The Power of Praying
1. Why is the Lord's Prayer in Plural?
To encourage us to pray it together in a group. Keeping in mind that this is not a hard requirement - If we can't find others to pray it with, it is also accepted when we individually pray it.
"For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them."
This verse is consistent with the way Jesus worded His prayer. He wants us to be together when seeking God and His kingdom. And when we are together, He wants us to pray His prayer together.
The message is, the Lord's Prayer is more powerful when prayed in a group.
So, we should always pray the Lord's Prayer when we gather to study the Bible as described in: How to Be True Christians.
2. How do we know that praying to God is powerful and effective?
There are many references in the Bible that talk about how our prayer is needed for God to change something for us. Here are a few of them:
1 Peter 3:12
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.
John 14:13-14 Jesus:
And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
If we've been genuinely keeping Jesus' commands and praying the Lord's Prayer daily, then we can ask God the Father for anything in Jesus' name, and He will do it!!
Matthew 7:7-8 Jesus:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
And here is another example from the Old Testament about the power of prayer:
After the Lord had spoken these words to Job, He said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is kindled against you and your two friends. For you have not spoken about Me accurately, as My servant Job has. So now, take seven bulls and seven rams, go to My servant Job, and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. Then My servant Job will pray for you, for I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. For you have not spoken accurately about Me, as My servant Job has.” So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite went and did as the Lord had told them; and the Lord accepted Job’s request.…
Look close at this Bible reference. God is waiting on Job to pray for his friends so "He does not deal with their folly." Does this mean God would not have forgiven His friends had Job not prayed? This reference is saying He would not have!!
Is it because God could not forgive them? Or He did not want to forgive them? Answer: He could not forgive them voluntarily, due to His Holy nature!! But He could forgive them when asked properly, usually when accompanied by a sacrificial redemption method - Old covenant Moses law sacrifices (the seven bulls sacrificed in the reference above) / New covenant Jesus Christ's sacrifice and the Lord's Prayer.
So does God change His mind when we pray? YES!! God said so in the references above!! He does not change His mind related to His big-picture plans, but He does change His mind related to our individual lives, according to the Bible references above.
Our whole life on earth is about our choices in relation to God. If we accept, love, and pray to Him the proper biblical way, He answers us. If we reject Him or pray to Mary or the "by faith alone" type prayers, He leaves us. Then we're not blessed in this world. And after-death we'd have nothing left but darkness and torment. When Adam & Eve ate from the tree, God could no longer accept them. He had to show them how to present a substitutionary sacrifice to Him so He could forgive them and not have to kill them. Today's equivalent of that, is the Lord's Prayer that we should pray daily for forgiveness and receiving the Holy Spirit.
3. Can We Pray for Others?
Yes, but only for this type people:
- When we know they are true Christians - keeping Jesus' commands.
- Or when they are well-intentioned to want to be right with God, but are lost due to one reason or another, example, due to their church's misleading teachings.
Where did I come up with this? From the Bible:
When we know they are true Christians:
1 John 5:16-17
If anyone sees a fellow believer committing a sin that doesn’t lead to death, he should pray, and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that.
"When we see a fellow true Christian" in trouble, we can pray for them. But if they commit the sin of blaspheming against the Spirit, the "unforgivable sin", "the sin that leads to death", then we should not pray for them. If we do, it would be like praying to God to save the devil!!
Or when they are well-intentioned:
In the Job reference further above, it was fairly obvious that Job's friends were well-intentioned, but misspoke about God. So God told Job to pray for them along with a sacrifice, so He could forgive them.
It may not always be clear, but we should use our best judgement. Accepting the fact that the other person may even be a member of our family! Praying for someone who is solidly set on rejecting God, or solidly set on following their church unbiblical teachings, is like praying for the devil. But we can try a one-time explanation of true Christianity or refer them to this website. Then leave the rest to God. No endless debates and arguing. If we notice that later they started to show signs of following the right path to become true Christians, then we can pray for them.