Category Archives: Prayer

Stop With The Weak Prayers!

Why Are Our Prayers So Weak?

Jesus prayed. Jesus prayed a lot.

Jesus taught his students to pray and made some pretty remarkable claims about the power of prayer.

Are we afraid to pray boldly? We’ve been assured that grace awaits. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). Some translations have us drawing near with boldness. We can step boldly come before God’s throne for help. James writes, The prayer of a righteous person has great effectiveness” (James 5:16, NET translation). So, three big promises, and there are more, that assure us of effective prayer.

But what if we don’t pray?

When was the last time you prayed? Don’t count a fast “blessing” over a meal or a quickie prayer after that mindless guy almost ran over you in the Walmart parking lot. Those are good and important prayers, but I want to know when was the last time you had an intense conversation with God?

Jesus prayed early in the morning – Mark 1:35.

Jesus prayed so intently his sweat was like drops of blood falling – Luke 22:44.

Jesus didn’t get everything he wanted – Luke 22:42.

Wait! What?! I never thought of that. Jesus did not always get what he wanted, but he prayed anyway. That’s pretty astonishing. Sometimes, God said no to Jesus.

Here’s my point: Our prayers are weak because we don’t believe prayer works. We don’t believe prayer works because we don’t get everything we want. But that is the exact opposite of the Teacher. Jesus didn’t get everything he wanted, but he kept praying anyway. So should we!

When Jesus’ disciples saw him praying,  they asked him to teach them. Luke 11:1 – 4 offers the Lord’s model prayer. But his discussion of prayer doesn’t end in verse 4. He continues teaching them in Luke 11:5 – 13. In this passage, Jesus teaches that we must persist in prayer. In this parable, a woman is seeking justice from an unrighteous judge. Unabated in her requests, the judge gives her what she wants – justice.

Too often, we pray once and done prayers. Once is enough. Don’t bother God. But God wants to be bothered. He desires to hear you give voice to your needs and desires. We can and must empower our requests through steady and consistent prayer. Obviously, God’s will must always prevail, but we should press our case before God as if he was our last hope because really, he is.

Why Aren’t You Praying More?

Prayer has always been the centerpiece of any relationship with God. Jesus, and his forerunner John,  were so given to prayer that Jesus’ disciples asked him to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1). There was a time when prayer was deeply ingrained in the American mindset but that is just a distant memory. There was a time when mid-week assemblies were called prayer meetings. Of course, we still pray but there is a noticeable lack of dependence on prayer.


You Aren’t Praying Because You Don’t Think You Need To

You are self sufficient. You take care of yourself. You are strong. You don’t anyone to help; you’ll be just fine. This is the way we are taught to think. It’s driven by the idea that man is superior to all else.

Presently, many hold that science is the only answer to our many problems. The Humanist Manifesto III, adopted in 2003, says it this way: “Humanists find that science is the best method for determining this knowledge as well as for solving problems and developing beneficial technologies.

As a former RN, CCRN who worked for years in a Critical Care setting, I know the value of science. I know that new medications and treatments have improved the quality of our lives and the quantity of our days. I also know there is a limit to science. Today, science remains uncertain of the future. Science has been humbled by a tiny, previously unknown virus.

A generation learned that dependence on tangible things is foolish. The Great Depression begin in 1929 and lasted 10 years. Those who lived through that period are still guided by their experiences. In 2008, many lost their savings and saw their retirement plans implode in days. Now, we struggle through another economic disaster on the back of the coronavirus pandemic.

How is it possible that we think we do not need prayer?

You Don’t Pray Because You Are Not Sure Prayer Works.

It probably sounds crazy for a Christian to deny the power of prayer. But many do. They aren’t trying to be evil or weak, but they just haven’t seen the power of prayer in action. Actually, they have but they don’t recognize it.

Have you ever prayed for someone suffering? Maybe the church has a prayer list and you bow your head each week as someone prays for those in the hospital. When they recover to whom do you give the glory? I’ve heard people say something like, “She really had a good doctor!” Or, “that’s really a great hospital, I’m glad she went there.” It would be great to hear someone exclaim, “What a great God she has!” Even if God is working through those wonderful doctors it is still the Lord who deserves the credit. We ought to give glory where it is due.

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.”

James 3:16-18

Look at this verse. First, prayer has power! James does not wavier. Prayer works. That alone should put to rest our suspicion that prayer is only wishful thinking. But next, he uses Elijah’s prayer for drought and then for rain as an illustration of the power of prayer (! Kings 17:1ff; 18:1ff). Elijah, like me, prayed and the Lord withheld the rain. Later, the Lord released the waters.

Tell me, how is it we don’t believe in the power of prayer.

A Challenge 

I’m challenging you to pray like you have never prayed before. And, I am asking you to record your prayers in a notebook or journal. In one month, revisit your listing and see what God has done. You will be amazed!

One reminder: God may not answer your prayers in the way you want. God will, and we want him to, answer prayers by giving us what we need. We want God to give us what is best. One of the benefits of the prayer journal is that you will see how God responds to your wants and perceived needs.

Release your fears to God. Surrender to him and and ask for God to give you what is best. I promise that your faith will grow and you will never again wonder if prayer works.

Let me know how you come along on your prayer life. I’d love to know!

5 Reasons to Pray for Trump-Kim Nuclear Summit

Readers know I’m not much for politics, especially as it pertains to the church. But there is an event happening this week that Christians should be in fervent prayer about. U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean President Kim Jung Un are meeting to discuss the reduction of nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula. That is a big deal.

During my youth, we worried about a nuclear conflict with the Soviets. In truth, it was pretty unlikely. Both sides were balanced, and neither could hope to escape a devastating counteroffensive. The aptly named policy was Mutually Assured Destruction. As strange as it sounds that policy kept the peace for decades.

It is different now. Small nations like North Korea or Iran have the capability to launch nuclear weapons against us and our allies. While the US could surely destroy any attacking country, that is irrelevant to the larger issues of good and morality.

On August 6, 1945, the United States detonated a nuclear device in battle. Within seconds of the explosion, tens of thousands of people ceased to exist. Thousands more would die in coming weeks and years from the effects of radiation. Three days later a second attack on Nagasaki was launched. Close to a quarter of a million died in the two bombings.

We must earnestly pray for the success of the Trump-Kim summit so that no one ever faces a nuclear blast again. Here are 5 reasons to pray.

1. Prayer for Leaders is Biblical

Paul wrote, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.  This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1-4).

Jesus said, “Pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:28).


2. Nuclear Weapons Are Not Precise

It may be true that modern missiles can deliver a warhead through an open window a thousand miles away but the blast is uncontrollable. In fact, the actual power of the warhead can only be estimated until detonation.

After the initial blast, a massive firestorm will rage for days and will destroy areas far beyond ground zero. Fallout from the explosion will cover many miles with deadly radiation.

3. Civilians Suffer More

Modern war has proven that civilians suffer greatly from hostilities. Even a “small” exchange would kill thousands of unprepared, unprotected, and unexpecting non-combatants. Remember the bombs dropped on Japan were rudimentary, low-yield atomic devices which produced only a fraction of what modern thermonuclear devices yield.

4. Children Suffer Most

Maybe adults are at least benignly culpable for the acts of their government. Our history shows the good that can happen when a population throws off an oppressive government. But what about the children?

Children and vulnerable populations will suffer and die disproportionately in any such conflict. Humane populations cannot ignore the effects of war upon the weak and defenseless.

5. The World is at Stake

Look at a map. The superpowers are all present. North Korea is bordered to the northeast by Russia. China shares a border to the north and west, South Korea, with thousands of US troops border the south. Only a tremendous outpouring of restraint would prevent that “small” conflict from growing into a World War.

Even without Russian and Chinese involvement, Seoul, South Korea stands in the middle of American technology development and production. Extraordinary economic upheaval will occur in the wake of a nuclear conflagration.

A moral people will seek to eliminate the threat of nuclear catastrophe. Whether you like President Trump or not, pray for success in this mission. Peace avoids all the aforementioned troubles. We must pray for a true peace that protects all men.


Persistent Prayer

prayingRecently, a discussion arose in a Bible class for which I felt ill prepared to discuss in detail. After some reflection and study, I’d like to present some thoughts better organized than what I offered in the class. The question concerns persistent prayer. Specifically, should the Christian persist in a specific prayer before God until he gets his answer? Put differently, does it demonstrate a lack of faith if one keeps on praying for the same thing over and over.

The locus classicus seems to be Luke 18:1-8:

And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.  He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’  For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says.  And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them?  I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

This is one of those odd parables where an evil person gives us a lesson for life (Luke 16:1-13 for another). Here, the unrighteous judge stands in place of God. We know this because he has the power to deliver the widow and because the text emphasizes his sovereignty as a judge (vs. 4). The aggrieved widow is the disciple. Her adversary represents any person or situation causing grief. The unrighteous judge refuses to respond to her plea for aid. Yet, she persists in her cries until he finally gives in and grants her petition. The actual source of her problem is not revealed and is irrelevant.

Contextually, the parable is declared to have the point of teaching that people “ought always to pray and not lose heart” (vs. 1). The word translated “ought” could also be rendered “necessary.” Such seems to be an even stronger encouragement than “ought.” In any case, Jesus is teaching his disciples that they should always be prayerful. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 has Paul saying almost the same thing. We know from Jesus’ own example that prayer is vital to our spiritual health (Mark 1:35; Luke 3:21; Luke 11:1; Hebrews 5:7). But on this, most agree. We should be a prayerful people. No, the question is not about generic prayers for strength or guidance, but specific prayers for a specific need. As an example, should we pray over and over for the loved one suffering a serious illness?

Are there Biblical examples of persistent prayer for a specific issue? The first is probably the Luke 18 passage above but there are more. The lengthiest is likely the book of Job. This suffering man had a single-minded prayer: deliverance. Job speaks often to his comforters but he is also talking to God. He repeatedly sought deliverance from his struggles. Likewise, the apostle Paul sought relief from a “thorn in the flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7). Inspiration says he sought deliverance from the Lord three times (2 Corinthians 12:8). Consider also Jesus who prayed “let this cup pass from me” (Matthew 26:39). Jesus prayed this prayer three times (Matthew 26:44).

Now given the parable, given the examples of Job, Paul, and Jesus, it seems clear that persistent specific prayer is an acceptable practice. Is it wrong to pray once and walk away? I cannot say so. But I do conclude that if Paul and Jesus did it, I can too.

Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at You can follow Bryant on Twitter @J_Bryant_Evans.

Why Should I Pray For America?

prayMany people are telling us to pray for the nation. For what should we pray? Why do we even pray for the nation as a whole? Most agree that we are approaching a critical moment in the history of the country. The National election is approaching which seems to have very serious and long-term consequences for the future of our country. Certainly, we should pray for our nation. Let’s consider some specific petitions that we should offer to God in our prayers for America.

Pray for America Because It Is Our Duty

The principle of praying for those in authority is laid down by the apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 2:2-4:

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.  This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

We should observe; Paul, Timothy, and the Christians to whom he ministered, all lived and served under the power of the Roman Empire. At its very best, Rome was benignly neglectful of Christians. At worst, they persecuted and tortured believers in Jesus Christ. Christians enjoyed no protection from the authority of the Roman government. There was no right to free speech, no right to assembly, and no right to practice their faith. Nevertheless, Christians were commanded to pray for those who were in authority over them. This teaching parallels Paul’s command that every person should “be subject to the governing authorities” (Romans 13:1). So, in spite of the horrible conditions in which the Christians live, they were still to pray and honor the Roman Emperor. Today, devout Christians often bristle at the activities of our national government. Remember, our circumstances are far better than anything the original Christians had to face. If they were to pray for the pagan authorities who ruled over them, we should certainly pray for those who rule over us today.

Pray for America So That the Gospel May Spread

Historians often speak of something called the Pax Romana. This is a Latin phrase that simply speaks of the peace of Rome. Despite all of its pagan beliefs and practices, Rome generally ensured peace within its borders. Travel was far safer within the borders of Rome than without. This safety, and the improved infrastructure which made travel easier, aided the spread of the gospel message throughout the civilized world.

We should pray that our nation remains a safe place and a place subject strong law and order. Such security will make the spread of the gospel much easier. We should also pray that our government will continue to uphold the important principles of our Constitution, namely, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of assembly. These three freedoms are embodied in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. To date, the Lord’s church has been largely protected by the First Amendment. But there are ominous signs on the horizon. The concept of (hate speech) has been extended in some locations to include preaching against immorality. Some local governments have demanded that preachers submit some for approval. Fortunately, these attempts have been beaten back in the courts of our land. We should pray the body of Christ is protected from those who would silence the words of Scripture.

Pray for America That Prosperity May Continue

The United States of America is a wonderfully blessed and prosperous nation. Truly, there is no other nation like the United States. Our country is imperfect. But there is no place better to live that in this nation. Even the poor among us, are exceedingly wealthy compared to other people in the world. This prosperity is not accidental. It is a gift from God Almighty. Our founding fathers acknowledged the gift of prosperity that God gave to the people of this land.

In October 1789, President George Washington proclaimed the first national Thanksgiving celebration. Consider the first clause of this proclamation:

“Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor;”

It has only been in recent history that our country has come to ignore the role of the Almighty in our blessed provisions. One can only speculate how long God will allow a nation of ungrateful people to continue to receive his immense blessings. Our nation generally, not just the government, has excluded God from our collective consciousness. Let us pray that we turn back to God as a people who are thankful.

Pray for America Because of Our Children

Change happens slowly. It may be that adults will never see the day when God withdraws his hand of blessing from America. But what of our children and grandchildren? What of our great-grandchildren and those who follow behind them? What kind of nation will they enjoy?

Children are a heritage from the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). It is our responsibility to provide for their welfare both physical and spiritual (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). Let us pray that our children will be able to live in a land where the word of the Lord may have free course where they may enjoy the bountiful blessings of God that we have been given in our lifetimes.

Surely there are many more reasons to pray for America. But perhaps these will stimulate our thinking and help us to focus on the importance of our land and our blessings from God. Let us be a praying people, of people who never cease to pray (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at You can follow Bryant on Twitter @J_Bryant_Evans.