Does Prayer Work?

Does Prayer Work?

by Claire Berger

Houston knows about work. Many people move to Houston for it. As the fourth biggest city in the United States, only New York City is home to more large public companies. We have the largest concentration of health care and research institutions. The Port of Houston ranks first in the U.S. in international waterborne tonnage handled. We don’t just do industrial: Forbes observed how 7 million people each year come through our Museum District. Houston gets results. Houston knows about work. 

And then that same word gets used when we talk honestly about prayer: does it work? We know about work; we know prayer sometimes feels like work. But we want to know if prayer gets results

Mountains, well, large hills, surround the Sea of Galilee. One of them is called Mount Arbel, translated Prayer Mountain. Steep, rocky, they say Jesus climbed it when he went to a solitary place to pray before calling his first disciples. He put in the work to pray for his people.

Atop another hill Jesus put in the work for his own—he climbed a hill named Calgary to sacrifice himself for a people who ask for and love all the wrong things. That’s us. This type of work isn’t about the bottom line, but the bottom line is we need someone else to do the work for us before prayer could ever “work.” That’s because prayer isn’t about getting what you want. Prayer is access to God. 

But the question still lingers in the difficult situations of life: does prayer work? The economy turns and there are no jobs; the research hasn’t caught up to the disease; accidents happen. I think we are really asking another question. We want to know if we are alone; if we are powerless in the situation. Prayer is access to God and we know Jesus is at work.

In the rhythms of life prayer will be nothing but labor for us until we know Jesus works in our place. Join us this Sunday as we talk more about it. We’ll look at some practical parts of prayer—healthy personal and corporate rhythms for it.