“Real prayer is communion with God, so that there will be common thoughts between His mind and ours.
What is needed is for Him to fill our hearts with His thoughts, and then His desires will become our desires flowing back to Him.” ~ A.W. Pink
Prayer Changes You
Prayer is an amazing thing. Not because it “works”, but because prayer changes the person praying. When we take the time to communicate with the Lord of the Universe, just submitting ourselves to an active relationship with Him changes us. We begin to desire that which He desires and our hearts begin to desire more of Him in our lives…..
Does God Change His Mind When We Pray?
God is sovereign over all things, and God never changes. These things are true about God, so why pray?
One of the best explanations I’ve seen for how our intervention through prayer truly can change what is occurring (when it is the Lord’s will) comes from Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology. In his section on the incommunicable attributes of God, Dr. Grudem discusses God’s unchangeableness or immutability. He describes God’s unchangeableness as this:
God is unchanging in his being, perfections, purposes, and promises, yet God does act and feel emotions, and he acts and feels differently in response to different situations. ~ Systematic Theology, pg. 163
Dr. Grudem then goes on to talk about the many instances in Scripture where the Lord responds to prayer and/or repentance. Why does God “change His mind” when we pray?
Prayer Changes Situations
God doesn’t change His mind.
Rather, God’s purpose or response changes when the situation changes. And our humble prayers and repentance change a situation. Dr. Grudem explains it this way:
These instances [in Scripture] should all be understood as God’s present attitude or intention with respect to the situation as it exists at that moment. If the situation changes, then of course God’s attitude or expression of intention will also change. This is just saying that God responds differently to different situations. ~ Systematic Theology, pg. 164
This is not to say that God has to answer a prayer the way we want just because the situation changes (remember, much of praying involves God changing our hearts), but it does mean He now has a different situation to respond to.
Your Child’s Repentance and Requests Change Your Parenting
A good example of how prayer changes a situation is your relationship with your children.
When you catch your child in a lie, and the child is angry and unrepentant, you discipline your child to help them learn. When your child is openly repentant and wants to change, this is a different situation. You now have the room to show grace and mercy to your child, knowing the Lord is working in his heart.
Likewise, when your child humbly and sweetly requests something of you, the situation is much different than when your child demands or insists upon something.
Obviously, God is not the same as we are, and this is an imperfect illustration, but it does help us understand how our earnest communication with the Lord can change our real-life situation.
How God Answered Prayer for Me Recently
This month, I’ve been living a bit of a nightmare. The day before Thanksgiving, I went in for a routine procedure and something in my liver was punctured. Though I told the surgeon and staff something was terribly wrong, I was sent home. I spent several days in a great deal of terrible pain, hoping my body would heal.
When it became clear that whatever was wrong was getting worse, I had my mom drive me to the local urgent care. They did some tests and sent me to a nearby emergency room. From there, I was transported to another hospital over an hour away in an ambulance. By the time I was being prepared for transport, it seemed everyone knew something important but me. A team of surgeons visited my little ER room, explaining I had a massive liver bleed, and that I was losing blood at an alarming rate.
By this time, it was the middle of the night. My phone was nearly out of battery, but I was able to find a group of friends. I asked them to pray for me and to tell others. When I arrived at the second hospital, there were many surgeons waiting for me, and there were also many people praying.
The medical team was shocked to see that my significant bleed stopped with no surgical intervention. By my discharge days later, I had even begun making new blood.
My recovery is still quite painful, and it will take a long time, but I believe my scary medical situation was directly affected by the prayers of so many faithful Christians willing to pray throughout the night.
God is always sovereign over my life and circumstances. However, understanding that prayer changes situations helps me understand that 1) It is important for me to ask for prayer in overcoming my sin, in my life circumstances, and in my process of sanctification, and 2) It is important for me to faithfully pray for others.
Getting Serious About Prayer
“For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” ~ Galatians 5:14 (ESV)
Now that we know all this about praying to the Lord, we also know that praying is an important way to love others. Scripture calls us to pray not only for those we love, but also for our enemies–those who curse and abuse us. What if rather than turning to social media when we’re mistreated, we instead sought the Lord in prayer, praying for those who hurt us?
It’s possible to pray for people as they come to mind throughout the day. But if we’re being honest, it’s also easy to forget to pray for others altogether.
Prayer Card Set for Moms
To help with your prayer time, I’ve created a beautiful set of cards for you to print and use. The set has 27 double-sided pieces, and would make a great gift for the ladies in your life–just print them, cut them out, and tie a pretty pink or grey ribbon around them. Maybe add a couple of your favorite pens to complete the gift. (These are my favorite–they’re so pretty and write wonderfully.)
The entire Prayer Card Set for Moms is just $5–about the price of a latte. Perfect right? If you’re giving these sets as gifts, you need only purchase once, print a set for yourself, then print as many sets as you’d like for friends. What a bargain! (Just don’t forward the file to others, please. That violates copyright law.)
Let’s take a look at what’s in the Prayer Card Set for Moms.
Prayer Request Cards
There are 16 prayer request cards. These are designed to help you keep track of who you’re praying for and that person’s needs. Simply write the name of the person you’re praying for on the front of the card, and their prayer requests (or your concerns and petitions for them) in list form on the back. If you need more than 16 cards, simply print this section as many times as you’d like.
The prayer request cards can be used a number of ways. Here are a few ideas:
- Choose a person each day to pray for and fill out a card for that day’s person. Save the card after praying and use the prayer cards on a rotation, working through one each day.
- Fill out a card every time you come across someone in need of prayer. You can even keep a few on hand in your purse.
- In a group, such as a Bible study or small group, have each lady fill out a card with their own prayer requests. Collect the cards and pray for each lady throughout the week. Or perhaps bring a stack and have the ladies partner up, filling out a card for their partner for the week.
These bookmarks are a great reminder to pray for others throughout the day. Here are a few ways to use them:
- Fill out all 5 bookmarks with a different set of names and rotate the bookmarks over 5 weeks, praying for new people each week.
- Fill out all 5 bookmarks and place them in your Bible, journal, daytimer, bedside book, and by your toothbrush to remind you to pray for different people throughout the day.
- At a women’s group, print a stack of bookmarks, and have the ladies commit to pray for each other in groups of 8. They can record the names of their prayer partners.
- Use the bookmarks for prayer requests you often miss, like the senate or your church elders, and store the bookmarks in your Bible to help you remember to pray for institutions and those in leadership.
There are 6 prayer notecards. Each has a pretty floral wreath on the front. The inside of each says, “I’m praying for you today.” Praying for a friend is a wonderful way to love them. It’s also encouraging to hear that we’re being prayed for by others. Use these cards to let someone know you’re praying.
These prayer notecards are a great way to edify others. Here are a few ways to use them:
- When the Lord puts someone on your heart to pray for, write them an encouraging note and drop it in the mail, letting them know you’re praying.
- Let your friend know what you’re praying, encouraging her to seek the Lord in all she does.
- Write a helpful verse or two in the card.
- Attach the card to a small gift, like chocolate or a bouquet of flowers, to remind a suffering friend she’s being prayed for.
How to Print the Prayer Card Set for Moms
I often get asked how to print Thinking Kids resources. Here’s my very best advice. Take it and adapt it for your own good uses.
- Once you purchase your Prayer Card Set for Moms through the Thinking Kids Store, you will receive an email with an encoded link good for 72 hours. If you don’t see your email show up soon after purchase, check your spam folder.
- Download your PDF file and save it to your computer.
- Print these cards on duplex (back-to-back or double-sided). You’ll want to flip on the SHORT edge for these. You should be able to change the settings for this in the Properties tab of your printer box once you download and tell your computer to print.
- I recommend printing on white cardstock so the cards will be more durable and the back won’t show through on the front. This is my very favorite cardstock: Neenah Premium Cardstock.
Prayer Cards for Kids ~ A Subscriber Freebie
Help your kids learn to pray for others with this great subscriber freebie: Prayer Cards for Kids.
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~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is the author of When Lightning Struck! The Story of Martin Luther (Fortress Press, 2015), Wonderfully Made (CF4K, 2016), and Bible Road Trip. Her work has been featured in internationally-recognized children's magazines over 150 times.