend to see if we can reconnect. When he says that my heart
hurts because he finds time to spend with her. I pray ever day that God will open his heart and want the desire to work on us. I have rebuked this person out of his life. I just feel that no matter how much I pray for God to allow me walk away and not hurt like I do or bring us back together. I get nothing. What do I do. I love God I have faith
in him but I feel so alone. How do I know what his will is? I can’t do this alone.
praise the LOrd,
I am praying bold prayers in my finances and for the LORD to help me be more open with my husband . there are times when my husband intimidates me with money and I don’t feel that I am on his level financially I struggle but I do the best I can with what I have and I do contribute. the way I do things are not like him but it doesn’t make it wrong . I don’t feel comfortable asking my husband for anything that has to do with money . I have never depended on anyone but GOD and myself .. Please teach me to pray Bold prayers so GOD will bless me and strengthen me
My biggest prayers lately have been for the salvation of a couple of family members and for comfort and assurance of salvation and God’s love for my 86 year old mother who is fighting cancer for the fourth time in 20 years.
I pray for my good friend who just found out her husband of 18 years is with another woman. I pray that God can soften his heart to come back to his family and soften her heart to accept him and reunite. i know God can do all things even though it looks like this is an impossible situation.
I am praying for a mate. I have been for a good amount of years now. I am 40 years old. I have been praying the Lord would send someone to love me for me! I want to have someone I can love as well. I desire the prayers. Loneliness is not fun!
My bold prayer is for: (1) My daughters, each is going through her own problems and I feel they are not trusting God to help them. They need way more than I can provide. I will love them no matter what! I give them to God.
(2) I have a few family members and friends suffering with cancer. My niece’s cancer has returned and I am praying for her complete healing. I have cousins suffering from various cancers and a couple of dear friends. I pray for their healing.
Mostly I pray for God’s will to be done in each of these peoples lives.
I am praying that we will be able to make wise financial decisions to be able to get completely out of debt. We struggle paycheck to paycheck and it seems almost impossible to ever get out debt. But I believe God has a way! Trying to trust in Him completely.
I am praying for healing. I was told again yesterday that there is no cure for my Lymphedema which has now made me almost completely bedridden at 41 years young. I have four children and now had to file for disability. Once the sole provider, now the sick one.
My bolder prayers are for my husband to open his heart again to the Lord and for my Sons salvation.
My prayer that only God can truly answer is that my husband’s addiction to pornography will be taken away – that he will have true and deep healing as well as no more urge to look. We have been vigorously fighting this battle for almost 6 years now (with the struggle being over 15 years) and we have seen progress, but not complete healing. I pray that the Lord will do a mighty work in him and our marriage!
I have been a paraplegic since 2001. I am believing God for complete healing of a neuro- muscular disease. Until that happens I need a caregiver. The lady that is helping me now will be leaving in a couple months and we have exhausted every avenue we know of to find some one. I am able to do a lot for myself, God has brought me so far. But there is still a lot I can not do without help.
There are so many I know, some in my family, that have cancer. I pray for their healing from the Great Physician. My deepest prayer, however, is that all my children and grandchildren will come to a personal relationship with Jesus. My son Benjamin who made the decision long ago to follow Christ has let the things of this world take over his attention. He works many hours away from his family to provide support for them and when he is home takes on odd jobs. He has a hernia that needs surgery but even with insurance cannot afford it or the time off work. His step daughter has a problem that is causing her to have dizzy spells and faint. She is supposed to go to college this fall for music and can’t even play her horn. I pray for wisdom for those treating her and for her faith in God during this difficult time be strengthened. My heart breaks for this family because I know that God can and will supply all their needs according to His riches in glory, if they will only turn to Him. Thank you for your devotion to our Lord and your willingness to share what He has laid upon your heart. It is truly a blessing.