How many times have you prayed for something only to feel it wasn't answered the way you wanted and were praying for?
If you're like me or others I've asked that question to, the answer is probably more than once.
When this happens, it can shake our belief in the power of prayer. We can begin to wonder if the time and energy we invested in the prayer was worth it.
I've been in this place a few times and I've had to wrestle with the questions that came, trying to make sense of it. In some of those instances it has seemed like it would be easiest to just give up. But, then I'm reminded of all the times I've seen prayers answered and it reminds me of who I keep praying.
During these times of questioning, I've come to realize a few things about prayer and what seems to happen in response to our prayers.
God made us with the ability to choose in every situation and He doesn't remove that just because someone is praying. God will provide the opportunity and He will use people and circumstances to point people to Him and the plan He has. But, those we pray for still have a choice to make that will decide what the situation looks like as it plays out.
Our prayers still play an important part. There is a spiritual battle we can't see, but is always going on. Even if we don't see the outcome we were praying for in a situation, our prayers were important because they are fighting that spiritual battle. They were a part of the removal of obstacles to the people we were praying for being able to hear God. Yes, that person still had a choice to make, but our prayers helped to remove the obstacles to hearing.
I don't know about you, but that reminds me that my prayers are important no matter the outcome of a situation.