What Happens When You Pray?
April 3, 2019
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Is there someone in your life you hope will come to know Jesus and be saved? Pray for that person! God hears your prayers. Pray boldly. Pray consistently. It could make an eternal difference in a person’s life—even if it takes years and years for you to see the results. Let’s take a look at four spectacular things that happen when the component of prayer begins to be activated in your life:
1. Prayer Will Shift Your Heart
Complacency and apathy have no place in the hearts of those whose lives have been radically transformed by Jesus. We must carry a deep concern for those who are lost and spend time in prayer for them. When you pray earnestly for people who need salvation, something begins to shift inside your heart—just as it did, literally, for John Hyde the Christian missionary to India who prayed such passionate prayers for souls to be saved that his heart shifted in his chest.
Paul was also very passionate about prayer. In Romans 10:1, he wrote, “Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.” In Romans 9:3–4, he made a stunning statement that he was willing to be cursed and go to hell forever if through that one decision, his entire brethren would come to know Jesus Christ. Later, we learn in Ephesians 3:8–9 and Galatians 2:9 that God appointed Paul to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles (everyone who is not Jewish by birth). And in 1 Timothy 2:1–4, Paul urged believers to pray to God on behalf of all people—whether they are in high positions or low.
John Hyde and the apostle Paul teach us that prayer nurtures, develops, and increases the burden in our heart for lost people. Today, would you say this prayer? “God, please forgive me because I have been indifferent to the lost people around me. Please shift my heart to be like Yours, deeply concerned for those who need salvation. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.”
2. Prayer Opens the Door of Opportunities
Have you ever wanted to share your faith with someone but you felt as though there was a wall standing between you and that person? Or perhaps you’ve tried, and you end up feeling as though a door was slammed in your face. (Or maybe a door was literally slammed in your face!) I’m sure many Christians have experienced this, and it’s easy to become discouraged or lose hope that you can make a difference. But let’s examine for a moment a key in Colossians 4:3. Toward the end of his letter to the believers living in Colossae, Paul wrote, “And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ . . .”
Prayer is the key to opening new doors of opportunity to share the Gospel. We know that God opened the door for Paul to share the Good News with both Jews and Gentiles, women, men, prison guards, and kings. I believe that it pleases the Lord when we pray and ask Him to open the door for His message of truth. We demonstrate our willingness to be used as His vessels. I also believe God will respond in a powerful way by opening doors, moving things around behind the scenes, and providing a way where no way seemed possible before.
3. Prayer Gives You Boldness
When doors of opportunity open, not everyone is ready to charge through them. Some people wouldn’t hesitate to move forward at the sight of a divine appointment unfolding before their eyes. But others could find themselves in a Jonah type of response—hightailing it in the opposite direction! We discussed in the last chapter that the number one thing that keeps people from sharing their faith is fear. But the good news is, not only does a life of prayer open doors, but it also gives you a supernatural dose of boldness to carpe diem—seize the day!
This is exactly what happened to the disciples right after Jesus was taken up to heaven. The Bible says in Acts 4:31, “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”
In Ephesians 6:19, Paul urged the church at Ephesus to pray for him that he would boldly fearlessly preach the Gospel. Like a fresh, bubbling spring of water, boldness to speak God’s Word will flow from the inside of you when you pray. Then those divine intersections become a lot less scary and much more inviting!
4. Prayer Will Give You the Words to Say
Okay, so now you’ve got a heart that’s burdened for the lost. God has opened the door of opportunity to share His message, and He’s given you boldness through prayer. What are you going to say to someone who needs Christ? We find one of the greatest encouragements with regard to this question in Isaiah 50:4: “The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.”
God will instruct your tongue to speak exactly the right words to those who are weary and weak in spirit! What an incredible promise! This type of divine instruction comes by two actions. First, by spending time in God’s Word. Second, by praying and asking God to give you the right words to say. Like Isaiah, morning by morning may you wake up with the desire to hear from the Lord as He instructs your tongue what to say.
Learn more about the power of prayer in evangelism through Pastor Dudley’s new book, Compelled: The Irresistible Call to Share Your Faith!