Praying Makes A Difference
A devotional by Amy Odland
“David built an altar to the Lord there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then the Lord answered his prayer in behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped.” –2 Samuel 24:25 (NIV)
Do you find your levels of persistence in prayer lagging now and then, ebbing away as the days of seemingly unanswered prayers stretch out behind you? You ask for family members to find Christ, for healing from ailments, for thorns to be removed...for good things that should be His will. But you hear nothing and wonder if it even matters if you pray or not.
What differences do our prayers make? Could the prayers of the saints stop the Coronavirus pandemic of today if we dared to ask?
There are many instances of God “changing” His mind because of prayer. I want to look at two very briefly.
The first happened in Exodus 32:11-14, when Moses interceded to stop God from destroying all of Israel while His anger burned toward them after they’d made the golden calves while Moses was up on Mount Sinai getting the scoop from God for the tablets. Verse 14 says “Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.”
The second occurred in 2 Samuel 24 when David took a census of the people of Israel, when he knew he wasn’t supposed to, and God gave him three choices for the punishment for all of Israel. Aka, the whole country was going to pay for the sin of their king. The “three days of plague” began and 70,000 people died the first day. David built an altar to the Lord at the place where the angel’s hand had stopped. He offered sacrifices there and his prayers were answered, according to verse 25, as shared above.
Maybe you haven’t experienced this, but I have been up and down in my own prayer life. At times I’ve felt like the persistent widow in Luke 18 who wouldn’t quit until she got a yes. Other times I’ve felt like the disciples who failed to pray with Jesus the night of his capture in the garden ... I’ve been unable to see the urgency and unable to stay alert.
Examples like the two I shared above remind me that although God is omniscient and omnipotent, He wants to hear from me. He created man (and woman) in His image. He knew how this was all going to end, but He still walked in the garden with Adam and Eve because He wanted relationship. He wants relationship with ME; He wants relationship with YOU.
Do I alone have the power to change things? Most likely not if I’m praying for selfish reasons, but definitely not if I don’t even pray at all. Dr. Ralph F. Wilson says:
“You'll find a number of writers that seem to imply that prayer doesn't change God, it changes us. While, no doubt, the process of prayer does change us, nevertheless Exodus 32 clearly indicates that Moses' prayer changed God's proposed actions. If this is true – then prayer is powerful, since by prayer we an appeal to and induce God to do something he otherwise would not have done. That's the basic premise that underlies a prayer of petition or intercession.”
Keep praying, friend.
If you pray for cancer to be cured in ten of your friends and only two are healed, how thankful will those two be that you prayed? Should you have not prayed at all because only two were healed? YOU make a difference; don’t give up on prayer even when things feel hopeless.
Be encouraged by this verse found in Micah 7:7 (NIV): “But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.”
Do you want to know more about prayer? Explore this link to Dr. Wilson’s article on prayer for further reading: http://www.jesuswalk.com/greatprayers/2_moses_intercession.htm.
God bless you!
Amy Odland has been serving in church ministry as a volunteer leader for over 16 years, in various worship, prayer and women’s ministry roles.
Her passion for helping women stems from her own struggles and lessons learned in her journey as a Christian since first deciding to follow the Lord in 1994.
Amy’s priorities after her faith include her family — husband Rick, and their four kids — as well as extended family who all live close in proximity and the many friends she’s made over the years.
In addition to a love of teaching and helping her husband with the bookkeeping for their many businesses, Amy has recently expanded her stay-at-home work to include leading author’s book launch teams for publishing companies like Baker, Revell, Barbour, and Lifeway.
She also enjoys teaching new authors about platform building, self-launching, and online marketing.
Connect with Amy: