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The Productivity of Prayer | Sarah Jane Shanks

“Well…all we can do is pray.”

I’ll confess that I’ve said this a lot. And I heard it just last week. It’s usually accompanied by a smirk or a sigh or a shoulder shrug. The commonality of this phrase reveals my attitude toward prayer. It suggests that God is my back-up plan. Let’s exhaust all our strength and resources, then see if God is able to do anything. “Well…all we can do is pray.”

We live in a culture that prizes productivity. And it can seem unproductive to sit or kneel before God. I don’t have time to kneel– I need to run errands. And forget about lifting my hands to the heavens— I need to put them to good use! My to-do list seems endless! We are often evaluated on our ability to make things or get things done. And it’s true that things have to be done. I’m not suggesting that daily tasks are not important. They are. We have bosses, and families, and responsibilities, and great opportunities to serve. After all, we get to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

But am I not convinced of the productivity of prayer? The Scriptures are brimming with proof!
Moses’ intercession for Israel brought God’s presence back to a rebellious people.

Jehoshaphat’s fasting and pleading delivered Judah from an overwhelming army.

Daniel’s commitment to prayer saved him from a den of lions.

David’s weeping and singing drew him closer to his greatest Love.
God tells me to pray in all things, not because He needs me, but because I need Him.
Praise produces greater faith.

Confession produces assurance of forgiveness and moves me closer to Jesus.

Thanksgiving produces contentment and even more gratitude.

Petitions are heard and answered by a merciful and powerful God.

Peace replaces anger.

Clarity replaces confusion.

Joy springs up from pain.

Wailing turns into dancing.

Aching hearts are soothed.

Strength filters through weakness.

Weary souls find fuel.
Prayer is not a last resort or a back-up plan. Might prayer be the most productive thing we can do as sons and daughters of a powerful God who is always working? What am I missing out on by not taking time to sit with my Father for nice long talks? What are we missing out on by failing to ask?
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” (1 John 5:14 NIV)

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14NIV)
His “love is better than life,” and He is waiting to hear from us. What are we waiting for? Let’s get on our knees, raise our hands, lift our voices, and expect more of His power to flood our lives and our land.

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