The Lifetime of a Prayer

When one prays how long is the lifetime of that prayer?  In other words, when are the effects or results of a prayer finished or completed?  Or, when does a prayer become ineffective?

This is actually an interesting question, although, I know many people may have not given it any thought before now.  I’ve actually thought about it a good bit.

I would suppose that many people think a prayer is only of effect while the one who is praying is engaged in praying, but even a simple analysis proves this is not correct.

When Cornelius was talking to the angel the angel said this, “And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.

Obviously, the angel was not talking about the prayers that Cornelius was doing just now, but was referring to the alms and prayers that Cornelius had previously prayed and alms that had previously been given.  In other words, the historical record of Cornelius’s alms giving and prayers had come up before God as a memorial.

There are other references to where the results of a prayer were realized many weeks, months, even years afterward.

So, we can conclude that prayers have a long lifetime, maybe longer than we even think.  Do you know that while Jesus was completing His earthly ministry He prayed for you?  This can be found in John 17:20 – “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

This is a complicated verse.  Jesus is praying for his disciples, but He also extends the prayer to those who ‘will believe’ in the future.  They are not believers now, but will be believers in the future.  In other words, Jesus prayed for future believers, even before they are saved, or even born.

So, how far does Jesus prayer extend?  Just to His disciples, and their lifetime?  I think not.  Rather, this is an example of a prayer that is still working today, and will continue to work tomorrow, and into the future.

In Revelation 5:8 we read this – “And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.”  Are these only the prayers of the saints at that moment in time?  No, I think not.  They are the prayers of saints from all times.  If this is true then prayers that were uttered hundreds, even thousands of years ago, are still in effect and still producing results.  Does this surprise you?  It shouldn’t for even the scriptures give clues to this, such as found in Revelation 14:13 – “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

The key to this verse is to understand what these ‘works’ mean.  Could it be their books, their writings, their witness, their labor in ministry?  Yes, those things, but don’t forget the prayers.  For their prayers will yield results long after they are gone.  Although, they pass from this existence, and rest from their labor, their prayers continue to work and to accomplish God’s will.

So, going back to the title, just how long is the lifetime of a prayer?  Probably longer than we might think, as it will continue to produce results in the plan of God.  This should give us pause to think about how we pray, and that our prayers have no limits with regards to time.  Of course, we all want our prayers answered right now, but we should remember some prayers may be answered in the future, and in fact, may be answered after we have left this life.  Does that make them any less important?  No, as the prayers of my mother, father, and step-father still work in my life, even though they are no longer here.  In fact, the prayers of my great ancestors are still working in my life, too.

Something to think about…

One Response to “The Lifetime of a Prayer”

  1. Barbara McGuire Says:

    Yes! Lots to think and ponder on in this blog. I loved it! Years ago I began to “bank” prayers on behalf of my grandchildren for I hope that one day when I am gone they will be able to draw on those “stored up prayers”! We need to think more on this subject. This was so excellent. I wish every church member could read this blog. Prayer is so vital for all of us! Such an inspiration…..blessings!

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