Recently, an old friend of mine went missing. She had last been seen Sunday, and the word of her disappearance only got out the following Thursday. Four days had just gone by during one of the coldest weeks of the year, and no one seemed to have any clue where she was. The night I found out was one of the longest nights of my life. I kept thinking about her, wondering where she was, wondering somehow how I could take the blame on myself, despite not having talked to her for a few years.
The night was spent much in painful prayer, but somehow I got to sleep.
The next day, I wasn't sure what to feel. The guidance counselor took me out of class and asked me if I was okay. Truthfully, I couldn't get the nagging sense of guilt out of my head, as if somehow it was my fault. Unfortunately, that's the way I deal with guilt sometimes. :-(
That afternoon, I got a message from another old friend, saying that she had been found, alive and well. That second, I knew that my—and those of many others—prayers had been answered. During the following hours of the night, every single doubt I'd ever had just floated away.
Statistically, by the second day, if a child goes missing in America, there is a 99% chance they won't be found alive. Somehow, this girl beat all odds and made it through the week. It turns out she had run away, and while I don't know the details of her unexcused excursion, I can vouch that prayer had everything to do with her return.
This is only one example where I have truly felt God and His great sovereignty through His answer of seemingly impossible prayer in my life. Although I would love to analyze every single example I have for you, I believe the big cheese up at GotQuestions.org likes articles to be a bit shorter than a few weeks' worth of fine reading that I could provide for you. ;-)
Thankfully, good ol' Holy Scripture has much to say about prayer and its benefits, so let's stick with that. Philippians 4:13 proclaims that "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Nothing is impossible for God. Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:7 to "ask and it will be given to you." Whether or not our human minds can recognize God's answer to our invocations to Him, He is listening and He has answered—just perhaps not in the way we were expecting.
Prayer is not about the number of people praying either. Ten thousand half-hearted prayers of the most sinless men is still worth LESS than the single sincere prayer of the worst sinner. Effective prayer is about sincerity—putting everything in God's hands, knowing that He will make everything right.
Regarding the technicalities of prayer: the best advice I was ever given was to spend five minutes each day talking to God as you would a best friend, rather than "babbling vain repetitions" (Matthew 6:7). I have done this nearly every night, and I have grown closer and closer to God every single time.
Many people seem to deny God's existence because of a lack of provable revelation. However, if we look above the frivolities of our human "logic," then we will be able to see all that God has given us, and all that His transcendent Plan has in store or us.
Some people are quick to assume God wasn't listening to their prayers or that they didn't pray enough because they didn't see tangible results. This is a tragic fallacy. God is always listening, and if you have ears to hear and eyes to see, then you will see God's work all around. Sight, as useful as it can be, sometimes blinds us to what God has done for us, but prayer and acceptance opens up our eyes.
Prayer is a great leveler. It's a well-known fact that God doesn't play favorites—any human created can get down on their hands and knees and intercede for His will—and God is all ears.
Cactus is a teen who, in his spare time, enjoys writing, listening to bands no one has ever heard of, and creating assorted wavelengths of random sound particles that ALMOST resemble real music. He is also fluent in the languages of English, sarcasm, and gibberish.