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How We Answer Our Own Prayers

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How We Answer Our Own Prayers - A Devotion from Karen Ehman at KarenEhman.com

“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.

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  1. I took a general studies test required for me to be accepted into an education program several months ago and passed every section with flying colors except math. I have since taken the math portion 2 more times and although my score has increase it is still not a passing score. I get my results today from the last time I took the test. I boldly pray that today is the day I can rejoice over this passing score and move forward in this education program I Jesus Name!!

  2. I’m boldly asking God that he restore my soul and allow me to successfully finish nursing school now – allowing my children to see that with faith, determination, work, sacrifice, and God – our dreams are possible.

  3. After reading the bold requests above, I was tempted to not add mine. But, then I realized that is exactly what Satan would have liked. So my requests are for my daughter and her husband who have a newborn finances to work out where she can stay at home with the baby, for my youngest daughter to resolve personal problems, and know what God wants for her in a future job, and for my husband and me as he starts a new job in a new city and all that comes with it – finding a new church, a new job for me or do I work, etc. I have been in a do it yourself mode for much too long and NEED to get back on track with God and His will. I am tired and desire to God’s way.

  4. Thanks, Karen, for this reminder of those “big” things I should not fail to pray about. Sometimes, the fact that they haven’t been answered after so many years causes me to give up hope that the Lord has heard or that He’ll respond with “Yes”. I pray that my muslim father would come to know Jesus as his personal savior and wouldn’t it be glorious of our great God if his whole family would accept Jesus as well? Also, I keep praying that my brother’s life would reflect Jesus. He believes but he does not live in victory…yet! Thank you for your encouragement and scriptural reminder that our God is great.

  5. God, please heal my carpel tunnel in my wrists, my arthritis and my painful thumb so that I may function without constant pain. Amen

  6. I’m praying that my daughter will see God’s goodness even in the very hard situation she has been dealing with (losing her dream of becoming a professional ballet dancer because of a very slow healing foot fracture). She is angry with God and I long to see her trust in his sovereignty for her life and to find joy in him again.

  7. My dad, Craig, has a very serious form of brain cancer. The doctors can buy him a little bit of time, but they cannot provide a cure. Only God can heal him. We are believing God for complete healing and restoration for my dad within the next 2 weeks! Thank you if God puts it on your heart to pray for my dad.

  8. God has provided an opportunity for part time. This would be a way to take more time with ministry work. Should I or shouldn’t i?

  9. My marriage is currently in shambles. I can’t see any human way it can be restored. My bold prayer is that both my husband and I can trust and forgive each other. I also pray that our relationship can be restored for the sake of our son. I pray this prayer is not too late and that others will pray for me. I know that the prayers of the righteous availath much.

  10. I am standing in faith and believing God for the restoration and healing of my marriage. My husband and I are divorced (not my choice) but I am following God’s leading and asking that He restore our covenant marriage, soften and heal our hearts and create changes in both of us. God has been so very faithful during this difficult time and continues to teach me to trust Him fully and to not be concerned about how my situation appears because it is His timing, not mine, that I am waiting on. I am committed to standing in faith and praying for my husband and our restored covenant because God hasn’t told me to stop.

  11. I’m praying for our nation and its direction. It feels a little hopeless right now, so I’m praying for God to fill our leaders with conviction and renewed purpose that our nation will continue to be one under God.

  12. Your posts and your bold prayers inspire and touch my heart! I am holding you all close in prayer today. Please pray for me that God will continue to be my strength and replace my struggles with depression with an ever-increasing trust and dependence on Him alone. <3

    Thank you!

  13. I am praying for my Best Friend of 15 years to be healed of cancer. She is 22 years old and is facing a lifelong battle with soft tissue sarcoma without God’s divine intervention. More than that I am praying that God’s perfect will would be done and that some how we can learn to trust Him even if healing isn’t His answer.

  14. I want to be a prayer warrior and find God’s direction in ALL that I do. Right now I’m praying the Lord would soften my hubby’s heart and bring him into a relationship with our Lord Jesus. He has been diagnosed with bladder cancer and after several procedures has been cleared for the next three months. My heart aches for him as he still does not turn to the great Healer who can bring him into wholeness of his body, soul and spirit. May I continue to pray without ceasing and leave the results to Abba Father.

  15. Praying for God’s direction in my job and either the courage to step out on faith and make a bold change or the faith to stay where I am and find contentment and a different perspective. I have a good job. God has blessed me in the field I am in. I felt for a long time that I was where God wanted me to be and felt like I was making a difference for others. But I’ve never truly loved it, although I’ve always been grateful for it. Lately I feel like maybe it’s time to move on. But I don’t know if that is God speaking or my own desire for a change.

  16. Praying for a future without my husband (as he chose to walk away)… that finds joy inside both my daughter and I.

  17. I am boldly praying for a new job,with more flexibility as the single mom of a 5yr old; the courage to return to school, and for the energy to get and keep my house in order. Most importantly for my family to grow close to God and one another.

  18. Karen, I enjoyed your devotional today on prayer. I know my God is a big God, and I should ask big! My husband and I will be going on a trip to another state not knowing what to expect or how God will lead once we are there–but just knowing He is leading us there–which is out of our comfort zone. I pray we will be a blessing and see miracles.

  19. I am praying boldly today to find out that I have been admitted to graduate school. I have applied but am waiting for an admissions decision. I am also praying boldly that God blesses my family and my writing endeavors.

  20. God is amazing and can work miracles. My bold prayer is for continued focus on Gods will for me and my husband to grow stronger in our marriage as we face many challenges. As we have been trying for years I boldly claim that God will allow us to have a healthy child. And as we draw closer to Him may we bold to share our witness and love of Christ with everyone.

  21. Show me, Lord, how to pray bold prayers & to show my family how to do the same. On my heart daily, I’m praying for my husbands relationship with our Heavenly Father. He says he believes, but doesn’t have a daily walk & has a hard time relating to me and my faith in Jesus. I don’t feel equip with the right words often, so I also pray for Him to guide me in showing my husband the great eternity we have in Christ. Amen.

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