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Variables in the Effectiveness of Prayer

• Greg Boyd

The Bible teaches that our prayers are powerful and effective. But sometimes we wonder why we don’t see the results we expected. Greg described some of the reasons we might not get what we expected.

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“Variables in the Effectiveness of Prayer”

– We don’t know “Why”, but we do know who God is. Growing in the faith means learning to deal with ambiguities (it’s OK not to know everything or anything ?)

– The world is a lot more like a democracy instead of a totalitarian system. An insecure God could’ve made us to be robots who automatically serve Him, but God wants sincere love, so He gave us freedom to choose Him or not.

– Church – As believers, we are warriors for the kingdom with a job to do! We are to be behind enemy lines, working to topple his empire, and prepare the way for the coming of God.

– Problem ? We’ve lost the warfare perspective in the church (Blueprint Worldview – God is behind everything”. We need to know that the world is a war zone and God wants for us to come against evil.

– Empowered with free will – Use free will (submit it to God’s purpose).

– We have say-so to spread the Kingdom of god (on a physical level and on a spiritual level). Physical level = our deeds. Spiritual level = our prayer.

– Not “Why?” but how can we make a difference? Prayer is our primary vehicle for making a difference in the world. E.g. > Nations can be spared judgment by someone’s prayer.

– If you want to kingdom to go forward, it’s not by human power or might, but by the spirit of the Lord, and the thing that unleashes the power of God more than anything else is prayer. Amalekites against Israelites. Intercessory prayer? intercede for God – He’s on your side! Pray to intersect his will with yours.

– The enemy would rather we do anything rather than pray (that’s often why “distractions” come to keep us from praying). If you’re not praying, all your deeds will come to nothing.

– Question – If prayer is so important and God gets so many promises attached to prayer. Why is it that we so rarely see prayer answered in miraculous ways?

Principals in the Bible that impact prayer

1. God’s will – If you pray according to God’s will, you will hear an answer to your prayer. God can apply your prayer to His will too.

o Remember, prayer is NOT about “gimme, gimme, gimme”. The primary purpose of prayer is to do warfare. God wants for us to rule with him and prayer is part of our doing that. In essence, we co-sign the check with God to cash in on our kingdom power.

2. Faith – You need to ask in faith. “According to faith, be it unto you”. Prayer is what ignites God’s power and you need to have faith. Faith is about a relationship with God – Do you believe that he is able?

3. Persistence – Prayer is not magic; prayer is labor in the spiritual realm. Start small like a mustard seed that keeps on growing! Prayer isn’t like getting food at McDonalds, it’s not instant! The more people praying together (harmony among people) = the more results. Prayer is spiritual muscle! The more people pushing the stalled car, the better!

4. Opposition – We need to remember that we are in a war zone and that prayer makes a difference! If five people want to bless you and your resist, your will makes a difference (opposition). E.g. > God wanted to bless the Pharisees, but they rejected it (plus angels, other agents, etc. can oppose the prayer and create opposition).

– “ Lord let your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven” – We pray so that God’s will is done on Earth (not Satan’s). Lots of variables affect when prayer happens (e.g., other agents, angels, etc.

– All prayer is warfare prayer because there are always spiritual agents who don’t like you praying. Unbelief can make it so prayers don’t work too (thwarting prayer with a resistant will).

– Prayer, fasting, numbers of people, etc.

– Far more important than explaining something (the “Why”) is doing something about it (action = the “How”)

– “If only” is as futile as “Why”! Don’t let the enemy do tricks on you. E.g.> “If only I prayed enough God would have saved my child”. Remember that you may have enough faith, it may be God’s will and it still might not get done (other variables – timing, angels, other agents, etc.).

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