Prayer Isn’t a Wish

Talking with God is more than asking Him for what we want or need.

If I couldn’t be a pastor and I could choose my ministry, I believe I would choose the ministry of prayer, because it is the most powerful of all ministries. You can reach anybody, anywhere in the world, at any time, in any given circumstance—that is the power of the omnipotent God working in the life of one who is a servant in spirit, who is willing to plead and intercede for someone else.

—Charles F. Stanley, “The Challenge to End Well” podcast

There are moments when the act of prayer feels akin to writing a wish on a scrap of paper, fitting it into a bottle, and winging the corked glass into the sea. We’ve poured out our heart, and we hope for the best. Yet that isn’t the biblical view of prayer.


Prayers are not wishes cast to heaven; they are an invitation to join God as He executes His desires for our family and friends, the church, and the world. In the opening paragraph, the way Dr. Stanley describes prayer, it sounds like a superpower. This power isn’t received through some cosmic accident but, rather, through faith and practice. We can’t expect prayer to be exciting, fulfilling, and productive if our focus is half-hearted.

For me, to pray without ceasing is a great convenience. I like to be moving—walking, driving, mowing, doing the dishes as I pray—but I must admit, interceding for someone else usually requires a different posture. As I slow to a stop and focus solely on Christ, my prayers are transformed from wishful to hope-filled, and I sense that they are caught up in a great communion with the most powerful being in the universe—our loving Father, who knows the end from the beginning and who holds all things together.


Illustration by Adam Cruft

Related Topics:  Prayer

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