Isn't prayer a bit lame?

Hello Daniel! I understand your question and why you ask. Many others have asked too, but prayer is and always will be a harmonic connection. I say harmonic because we can pray in harmony with others, as in church, though without resonance we’re merely echoing others.

I’ll offer an example that involves personal distress and vulnerability, occurring 45 days ago. I was sailing in the Gulf of Mexico on a newly acquired boat, alone and inexperienced. My course was set and all seemed well, until the light of day waned along with my wi-fi. I prayed for God to intervene. He did.

A short time later the propeller became fouled by crab-pot lines, day turned to dusk and I was at risk. There were no navionic devices aboard as plotting by wi-fi had proven adequate, until I passed beyond service range.

Now the time came from praising God for his creation, to praying for being saved, literally. A squall was forming and my situation was grim.

So how could answered prayer come in the form of disablement? I wondered that too in the moment, but now see it differently. My intent for sailing alone was to demonstrate personal fortitude, adopting “The Old Man And The Sea” personna. That proved to be my undoing, until I made the distress call on channel 16. Three hours later a tow came from an experienced captain, taking me to Point Tarpon Marina, three hours back in the direction I came.

Prayers were lifted on my behalf from home, heard and responded to. God answered mine somewhat pointedly. I guess what it boils down to Daniel, speaking personally, is how you speak in solitude. Having harmonic resonance with God.

May your battles be few and victories decisive.


Thanks for sharing your story, Homer.

There’s something about a frantic situation that really makes us fervently pray for his Divine intervention.

Matthew 7 7 Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.

Prayer is our tool for this. It all points to God and he takes care of our true needs.

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Hello Russell, I appreciate your reply. This forum is new for me and the content is refreshing, communicating with co-laborers. The topic of prayer is near and dear for me, especially as I draw more from scripture in my golden years. The meaning in James 5:16, combined with Jonathan Edwards’ resolution No. 67, form a good standard to live by. His 56th resolution bears witness to an ongoing effort, one that I believe C.S. Lewis could relate to.

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Reading and re -reading Tim Keller’s book on Prayer. There’s so much I don’t know about prayer. I am using this book as my morning devotion and praying Tim’s prayers as my own.

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@Mui_Ling_Lim Using the words of other saints and of the Scriptures in prayer is a great way to learn :slight_smile:

I had an enjoyable conversation with my 18 yo daughter on this topic. We were talking about what the purpose of this type of prayer is because God is going to do His will anyways, right? I think of it like this. God is going to do what He is going to do but petitionary prayer gives us the opportunity to align our hearts to His and see how and why He is moving in our world. It opens our eyes to His will and ways in a way we would never experience if we didn’t ask for things. I have prayed for my friend to be healed of cancer and she passed away but I have also prayed for a person to be delivered from a 25 year nicotine addiction and watched it happen in an instant. When He doesn’t answer my requests with a yes then I ask Him to show me how to better walk with Him and what He is doing in the situation or how I can bring Him glory in a difficult time. God says in Romans 5 that we have trials because the produce endurance and character and an assurance in our salvation that cannot be shaken. If God is doing that in my life or someone else’s for a purpose, I can’t pray it away but I can walk with them in it and share the goodness of God and the knowledge that Christ himself suffered in this world for our sakes.

Petionary prayer also shows others that we love them, that we are walking with them and that we will take time out of our day to beseech God on their behalf. This is a beautiful expression of kindness when we may not be able to do anything else due to distance or circumstance. God Hears our prayers and is attentive to them. I don’t know how it works in His sovereign will completely because I am not omniscient but I believe the Bible that it was the prayer of others that moved God to act in certain circumstances. That is bigger than my brain to be honest but it is true because it is in the Word.

I also think about the possibility of two people who are both following God praying for 2 different outcomes in the same situation. Logically only one of them has the potential be His will, so the other will go unanswered. Then it goes back, full circle, to petionary prayer aligning our hearts with His.

I found this to be a very interesting topic because I have felt this way. In my opinion prayer tends to feel “lame” when you ask God for help in your deepest darkest moments and He doesn’t appear to show up. You ask for strength, patience, momentary relief from your pain and you don’t get it. This doesn’t really “answer the question,” but thought I would share my 2 cents.

Can anyone really know the mind and will of God. Abraham Moses and others petitioned God and He changed His mind or did He? Perhaps what ultimately happened was His perfect will? By faith we believe that He is even though we have a finite mind. If a single fallen leaf was the sum of all I knew how much more of the bigger picture am I not aware of.

Hmmmm, in Hezekiah’s case God heard his prayer and accorded him 15 more years. So praying is definitely worth it but also leaving it up to God to do his will. Trusting God is crucial - whatever the outcome.

I don’t think prayer is supposed to feel lame. because I don’t think prayer is supposed to be lame.
I have entertained many of the honest thoughts you’ve articulated (great minds think alike :grinning:)

I do not have all the answers on this; but I am certainly in route to finding better answers than what might fittingly be called explanations to the results of Lame prayer. I don’t think prayer has to be lame because I know God is not lame. I Hate to say it, but I’ve concluded more recently that I am the one who is lame. And the explanations to reconcile the mismatch just adds ugliness to injury. I don’t mean for these words to have a sharp or judgmental edge. Nor do I want to throw the baby out with the bath water thinking to walk away from traditional, biblical doctrine and instead self-fabricate a new prayer doctrine of more favorable (yet false) consistency. I instead think that a re-thinking of biblical prayer is in order. But since, what the bible says about prayer is so radical to the rationalizations we often make to subvert the supernatural, It’s possible, that if the answers were to be spelled out explicitly it might turn some of our main-stream-typical assumptions about prayer upside down.

I’m reconsidering my thoughts on prayer because the scripture doesn’t present it as lame at all, nor does it find it necessary to give elaborate explanation to excuse why it seems lame. It instead fails to portray it as being “lame”. Truly, this doesn’t line up with my experience… And I’m not trying to dance around that fact… But I’m thinking it proper to lay a much greater hold of the biblical claims of prayer and of the God who can and says he will do (according to his will of course) above and beyond what we ask or think. If he does this in the absence of prayer, then how much more as we follow his word, in the presence of our fervent prayers?

Elijah made a mockery of the Baal prophets when they prayed to their god with no results… saying “Maybe your god is on a journey… or maybe he’s busy going potty.” Elijah also set an extreme example about God’s willingness and ability to supernaturally answer prayer by his bold request for God to burn up his altar after he intentionally dumped water all over it. And if that wasn’t enough he dug a trench all around it and had that filled with water also.

Clearly the prayers demonstrated by Elijah were the polar opposite of “lame”. Instead of giving excuses about why God didn’t answer his prayer as requested, Elijah hurled insulting excuses for the god who failed to answer the prophets of Baal (quite an interesting concept).

Fast forward Elijah’s prayer life to James 5:14-18 which says we can and should pray like Elijah.

Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit (James 5:14-18)

Hi timotto,
Thanks for your reply. I don’t really see your point (if you were intending tot make one.) Obviously prayer is not lame when it’s answered with fire from the sky or as cure for decease. But that’s not a very common situation to me and I doubt it is tot you.