Answering common objections to the faith: Does prayer really work?

Duerer-PrayerThis is the third in our series of posts addressing common objections to Christianity. As we stated in the first post in the series, we’re looking at common, real-life objections to Christianity and asking how you would respond to them.

Imagine that a friend has challenged you with this objection, and that you don’t have access to any books, sermons, or other publications to which you can refer them. They want to hear your response, in your own words!

How would you respond to this statement?

The Bible teaches that prayer is effective (James 5:16) and promises that God will give believers anything they ask for in prayer (Matthew 21:22). Yet many Christians, even the most devout and faithful, have earnestly prayed for something and not received it. This means that either God doesn’t really answer all prayers, or that prayer simply doesn’t work.

Share your response!

Previous posts in this series:

  • Why does God allow Hell to exist?
  • Did God endorse genocide?
  • 16 Responses to “Answering common objections to the faith: Does prayer really work?”

    • MercyStreet says:

      Definitely, a queston that may peple, Christians and non-Christians bith have asked throughout the ages. Hope this helpls those reading this topic. Biblically, unanswered prayer can be ANSWERED prayer. 1John teaches us that anything we pray according to HIS WILL is what gets answered. The believer in Christ can be assured of that. We also know, as you rightly shared, that the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and eefective. So if we’re not seeing results that we think are obvious to us, perhaps that should make me / all of us take inventory of our spiritual walk and obedience to Christ. In other words, point the finger at ourseleves first, not at God’s seemingly lack of response. Miracles in the bible fall in the same category. Lastly, I would offer that we are to practice P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Something Happens). IN the book of Acts we read the believers prayed EARNESTLY for Peter’s release … and low and behold it did. Many old testament events can be also be seen thru the lens of PUSH prayer. Great quetsion, and hope that helps. In Christ’s love, MercyStreet

    • Glenn says:

      I would say that perceptions aside, several realities exist regarding prayer. We must have the right attitude and earnestly seek the will of God – not for selfish reasons or for show. Additionally, Scripture tells us the prayers of a “righteous man accomplishes much” – we must be right with God in all aspects of our lives. We also must realize that sometimes the answer is “No” or “Not yet”. God knows what is best for us, despite what we believe. We need to trust him that the answer will be provided appropriately and in due time. In addition, there are times when God uses events that we envision as difficulties in order to accomplish a greater part of His plan. Finally, the Bible teaches that we must ask continually.

    • Nola says:

      First of all, it depends on what you ask for and what you’ll do with whatever it is. God knows your heart. You may ask for something God knows it is not best for you not to have. It is not that he does not answer, he just says NO. If what you have ask for is in line with what God has promised, then most likely if you beleive God and take him at his word, you will receive it. All God’s Promises come with conditions. You always have a requirement from him to do your part. For instance, He said if you obey and respect your parents, he will give you long life. Another example, if you fill his storehouse he will fill yours running over and shaken together. Remember it is faith that moves God’s hand. He said that obedience is better than sacrifice. God will respond to a heart that is pleasing to him.

    • First – God answers EVERY prayer! Sometimes His answer is NO as when He would not allow David to build the temple. If we are going to be BELIEVERS then we have to understand that EVERYTHING we seek needs to be, Has to be in accordance with the will of the Father. It may be God’s will to give you just exactly what you are praying for but in HIS timing which more often than not is much later than ours. Otherwise, what kind of a god would we serve. If there was a magical addendum to our entreaty i.e. “in Jesus’ name we pray” that would guarantee us what we seek, He would be ours to rule and we would be sovereign? God is sovereign and we don’t yield to His sovereignty by demanding and expecting HIS OBEDIENCE to us. We do praise and worship God and seek to do His will. It is rare when one prays to God with a sin barrier between them and then receive the desired answer. We do need to posture ourselves to receive His blessings.

    • winifred says:

      God answers prayers, He knows what is best for us, therefore, we might not get exactly what we prayed for but He will give you of His best! No prayer goes unanswered!

    • Nadirah Islam says:

      God bless,

      As believing Christians, we are to believe that God’s WORD is true, without any doubt or hesitation. As we pray to God, we pray for “His will to be done”; not our will. As a Christian Believer, I believe that when our prayers are not answered, perhaps we are not ready for it. If we ask for material things perhaps a house, money, new car, etc., etc. maybe God doesn’t answer because we are not ready; perhaps mentally, spiritually, physically, monetarily. As a Believer, when prayers are not answered, know that God knows all things and his promises are true. I know that all things belong to Him and like a good father, being one of his children, He wants us to have everything that is good, prosperous. He does not want us to hunger, go without, nor beg. I think that if we continue to work on our spiritual beings,and grow in the Lord, we just may realize that those things that we pray for are insignificant and not really needed. Perhpas when our prayers are not answered, we should search our hearts and make sure that it is right; perhaps we keep asking over and over for the same things; pray for patience, guidance and understanding and maybe you will see that your prayers are answered. Remember, “the Lord is my Shephred”. He will guide you through all thinks, I know this without a doubt.

      Lovingly submitted,
      in Christ Jesus

    • veronica says:

      I believe we must also check our lives when we pray , the bible says if i regard iniquity the Lord will not listen to me ,sin is a barrier to unanswered prayer, again we have to pray according to His wiil-pray the word

    • Diana says:

      A parent loves their child and welcomes opportunities of spending time and communicating with each other. A parent knows their child and does what is best for them. Sometimes a child will ask a parent for something and the parent knowing what is best for the child will respond with either a yes or no. Even when a child continues beseeching with a sincere heart for an acceptance of their desire a parent will refuse since they know more about the situation or the future ahead. Likewise, God as our loving Father answers our requests with a greater view and understanding than our own. As we come to know God more we will recieve more yes’s to our requests since we know his will better and praying more often as he would pray. We can trust him to do what is best for all.

    • Nonna says:

      I believe this is where your faith comes in. We believe in a loving, caring God whose love is so amazing that I don’t even think the human brain can comprehend the greatness of God’s love. The Lord always answers prayer. I don’t think there is ever a time when he does not answer prayers. But, just because he isn’t answering it the way we want it to happen or isn’t giving us what we want, God, like the loving diligent parent He is, is actually answering our prayer in a way that is best for us. And in our minds, we believe if we pray and ask for something good, that God should answer but God has a bigger purpose and in his grandeous way, He sees into the future and knows what is best for us.

    • willie says:

      My thoughts are that we as people and believers are somewhat confused about what prayer is. If God just answered every prayer request we had, he would be more like a Genie than God. The father heart of God knows when to not respond so that we can have some moments of growth. Besides, prayer is not to shange Gods mind, but to discover what is on the mind of God.

    • Ellie says:

      God listens and answers all prayers, the answer is just not always what we think it will be, or what we want. He can say yes, No, or wait. Whatever his answer, we can be sure to trust that it is the right one for us. :)

    • Olowofela says:

      We are serving a living God who answer prayer.The Lord is omniscient and He loves us so much that He gave His begotten for us.Jesus,our redeemer asked us to use His name while praying.Jesus is the key that open heaven and if we disregard him,our prayers will not be answered.We must pray in line with the will of the Father.We may pray 24hours but we should know that we cannot answer our prayer ourselve.The Lord who healeth the sick,openeth the eyes of the blind,maketh lame to work and raised the dead still answer prayer.

    • Kris says:

      If God doesn’t answer specific prayers – it is because it’s not within His will to do so. We have to trust that God knows whats best for us and may be protecting us from something we cannot see. In time, He will work his plan out for us and it will be better than anything we could have asked for. I beleive this because I have personaly seen Him work His plan in my life. I prayed for something, and it didn’t get answered in the way I originally prayed for – but I trusted him and he did wonderful things in my life.

    • prayerchild says:

      For me Prayer works, its like talking to my Father sometimes the answer is yes and other times the answer is no, having faith and believing causes me to having less stress! I would suggest that you open your heart and give HIM a chance what do you have to loose…Blessing

    • Ron Kay says:

      I just saw this, wow:

      Prayer is the Key to God’s Door

      The key to a successful ministry and church is prayer. There is no way around it. John tells us,

      “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:12-14)

      The Key to a healthy Church is prayer. We may not walk on water, but Jesus’ declaration that we will do greater is a call to the number and territory that we will cover in His name. Jesus may not give me that Viper sports car I want, but will empower me to do His will, which is greater than anything I could ever ask. God gives us an incredible promise, that whatever we ask… To ask God is His will, and the main reason for our existence, to be in relation to the God of the universe. This is His primary call for us and when we refuse or make light of it, we cut our self off from the power and God’s desire for us. You see God knows us and our need better than we can ever know, and then still asks us to be in Him, as John 15 states. To be conformed to His likeness as in Romans 8, is for us to grow. We need to be in tune to Him. For us to serve we need to be in Him and to be in Him is to be in Prayer. So for us to receive His blessings, to be fully used by Him, and to receive His full load, we need to be in prayer as individuals and collectively as a body of believers.

      The key is our realization of who Christ is and the power He gives us at our disposal for His purpose. Just as the Disciples were told firsthand by our Lord that they would be able to ask anything in His name, then they lived it and experienced it. They did not realize they could do the things they saw their master do, yet they did. Do we realize what we can do and do we attempt it? Or do we shriek at the chance? And His choice is to use and work through us. And then what is our choice? The ministry that our Lord had started on this earth continues through us, and through prayer we receive His direction and power to accomplish it.

      To make a simple slogan, “we are to perceive before we receive,” that is we are to engage in prayer before we can accomplish the task. And when we are in prayer, we come into a metamorphosis transforming us from the very nature of who we are. Because the first thing that changes for the person praying, is the person praying. And when we are changed that means our evil self-desire nature turns around to be a heart after others other than ourselves. So we gain the perspective of our Lord and the heart for His people, then the passion to do His will. Then we will receive less opposition from our enemy, the prince of darkness, because He that is in us is greater than he in the world. Prayer then is also our shield to protect and defend us from attack and curses. No amount of study and work we can ever do will match the work of our Lord that will flow through us in prayer!

      “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” (Romans 8:5)

    • Kirk the banana boy says:

      Why doesn’t God heal amputees? Did any amount and type of prayer by any number of people ever cause someone’s amputated limb to re-appear?