Does Prayer Really Matter?


August 10, 2019

Acts 12:12-17 (in context)

Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.”

When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer the door. When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!”

“You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.”

But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. “Tell James and the other brothers and sisters about this,” he said, and then he left for another place. 


The disorientation in this scene is palpable. Apparently, no one seemed prepared for the prayers for Peter’s deliverance to be answered. After their failed efforts with James (brother of John) these prayers for Peter must have felt like Hail Mary’s (pun intended). Why does God spare Peter and not James? It’s impossible to know. It’s really pointless to ask. The best approach is to take the long view and trust God. God works out his purposes. But is this promoting a type of fatalism?

So why pray? If God will do what God will do, does prayer matter? There are at least two reasons to pray.

  1. Jesus taught us to always pray and never give up.
  2. To pray for another person is to love them.

One more thing to remember: Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.The prayer may not be answered as hoped, but love never fails.

Prayer is always an act of love. And love, my friends, is the name of the game. That’s why we never give up, because love never fails.

True faithfulness in prayer has nothing to do with outcomes and everything to do with love.

It’s why the Holy Spirit has been called the Flame of Love.




Have you ever lost confidence in the efficacy of prayer? Have you ever lost confidence in the power of love? Do your prayers for other people tend to be more motivated by a sense of duty or by a deep well of love?

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt

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