"And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him." Matt 6:5-8 (NKJV)
"Prayer Changes Things," declared the bumper sticker on an impossibly old VW Microbus. Although I ultimately agree that prayer can make a significant difference--prayer is neither a scientific formula nor a magical solution. (Please keep reading and hear me out) I have listened to a plethora of teaching on the subject of prayer and am surprised of how often it misses the mark. Prayer is not scientific in that we can not replicate a specific formula that always delivers the same result. Prayer is not magical in that we are not binding the power of God to do our bidding. We should also avoid deifying prayer--making prayer the object of our affection and worship. Still..."Prayer Changes Things!"
What does prayer change? Let us start with you. If you are entering into a deepening conversation with God--where you are engaged in listening to His voice--prayer will change you.
Prayer is the conduit by which we communicate back and forth with God. When you grasp the beauty and the intimacy that can and should define our relationship with God you will find that your prayer life will lose all semblance of superstition. Jesus instructed us, "When you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words." (Just ask the 400 prophets of Baal how that worked out for them)
Here is my point: Prayer is about relationship--it is about talking to God--it is about hearing His heart and acting in obedience--it is about expressing our love, and lavishing our praise, gratitude and heartfelt affection to our "First Love!" When prayer cracks open the possibilities of what it means to be joined to the power and purposes of God; it is in that place of spiritual unity with our Father that impossibilities become possibilities and the prayer of the "righteous man" changes things. It is in that intimate place with God where we discover that our Father who is in heaven will give good things to those who ask Him!