Middle school gym. Those three words stir up a vast array of memories, don’t they? My middle school gym coach thought he was training future professional athletes, so several times a year we had conditioning weeks. My legs still turn to jello when I hear “squat thrust.”
No matter our regime for the day, class began and ended with stretches. However, once I graduated from middle school gym, stretching wasn’t a consistent part of my exercise routine. I knew it was important but didn’t see the benefit of it.
Then I entered my mid-thirties. I found myself at the chiropractor after several months of pain in my shoulder.
The problem? Poor posture and tight muscles.
The solution? Stretching.
Now I have a stretching routine that helps keep my shoulder loose and benefits my whole body. It’s easy to overlook things that don’t appear to matter on the surface. Stretching wasn’t important to me until I knew it mattered.
Recognizing the Importance of Praying
My relationship with prayer has been similar to my relationship with stretching. I know it’s important but it’s easy to overlook the habit because it doesn’t always seem to matter. I wonder: Do my prayers really make a difference? I’m not seeing any results. Why pray when God already knows the outcome?
Back in middle school, I was told stretching was important, but I didn’t know why it was important. Now I do. Stretching increases oxygen levels and blood flow which helps deliver nutrients to our muscles. It keeps our muscles loose and protects against injury. Stretching helps strengthen our muscles and it removes waste. Understanding the design and significance of stretching helped me engage in the practice even when I couldn’t see the results. Knowing something has significance compels us to invest our time and energy into it.
Likewise, the results of our prayers may not always be visible or immediate. Prayer can feel mysterious. Yet, throughout Scripture, we see God accomplishing His purposes through the prayers of His people. You may not fully understand it, but your prayers are significant.
3 Reasons Why Your Prayers Matter
1. Your prayers matter because prayer is powerful and effective.
There are very few things I can think of in my life that are powerful and effective. And yet, James 5:17 NIV describes our prayers that way:
“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.”
James reminds us that Elijah, a man just like us, impacted the weather for three years through prayer. What could your prayers impact in the lives of your children?
2. Your prayers matter because prayer protects.
We live in a physical and spiritual world. Our culture focuses more on the physical, what we can see and touch. The spiritual world may not be visible to our eyes but it’s real. Paul reminds us in Ephesians that we aren’t fighting what we can see but the unseen.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” – Ephesians 6:12 NIV
We have an enemy. Our children have an enemy. Prayer is our armor and our weapon to push the enemy back. We protect and fortify our families through prayer.
3. Your prayers matter because they don’t just impact today; they are etched in eternity.
When you pray, do you lean toward more urgent or long-term requests? The framework Jesus gave the disciples for prayer in Luke 11 teaches us to pray for the temporary and the eternal.
God cares about our daily needs, yet wants us to remember that we are a part of an eternal story. Our prayers have the opportunity to impact the here and now and eternity for our children.
Your prayers matter. God is accomplishing His plans and purposes through you and the prayers you are praying for your children. Prayer, like stretching, may not always seem like the most essential use of our time as a parent. Yet, as we faithfully show up and pray, we will find it is some of the most significant parenting work we will ever do.
About the Author:
To know Jesus and make him known. This is the heart, passion, and vision of writer, speaker, and ministry leader Karen Isbell. Jesus captured her heart at a young age and she hasn’t looked back. Her love runs deep to see people pursue Jesus passionately and experience the satisfaction that only comes from knowing Jesus. Karen is the founder of International Prayer Cards, resources to help women create a life of faithful and fervent prayer. Learn more on her website or follow her on Facebook or Instagram.