Does Prayer Really Change Things? by Jonathan McLeod

Does Prayer Really Change Things?
James McLeod
James 5:16

The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working (James 5:16).


When a new year begins, many people make resolutions. For Christians, two of the most common New Year's resolutions are to spend more time reading the Bible and to spend more time in prayer.

[Read James 5:13-18.]

A common saying about prayer is ''Prayer changes things.'' In my parents' house, there used to be a plaque on the kitchen wall that said, ''More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.''

But does prayer really change things? We quote verses like ''The prayer of a righteous person has great power'' (v. 16), but do we really believe that prayer works? For many Christians, cynicism is their greatest struggle in prayer. (If I get an answer to my prayer, sometimes I'll wonder, ''Would it have happened anyway?''

James gives the example of Elijah to show the effectiveness of prayer. ''Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit'' (vv. 17-18; cf. 1 Kings 17-18).

What does prayer change?

Prayer changes US.
Prayer changes THE WORLD AROUND US.

God sovereignly uses our prayers to fulfill his perfect plan.

Yes, prayer does change things; therefore, we should pray.


There is no secret formula that will guarantee that our prayers are always answered in the way we desire.

How can we pray effectively?

1. Pray with a PURE heart.

''If I had cherished iniquity in my he ...

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