“The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16)
In the book Huckleberry Finn, the main character — Huck, as he was called — needed fishhooks. Someone had told him that God always answers prayers, so for three days Huck Finn prayed for fish hooks. But he received none. So he concluded: “There ain’t nothing in it.”
James tells us that the prayers of a righteous person are powerful and effective. Jesus said that if we ask anything in his name, he will do it. In Isaiah 65:24 we’re told that God answers before we even call on him. And yet there seem to be so many unanswered prayers. We pray for healing, but healing doesn’t happen. We ask for open doors, but one door after another slams shut. We plead with God to help us overcome an addiction, but there’s no change.
Does God answer prayer? Of course he does. But prayer is not meant to give us anything we might want. God promises to give what we ask for when we ask in line with his will for our lives and for his world (This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us — whatever we ask — we know that we have what we asked of him. 1 John 5:14-15).
We pray in order to connect with God and to share how thankful we are for who he is and all he has done for us. Praying is our communication line with the Lord. He hears all our prayers and answers them according to our needs and according to his will.
Thank you, Lord, for hearing us and for answering our prayers. Help us to understand that you know exactly what we need, and that you answer our prayers accordingly. Amen.