When All You Can Do Is Pray

October 18, 2014 by


There are many times in life when those we love are hurting.

When we would do anything to ease their suffering, solve their dilemma, or just have the perfect words to comfort them.

Sometimes all we can do is pray.

Today I wonder if there is much more to that simple statement than meets the eye.

Recently I was listening to a sermon on prayer by Charles Price and this is what he said,

Prayer is not something we do for the work of God, prayer IS the work of God.”

This statement made me think about prayer and how often we underestimate its value in our walk with the Lord.

I know there are countless millions living in utter poverty. I can send a little money, but all I can really do is pray.

I have missionary friends living in war-torn Ukraine. They can’t even rest in the safety of their own homes. And all I can do is pray.

I know there are countless families struggling to find work and put food on the table, yet all I can do is pray.

There are countless people suffering from illness, injury, and even facing death. There is absolutely nothing I can do to change their situations. All I can do is pray.

I have concerns about the future, and most of it is out of my hands. Yet, I can pray. I can pray for wisdom, guidance, peace, and provision.

I can pray. We can pray. Sometimes I think we forget how much we can do because we can pray. When we pray, God moves.

As always, let’s look to see what the Word has to say about prayer.

“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” ~James 5:16

“In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” ~1 Thessalonians 5:18

“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” ~John 14:13

“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” ~1 Timothy 2:1-5 (NIV)

“As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you.” ~1 Samuel 12:23 (NIV)

“The Lord has heard my prayer; the Lord accepts my plea.” ~Psalm 6:9

“Pray without ceasing.” ~1 Thessalonians 5:17

The Bible has much more to say about prayer. There is example after example of the many occasions and reasons we should pray.

I know that when I focus on the problem, I am ineffective.  When I give it to the Lord in prayer, He is ever faithful. 

Let us all be challenged to search the Scriptures to learn more about this important aspect of our Christian walk.

And let us resolve to put more power behind our statement when we promise someone, “I will pray for you.”

Perhaps that is just the thing that is needed.

It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear. ~Isaiah 65:24

Always know, dear Readers, that I am praying for you.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You in prayer with unrestricted access. Thank You that we can not only share our own troubles, but lift up the burdens of others. Thank You that You hear. Thank You that you listen and that You answer. In the precious name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

*All Scripture verses are from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

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This post is dedicated to Caleb Suko and his family. You can read more about their ministry in the Ukraine here

The first version of this post originally appeared on Simply Jesus Ministries.

Shared at Still SaturdayRich Faith RisingTrue StoriesEveryday JesusLaura Boggess, Counting My BlessingsSoul SurvivalSoli Deo Gloria Sisterhood, Good Morning Mondays, Salt & Light Link-up, & Faith Along the Way.                                                                           

40 Responses to When All You Can Do Is Pray

  1. Caleb

    When all you can do is pray is humbling to realize, it forces you to acknowledge that you’re not in control and God is. Thanks for the great post and for the prayers! We need them!

    • Heather

      It is very humbling, Caleb, but also powerful in a way. I don’t want to be in control. I want to rest safely in the capable hands of our loving God, as you and yours are. The prayers will continue. Blessings.

  2. lperkowski

    Thank you for reminding me how powerful prayer is! The statement, “All I can do is pray,” can be interpreted like, “Ahhh gee…I can’t do much. I will do this small thing…I will pray.” But as you said, prayer is the work of God and God is good. When we pray, we are able to be in conversation with the healer, redeemer, grace giver, lover of all…that just blows my mind! 🙂

  3. Deb Wolf

    Heather, Thank you for linking this at CMB. I remember during a meltdown crisis years ago, I cried out, “I don’t know what to do.” Often there is nothing to do, but trust His sovereignty. Praying for those in Ukraine, and specifically for Caleb, his family, and all who gather with them. Blessings!

    • Heather

      Thank you, Deb, for giving us a place to share. Isn’t it wonderful that when we come to the end of ourselves and are at a complete loss, we can cry out to Him and know that He is there? How blessed we are in Him! Thank you for reading and for taking the time to share your thoughts.

  4. Carl Sande

    Thank you Heather, for this well written and timely reminder of the value of prayer. I must admit that I have struggled of late, with feeling like my prayers are ineffective or even unheard. I know in my head that that is not the case, but in my heart I have struggled. The terribly evil events going on in the world weigh heavily on me. Amazingly, Pastor addressed these very issues in today’s sermon. It was exactly what I needed to hear. Now I read this post and it is like underlining and adding an exclamation point. God is good, all the time!

    God bless you for all that you do.

    (can’t wait to see you all in a couple of weeks)


    • Heather

      You’re not alone, Carl. We all struggle in this area – that’s why I wrote this! Thank you for your encouragement. See you soon!

  5. Barbie

    Of all of the things we can do to help others, prayer really is the most powerful. Partnership with God in the place of prayer, petitioning on behalf of others, just as Jesus did for us, is life changing.

  6. Lisa notes...

    “Sometimes I think we forget how much we can do because we can pray. When we pray, God moves.”
    I forget that too, Heather. Thank you for the reminder. Very needed! There are so many people and situations that need our prayers. God will move.

    • Heather

      Isn’t it funny that we know these things, but often need reminders? That’s why we write, isn’t it? God does move – therein lies our hope when we weary of the things of this world. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. Blessings to you and yours, Lisa.

  7. Rick

    Thank you so much for this beautiful post. We are so very blessed that we can approach our Lord and Savior anytime we want. I got to thinking how cool it is that God wants to hear from us. He asks us to talk to him over and over again and many times we shrink at the opportunity. Our great I Am, our creator, is longing to hear from us! Let’s live in his will often!

  8. normaleverydaylifeblog

    Love this post! So encouraging and true. I often save prayer as a last resort, after I’ve tried everything I can do! That’s not the way to do it, for sure. #shinebloghop

    • Heather

      This reminds me of Mother Teresa asking if prayer is our steering wheel or our spare tire. That makes you think, doesn’t it? Thanks for stopping by.

  9. Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom

    Prayer is essential. Yesterday, as terror hit Ottawa, blocks away from where my best friend lives and works, all I could do was pray. She’s a Christian too and she said she prayed like she never had before yesterday morning before those events unfolded.

    I’m still “new” in my faith journey and prayer is something I have been striving towards. I feel at times, like maybe it’s not enough, that I need to pray more… but God knows my heart. He knows what I can do. He knows my intentions and He knows my prayers before I even utter them. Inviting the conversation with Him is key… at least for me it is.

    Thank you for sharing, for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop and for co-hosting with me.

    You are such a blessing.

    • Heather

      I think that prayer, at least for me, is something that matures as we grow in Him. I have been a Christian for a long time, but I haven’t always had the prayer life that I do now. It took me a long time to get to know God and the more I got to know Him, the more I spent time talking with Him. I think it is important not to compare ourselves to each other in this area. It is so easy to look at other Christians and feel that we need to be doing as much as they are, but when it comes down to it, it is all about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. God does know our hearts. As long as we live for Him alone, we have nothing to fear. Thanks so much for sharing your heart with us, Jennifer. You are such a blessing to our blogging community.

    • Heather

      Amen! We serve a wonderful God, don’t we Caroline? Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to share your thoughts. Blessings to you and yours!

  10. Sarah Ann (@faithalongway)

    This is exactly the reminder I needed tonight. I have a sweet friend going through a hard time and I wish there was something tangible I could do for her. Sometimes “I’ll pray for you” sounds so cliche and not heartfelt. But it really is the best and only way to help someone going through the storms of life. Thanks for sharing with the Saturday Soiree!

    • Heather

      I’m so happy to hear that this is what you needed, Sarah Ann. I love it when God works this way in our lives. I will keep your friend in my prayers. Blessings to you both.

  11. The Better Baker

    This is beautiful…comforting…and the truth. Oh how good it is to be reminded that praying is truly the VERY best thing we can do for each other. Thank you for taking time to share…and to pray. God bless your dear missionary friends too. We have special friends serving in Papau New Guinea.

  12. Sarah Donegan

    We are so trained to DO something. Sitting around talking to God sounds pointless to the world. To us, it is everything. It is where all of our peace, joy and strength comes from. We just have to remember to ask for it! 🙂

    • Heather

      Amen, Sarah! Being still and knowing that He is God is so counter to our nature, but sometimes it is exactly what we need. Thanks so much for reading and for taking the time to share your thoughts with us.

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