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Does Prayer Really Make a Difference?

By Billy Graham

I am convinced that prayer makes a difference. Let the Bible answer your question: “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16). God always answers prayer – not sometimes, but all the time.

We may not always understand how God answers our prayers – at times He says “yes,” while at other times he answers “no” or “wait.” But one of the greatest privileges of the child of God is the privilege of coming directly to God in prayer. This is possible because Jesus Christ has reconciled us to God through His death on the cross. We are separated from God, but Christ took away our sins and when we come to Christ by faith we are united with God. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand” (Romans 5:1-2). Yes, we have access to God through Jesus Christ.

Does that mean we can ask God for anything at all – no matter how selfish it might be – and He will automatically give us our request? No, what we should seek when we pray is God’s will, not our own. (That does not mean, of course, that we are not to bring our own concerns to God in prayer – quite the opposite. But our desire is to see God work in accordance with His perfect will.) The Bible says, “This is the assurance 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).

Is prayer a central part of your life? Pray for your own needs. Pray for the needs of others. Praise God in prayer, and pray for His guidance in your life. “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” (Colossians 4:2). Remember, Christ prayed repeatedly, and if He – the sinless Son of God – needed to pray, how much more should we learn to “pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

 

As we approach the Easter season, pray for those in your life who are far from God. Pray that He might use you to share the message of hope found in a relationship with Christ. There are a number of resources available to help you share your faith, including the powerful video “The Cross.”

Excerpt from Billy Graham’s “My Answer” column, as compiled in his book Answers to Life’s Problems, 1960.