Why pray if God already knows what is on your mind? Does prayer change God, or does prayer change you? Philip Yancey addressed these questions and many more in Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference?
As Yancey noted, we often act as if we expect God to serve us. We tell God what we want him to do for us. We are disappointed in God when God does not answer our prayers.
Prayer helps correct myopia.Philip Yancey
I close my eyes and talk to the invisible God. My mind is incapable of grasping his magnificense, though I see glimpses in the beauty of creation. I hear glimpses of his glory in the sounds of music and birds singing. I consider all of his works, and I am awed by his Almighty power and intelligence.
I see life from my own limited point of view. When I pray to the Creator of the universe, I realize how small and insignificant I am in the grand scheme of things. I am one of countless creatures on his planet, and there is so much I can not see and do not know.
I am humbled.
I am relatively old in human terms, but my life is just a blip on God’s timeline. I live in the moment. I can’t see the future. I can’t see how things will work out. Prayer teaches me to trust God’s plans and his timing.
I trust God to work things out for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.2 Peter 3:8
And yet, I still pray as if God needs me to bring the world’s problems to his attention. Like David, the psalmist, I complain to God about evil people who seem to get away with cruelty, lies, and other wrongdoing. I pray about injustice and ask him to intervene and to make things right.
I talk to God about issues in my own life. The stresses of work. The heartache of rejection. Concerns that seem trivial when compared to the problems others have. And yet, I know God cares about everything that affects me.
With other prayer warriors, I pray for people in need of healing, comfort, or protection. The needs are never-ending. Broken bodies, broken hearts.
Prayer corrects my near-sightedness. Prayer gives me the right perspective. Prayer helps me see other people as souls made in the image of God. Prayer aligns my heart with the heart of God.
Philip Yancey wrote that we are God’s agents on earth. Instead of just asking God to do something, ask what you can do for God.