I love good quotes about prayer. They motivate me, and I’ve put different ones on my prayer lists through the years to help me pray. Last time I put my favorite quotes from a recent book on prayer, Enjoy Your Prayer Life, and I promised I would follow up with a list from another short book on prayer I recently read in quarantine, Prayer Changes Things: Curing Timid Piety. So here goes – feel free to leave a comment below with your favorite. At the end I share my favorite from the last list…and this one. Enjoy!
On Petitionary Prayer
“Almost all prayer in the Bible is petitionary. By that I mean: in prayer, we ask God to do things in the earth. More importantly, we ask God to change things. Prayer actually is asking God to change the status quo. Things are a certain way — our hearts are cold, or a relative has cancer, or we lack money for our bills, or our children are drifting from the Lord, or we need direction for a decision, whatever — and we ask God to change the way things are…When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he told him to utter petitions.”
On Godly Dissatisfaction
“Godly dissatisfaction is when things are out of kilter, displeasing or harming us or impeding the gospel or the kingdom of God, and we ask God to change them. There’s nothing illegitimate about that kind of dissatisfaction. We need more of it, in fact.”
“If we are perfectly willing always to accept the way things are as God’s unchangeable will, we will never be great people of prayer.”
Prayer Changes Things
“Prayer changes people. I don’t mean by that that if we pray, the act of prayer will change us. Of course, that’s true. When we pour out our hearts to God, we get much closer to him, by the very nature of prayer itself. Our minds and hearts are riveted to spiritual things. We gradually lose our worldliness. God changes people who pray. I mean something else. I mean that we should pray for God to change people, and he will change them. Just as God raised this child in answer to Elijah’s prayer, so he can and will raise sinners to eternal life because of our prayer.”
“God says he’s going to do something, and then people pour out their hearts before God, and then he changes his mind. This happens again and again in the Bible, so many times, in fact, that we might want to say that it’s in God’s nature to change his mind when his people, and even sincere, humble sinners, pour out their souls to him. God delights to make himself open to change in the face of the heartfelt prayer.” (If this quote makes you nervous, good, but in the book he refutes the heresy of process theology.)
“God’s stated purposes can be changed if we pour out our hearts in prayer. This is another way of saying that God has made himself vulnerable and susceptible to man’s pleading. Therefore, when something bad has happened, or when someone has committed some terrible sin, don’t just sit and wait for God’s judgment. Get on your knees and beg God to avert his judgment and to lead them to repentance.”
Prayer is Fundamental, Not Supplemental
“Prayer is a basic but powerful part of Christian living. The Bible doesn’t envision that we can live as a Christian without living a life of prayer. The church that does not major on prayer is not acting as a Christian church. The church not routinely getting prayers answered is not a normal Christian church. If you don’t believe this, I simply ask you to read the book of Acts. The primitive church prayed, and that church routinely got answers to prayer. In short: if we’re not praying, and we’re not getting answers to prayer, there’s something terribly wrong.”
God’s “Vulnerability” to Our Prayers
“God is vulnerable to our appeals to demonstrate his great power and vindicate his great honor in the earth because he desires to be praised and is worthy to be praised.”
“When we pray, let us pray bold, daring prayers, because those prayers honor God. Paltry, unbelieving prayers do not honor God, and it’s therefore no wonder our age is marked by defeat, apostasy, and depravity.”
Praying with a Routine
“The same Spirit who leads prophets to speak spontaneously leads them to spend time in prayer every day at the same time, and in the same way. Godly habits and customs aren’t somehow less spiritual than godly spontaneity.”
“Make a prayer list. There’s nothing whatsoever sub-spiritual about a written prayer list. Unless your memory is superhuman, there’s no way you can remember everyone and everything you need to pray for. It might not be necessary to pray through the entire list every day, but you probably need a list. In fact, if you can remember every person and everything you want to pray for every day, I suspect your prayer life is quite paltry. Your memory is not good enough to recall everyone and everything you need to pray for.”
“Daniel had learned to pray (v. 10c). It was his custom. We’ll never be people of prayer until prayer becomes a custom and habit. If we wait to pray until the exigencies of the moment, we’ll never be people of prayer.”
Pray for Yourself!
“One of the great errors of false prayer piety is the notion that it’s self-centered to cry out to God to help us and give us good things. This idea is both perverse and counterproductive.”
On Persevering Prayer
“If you are praying, and praying for a long time, and your prayers aren’t answered, don’t stop praying. Don’t assume that your prayer isn’t in God’s will. Only rarely in the Bible does God reveal that the prayer of a godly person is not in his will (Jas. 5:16)…persevering prayer is an indispensable component of the Christian worldview.”
“We say too soon, “Thy will be done”; and too ready acceptance of a situation as His will often means feebleness or sloth. It may be His will that we surmount His will. It may be His higher will that we resist His lower…Prayer with us has largely ceased to be wrestling. But is that not the dominant scriptural idea?” (quoted from P.T. Forsyth, The Soul of Prayer)
“If we do not receive…answers, we should persevere in prayer, and we should not warp the Bible to conform to our paltry experiences but ask whether we have not met the conditions God lays down for answering prayer.”
Replacing Prayer with Other Activity?
“(Our 18th and 19th century forebears) prayed frequently and fervently. We pray infrequently and languidly. They called prayer meetings. We call staff meetings. They had revival and reformation. We have apathy and apostasy. A leading reason for these distinctions is that they were inclined to believe what God said about prayer. We are often less confident in God’s word when it comes to his promises about prayer. A blunter way to say this is: we commit the sin of unbelief.”
Praying in Faith
“The default assumption of Christians is that God will answer their prayers. To shy away from this truth is to bear an evil heart of unbelief (Heb. 3:12).”
“This confidence of obtaining what we ask, a confidence which the Lord commands, and all the saints teach by their example, we must therefore hold fast with both hands, if we would pray to any advantage.” (quoted from John Calvin, Institutes)
“We do not really believe the Bible if we do not believe God’s promises to answer prayer.”
– Sandlin, P. Andrew. Prayer Changes Things : Curing Timid Piety . Center for Cultural Leadership. Kindle Edition.
Now, share your favorite below! From the last article, I copied the following quote to have on my quarantine desk: “The Son gives us his name to pray in so that we pray as him.”
From this list, there are a lot of great ones, but here’s one I especially appreciate: “Make a prayer list…Your memory is not good enough to recall everyone and everything you need to pray for.”
April 25, 2020 at 4:46 pm
This is good instruction and encouragement. Thank you!
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