Does prayer really work?

Is it possible to prove that God hears and answers our prayers?  In the same way that the existence of God cannot be proved 100% (which is why faith is required), nor can it be proved that prayer works.  However, in the same way that we have written historical accounts (the Bible), documenting eye witness reports, as well as countless stories throughout the ages, and our own experiences that point to the existence of God, in the same way, we have thousands of accounts from people telling stories of how God has answered their prayers, and the accumulation of these accounts leads us to believe that God does indeed hear and answer our prayers.

Only this morning, my husband told me that an Italian friend asked him to pray for him last night because he had come to the end of his own human resources whilst navigating through a tricky family issue.  He and his sisters were wanting to sell a property belonging to their mother following the death of his father, to release finances. However, one of his sisters, under the influence of her husband, was refusing to sign the documents.  There had been gridlock for eight years and the fighting and feuding amongst the siblings was destroying what had been a close family, and bitterness and anger was beginning to take hold. Our friend finally decided to hand the whole thing over to God. He and my husband prayed a simple prayer together asking for breakthrough in the situation.  He immediately felt peaceful, and hours later, as our friend was leading a merry band of children off to play football, he gave a big grin and a thumbs up and yelled across the car park, “All sorted!  She’s signed the documents!”

Jesus’ disciples asked him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray’, as they had observed him stealing himself away to a quiet place to pray to His Father. And so, he taught them and us to pray, “Our Father, who art in heaven….’

We begin by recognising who He is (our Father), who has many names among which are Healer, Provider, Protector and He invites us to ask Him for stuff! We are to pray, ‘Give us our daily bread’.  In other words, ‘Father, please give me what I need for today’. A few years ago, our friends wanted to move to Ashington but they couldn’t get a mortgage because he is self-employed, he also had a large amount of debt (£9000) on a credit card from business expenses, and the price of the small house they wanted was too high.  He and his wife believe that God, as their Father, loves them and their three children, that He knows what they need (their daily bread) and that He has a plan and a purpose for their lives.  They approached ‘Our Father’ in prayer, and within the space of short time, their credit card debt was miraculously cleared, the mortgage company approved their application, and the ridiculously low offer they had put on a house was accepted!   God had made a way in what appeared to be an impossible situation!

And I can’t tell you how many times God has answered prayers for friends whose children needed school places where there were none!  God makes a way!

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Everyone who asks receives; those who seek find; and to those who knock, the door will be opened’.  So, does that mean you can ask God for a Ferrari?  As parents, we don’t always give our children what they ask for.  Thank goodness my childhood prayers were not answered when, every year, as I cut my birthday cake, I would ask, ‘Please can I have all the crisps in the world!’  Ridiculous! Sometimes, when we ask, we do not receive, because we ask with the wrong motives.  God is interested in our hearts and will only give us those things which He knows are good for us.

Jesus also taught us to pray, ‘forgive us our sins, as we forgive others’.  As our Italian friend asked God to forgive him for feeling angry, resentful and bitter towards his sister and brother-in-law, he chose to forgive them both for the hurt they had caused him, and as he did that and surrendered to God, he immediately felt at peace, knowing that He had been forgiven and that the situation was now in God’s hands and the breakthrough came quickly.

We hear accounts of prayers being answered every day.  Yesterday, I received an email from a friend whose three daughters are into extreme sports and two of them were on a climbing expedition. He wrote, ‘I have to tell you of God’s goodness in our life…Last week two of our girls were struck by lightning –  one in the hand, the other in the foot – climbing the highest mountain in Slovenia.  They were amazingly free of injury and remarkably kept safe in the ensuing electric storm whilst exposed on a razor-sharp ridge with no escape route, other than prayer’.  We believe that when we pray, God provides and He protects.

We can approach the Father with confidence that He hears our prayers (because He is near – right next to us, in fact).  And we can be sure that He cares about every single detail of our lives.  He is able and willing to break into our seemingly impossible situations simply because He loves us, his precious children – that’s you and me – and He cares for us.

If you would like us to pray for you about anything, you can send an email to or drop a note into the Church Office, or, better still, come along and pray with people who are full of faith in the God who hears our prayers!  Even if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can speak to the impossible situations in your life and, through praying to God the Father, you can see them shift!

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