Prayer Changes Things … Or Does It?

November 1, 2017
by Martin Wiles

2 Corinthians 12:8-9 – Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. (NLT)

I prayed numerous times daily, but nothing changed.

Due to circumstances beyond my control, a life-changing situation had turned my world upside down. Because of the nature of the situation — and the prevailing belief within the denomination that I belonged to, I could no longer serve in the profession that I had been in for the previous 14 years. I prayed for God to open a door. Individual churches had the authority to overlook and understand what had happened and call me anyway. Few did. Hundreds of resumes pummelled the mail system. One church representative called to say that having me as pastor would split his church — a call that I thought could have been avoided. Two others called with salary offers that no one could live on. Entering another profession seemed my only option.

During this time in my life, disappointment, discouragement, and depression were my occasional bedfellows. Like Paul, I begged God to remove the thorn in my flesh. Though I didn't hear His answer, my unchanging circumstances revealed it: "No." Would I learn to do what Paul did — boast about his weakness, or continue wallowing in my self-pity? Of course, some reminded me that prayer changes things.

My prayers seemed to change nothing. However, over time, I discovered that it had. My prayers changed me. I let go of my bitterness over what had happened and my bitterness toward those who wouldn't allow me to obey God's call. Paul learned to glory in his weakness, and I did as well. Instead of stewing over my circumstances, I allowed God to use them for His glory. Since then, many have come to me for counsel because of what I've gone through — whereas they wouldn't have talked to others who couldn't comprehend their pain. In time, God put me back into full-time ministry.

Prayer might not change the course of a hurricane or tornado, alter the mindset of a spouse who chooses to walk away, modify the course of a rebellious child, or revise the boss's mind about a layoff, but it will change our perspective on the circumstances, which, in turn, will alter our attitude. When our attitude changes, so will our response.

Prayer will change things. If nothing else, us.

Prayer: Father, may we be faithful in our prayers, trusting You to answer them in the manner that You see fit. Amen.

About the author:

Martin Wiles <mandmwiles@gmail.com>

Greenwood, South Carolina, USA


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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    You wrote an inspiring article and I do thank you!!


    Wonderful testimony Martin! Thanks for sharing. Blessings.


    Good morning; an excellent reading this morning. Thank you.


    Thanks for sharing your experience and the way God answered your prayers. Blessings.


    Thanks for your devotion today, Martin. Very timely for me to hear this. God works in mysterious ways. Blessings.


    This is so inspiring Martin
    I am going to keep it to read at times of challenge and despair.
    THANK YOU.


    Martin!
    God’s grace grows in trials comes through in your devotional today.
    Tried soul discovers more light to shine more to all to see.
    Thanks be to God! Shalom!


    How true! I have found unanswered prayers the key to a deeper relationship with God and a more intimate walk with Jesus strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit.
    (BC)


    Martin – this is a very thought provoking devotional. I had read that God’s answers to prayer are: yes, not now and I have a better idea. I guess, the thought of prayer changing us and our reaction to our circumstances falls into the latter. I will have to think long about this. Thank you for sharing. God Bless you.


    Good word Martin. If there is one thing l have learned it is that the church can ALWAYS be counted on to wound the already maimed and bleeding, BUT God is so much bigger and higher and greater than the church and He can ALWAYS be counted on to heal, uplift and restore exceedingly abundantly more than we could ever hope or dream!
    Blessings.


    Hello Martin — thank you for your message. It sounds like you went through a very rough time in your life! I think everyone does — I certainly have and I too have questioned whether or not my prayers were heard. I found your perspective on how prayer works helpful – that prayer changes us! It is an interesting way to view this and has given me lots to think about. Blessings.


    Hello. I never look to see who’s authored the devotional. I almost always know yours, and the ones by Iris Ford. I appreciate the messages so much, but I must be honest. It wasn’t what you said, but “Thought for the Day” is exactly what I need. I keep a journal right by my chair an I use it strictly interesting and uplifting sayings, thoughts, some humor, etc. As for your message, I’m a preacher’s kid and was a preacher’s wife, so I can relate. We always have to remind ourselves that God has a plan. I need not go farther with you.
    Thank you for what you give us.
    (CA)


    Hi Martin
    Thank you for your devotional about prayer the other day, what a frustrating time you must have gone through
    Blessings.

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