It’s funny how God uses all things to spread His word, even social media. Scrolling through my feed recently, I saw an image with this quote on it: ‘If all your prayers were answered, would it change the world or just yours?’
I’m gonna be real here, it hit me pretty hard and made me think: ‘Am I praying selfish prayers?’
Now I’m not saying praying for yourself is bad. We all have things going on. There’s no point us trying to reach others for Christ, if we ourselves are in an unhealthy place. But sometimes as young people it’s easy to dumb down our prayers—to not ask for anything too bold or audacious. When we do that, in a way we limit or curb what God can do in our life.
This could stem from a fear that our prayers wouldn’t be answered. (Ouch! That would mean our faith would be tested.) Or maybe having that prayer answered would be just as scary—because when God moves, things change and that can be uncomfortable.
One of the biggest fears we have about prayer is that it won’t be answered. But we can be assured that whatever we ask, when it aligns with Christ’s call on our lives, that He has already said YES.
We can know this from verses such as Matthew 7:7 NIV: ‘Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you’ and
Mark 11:24 NIV: ‘Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.’
Looking at these verses, we can see God is generous, gracious and loving. We can be assured that whatever we ask for in faith, He will give us. He doesn’t withhold from us ‘just because’. Rather He gives us the desires of our heart.
But one thing we can know is that, even if a prayer we pray with faith isn’t answered, that in itself can be a blessing. We are God’s children. And I don’t know about you but, when I think about my future kids, I don’t want them to grow up spoiled and entitled. Rather I want them to become the best people they can possibly be.
That’s how God sees you. He doesn’t shower you with everything you want but rather focuses on what you need.
I love how Philippians 4:6-7 NIV talks about prayer: ‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’
Note right there: God will guard your hearts and your minds! That means He wants to answer your prayers—but not without making sure they align with His heart and His purpose first.
When we pray small prayers it could be for many reasons other than fear. Sometimes we pray small prayers because we’re just not aware of the needs of those around us.
In James chapter 5, Scripture goes into detail about praying for others when they’re sick and raising them up in prayer.
Take a moment to think about those closest to you. Do you know every detail of their lives? Of course not. We all have things going on that can be complicated or difficult, and whether we choose to admit it, we all need prayer.
So what does a world-changing prayer look like?
Romans 8:26 NIV says: ‘In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.’
What an awesome way to approach prayer—to trust God with the very words we want to say to Him.
When I was a baby I had a life-threatening illness and only a one in four chance of survival. Growing up, Mum and Dad always told me I was their miracle—God’s answer to prayer. Whenever I asked about what happened they’d reply with ‘all we could do was pray.’
It wasn’t until I turned 14 that I discovered the full impact of my illness on my parents. I’d been learning about speaking in tongues in youth group and I asked my mum if she ever prayed in tongues. She went on to tell me that, when I was sick, she was so distraught she had no actual words to pray. So she prayed in tongues and trusted God with her very words.
What a brilliant but terrifying place to be in, to need to have complete and utter faith in God.
Let me tell you, I am living proof that when you pray prayers bigger than yourself, God moves in ways you couldn’t plan if you tried.
Prayer is something you continually learn about all through your life. There is no ‘finally, I am done and am the prayer master’ moment. Keeping this is mind, don’t become disheartened if your prayers don’t line up with your expectations.
Continue praying anyway and remember this: if you ask for His help, He will guide you through it.