Bigger Than My Prayer


Do you ever ask for the same things over and over?

I pray for better circumstances for a child, resolving of financial issues for a friend, diagnosis of health issues for many of us.

But I wonder: regardless of shifting circumstances, is God using our questions to change us instead?

Is he shaping us through the conversations, whether the answers are no or yes or maybe?

The act of praying invites God into deeper places.

Keeping up our end of the conversation does more than we realize.

It exposes things in us, sometimes things more important than the requests themselves.

Our prayers don’t exist in a world of their own.

We are in dialogue with a personal, divine Spirit. He longs to shape us as much as he wants to hear us.

For now, by faith I’ll keep asking him.
And thankfully, by grace he’ll keep changing me.

Only a God as wise as ours can straighten us out as he untwists our questions.

So keep asking, keep talking, and keep trusting, knowing he’s not only at work in the problems; he’s at work in us.

* * *

Have you seen God change you through your prayers? Please share in the comments.

revised from the archives

29 thoughts on “Bigger Than My Prayer

  1. Michele Morin

    That quote from Paul Miller reminds me that I’ve been intending to read his book on prayer for ages . . . and still haven’t. I keep hearing so much good from it, and I certainly can use plenty of wisdom on prayer.
    Thanks, Lisa, for sharing yours.

  2. Pam

    You’re so right, Lisa! He wants a dynamic ongoing relationship versus only prayer requests. If it’s true (and it is) that we have “what a friend in Jesus”, we need to remind ourselves that a human friend would hope to hear from us and share with us not only when we were in need. Great Paul Miller quite on the front end. Have you read his book on Ruth, A Loving Life?

    Have a blessed week! Preparing for big snow here!!!

  3. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    I’ve been changed through my prayers, I guess, but the way He wanted me to change, not the way I wanted to change.

    I thought I had been too hard, and wanted to be softer; He made me harder than I could have ever imagined.

    I wanted to be a part of life; He showed me that I was as different from civilians as water is from granite.

    It stands me in good stead, every day, with the necessity to push to survive, but it can be a pretty Spartan existence.

  4. Trudy

    “He’s not only at work in the problems; he’s at work in us.” Amen! Thank you for helping me to reflect on how God uses our questions to change us. Love and hugs to you, Lisa!

  5. Bill (cycleguy)

    I have had ups and downs in my prayer life. I have had moments of sheer joy as I watch answers flow. I have also had moments of sheer anger as i waited and waited only to see answers never come. Then again, maybe they came and i never saw them. This most recent bike accident has been a big eye opener for me Lisa. I have spent the past 9 months or so in the wilderness (and didn’t even know it until recently) because of my anger with God for not answering my prayer the way I wanted. Big learning curve here on this end.

  6. June

    I think you are exactly right, Lisa. We are changed just through the asking. Especially with prayers that span a length of time. The more we engage with Him the more opportunity there is for change. That means our prayerful petitions as well as our praise and repentant prayers. Blessings on your week!

  7. Jean Wise

    wow lots of wisdom here. I stopped after each sentence to let it sink in. There is such a power to staying with the question with God. And I do agree – he wants us to come to him, to wrestle, debate with him – it’s the relationship, the being together, the coming along side and help me figure this out energy to our being with him. Thank Heaven he is still at work within us! beautiful reflection and reminder, Lisa

  8. Carol

    We’re not informing God of anything new when we pray, so we MUST be meant to pray for our own growth – this is so true and so good for us to remember, especially those especially rough moments when it’s hard to pray!

  9. saleslady371

    Hi, Lisa:
    Yes, He has changed me bunches. Your line “For now, by faith, I’ll keep asking Him,” answered it for me. I’ve been studying the gospels and realize how followers’ faith pleased Jesus. So I’ve been exercising faith my favorite way–scripture prayers. I truly believe He loves it when we approach with confidence because after all, He said it. Total truth.

  10. Kerrie

    Hi Lisa

    Yes, God has changed me through my prayers! My prayers allow me to hear what is in my heart; and I am always grateful when God reveals wrong thoughts or attitudes to me so that I can repent and work with Him on renewing them.
    He is a good Heavenly Father who wants the best for us even when it involves His discipline.



  11. Liz

    I once prayed for healing in the days waiting for a biopsy. But God changed those prayers when I realized He loved me even if He didn’t heal me. So I began to pray that He would give me the strength and faith to walk whatever road He willed for my life. I surrendered all to Him and found the courage to face whatever was to come. I try to keep that experience in mind whenever I’m faced with a challenge. Blessings!

  12. Brenda

    Oh the mystery of prayer. I can’t think of much I’m as grateful for than prayer. Can you imagine life w/o it? Thanks for the reminder that He wants to shape me as much as He wants to hear me. Lovely post, Lisa. 🙂 ((sweet blessings))

  13. Mary Geisen

    I love this because I am one to pray the same prayer over and over. But what if God is changing me in the process? What if the time I spend with Him in prayer is the answer rather than the answer itself?

    Great thoughts! God is working through my prayers and when Ic watch glimpses of that it is humbling and amazing at the same time.

  14. Ruth

    Praise God for inviting us to dialogue with Him! (not monologue!) Of course, that involves us listening for His answers.
    His changing me will accomplish so much more that a simple answer or even a miracle. It’s nice when we receive both, the change and the answer, but either way, getting to know the author of Life, the King of all kings, is such an awesome privilege! And the testimony we then have to share brings glory to God. 🙂

  15. Lesley

    This is the second post in a row I’ve just read about praying the same thing over and over so I think God is trying to tell me something today! I think it’s true that whatever happens with the situation we are praying for, prayer changes us as it draws us close to God and acknowledges our dependence on him.

  16. Dawn Boyer


    On my walks, as I am getting away from the busy of the world, I try to pray. I want to let my heart empty before the Lord. On one of those walks the Lord began to teach me about transcendent prayer… the letting go of our needs in His capable hands. He reminded me that our prayers are transcendent of time and because of that, because He is omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent…. He can bring about His will in them.

    Continually bringing our requests to him opens the door to our letting Him walk with Us and change us, doesn’t it.
    This was a beautiful reminder of His grace.

  17. Natalie Ogbourne

    I’m in the middle of preparing to speak at a retreat about exulting in our tribulations and your words are resonating… Prayer seems serve as a way to bring our perspective into alignment with God’s. Often, in my life, that is a major work right there!

  18. BettieG

    Dear Lisa,
    Oh, this speaks so deeply to what I am learning now as well:
    “For now, by faith I’ll keep asking him.
    And thankfully, by grace he’ll keep changing me.”
    What AMAZING Grace we’ve been given to be able to have such a relationship that He offers to us. Thank you for beautiful words that stir and confirm in my heart the journey He has me walking through. Blessings to you.

  19. Linda Stoll

    amen, Lisa.

    it’s in the waiting room, the conversations with Him that don’t have clear answers, that faith is forced to thrive.

    the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

    i need to be in that place where His invitations are numerous, even though answers seem dim.

  20. Becky Hastings

    God’s shown me so much about petition lately. Coming to Him again and again. It doesn’t annoy Him. It doesn’t bother Him. He doesn’t turn off the lights and pretend He’s not home. He welcomes it!
    And I think you’re spot on about WHY…it’s for us!

    So grateful to visit today!

  21. Dolly

    Love this! So many nuggets of truth here.

    “We are in dialogue with a personal, divine Spirit. He longs to shape us as much as he wants to hear us.” Yes!!! God has changed and continues to change me. So very grateful 🙂

  22. Ceil

    Hi Lisa! I have read that prayer does more for us than the people we pray for, and I think you have clarified that here.
    Healing means so many different things, and my view of it may be quite different that God’s. I’ll keep praying for my kind of healing, but after a while, my idea on it changes…that can only be his grace at work in me. It really is miraculous!

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