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Is prayer a waste of time?"
July 23, 2013

July 23, 2013 Issue #088

Is prayer a waste of time?

I like to tackle the hard questions here, and this month we're looking at something all singles have wondered in private but may not have talked about to anyone else.

Is prayer a waste of time?

I prayed for decades for a wife and am still single. I prayed for a job and went a year and a half without one. I prayed for lab tests to be good, and they came back cancer--twice. And like you, I prayed for several relationships to end in marriage, but they ended in breakups.

In 55 years as a Christian, I have a list of good, happy answers to prayer that would be far too long to list here. But the troubling question remains. When the chips are down, when a life-changing outcome counts on it, is prayer a waste of time? When you get right down to it, what does prayer do, and more specifically, does it do any good? You may find more questions than answers--but good questions--in this month's article on Is prayer a waste of time?


I can control my attitude
Of that one thing I'm sure.
No matter what is happening,
I fight to keep it pure.

The stock market leaps up high
then nosedives like a fish.
I want it to stay steady
but it will not mind my wish.

The weather here is miserable,
It could easily spoil my day,
but I don't let it bother me
when I can't get my way.

My attitude's the steering wheel
that keeps me going straight.
I don't let Satan grab it.
He won't control my fate.

I keep my focus fixed on God.
He's with me day and night.
It takes the struggle out of life
when your attitude is right.

~ Jack Zavada, 2013 ~

July Quote of the Month

We turn to Ole Hallesby for July's quotation. Hallesby's book, Prayer is a classic. One of Norway's most famous Christian writers and teachers, Hallesby was imprisoned by the Nazis during World War II. After the war he worked as a seminary professor in Oslo:

No, prayer has one function, and that is to answer 'Yes' when He knocks, to open the soul and give Him the opportunity to bring us the answer.
~ Ole Hallesby (1879-1961) ~

For most of my life, I went into prayer hoping for my answer rather than God's answer. A universal trait of human beings is that we are all notoriously selfish. We singles can be even moreso.

Sure, when we're praying for someone who's sick, we want them to get better, not die. But I've quit trying to understand why God answers as he does and I'm trying to learn to trust in his love for me. That's hard.

We singles who have prayed for a spouse and have not gotten married naturally assume that marriage would be the best life for us, since God instituted marriage and blesses marriage. The challenge for us is to remember that God always loves us, whether we, personally, get what we want or not.

More Quotes on Prayer…

Have you lost your perspective?

Sometimes we're so close to our own situation that we lose our perspective on it. We reach conclusions that may not be true, simply because we're too focused on our own needs to be neutral.

Hope for Hurting Singles, my new ebook, can help you see your life in a new light. Most important, it can show you there's hope, even when you've been disappointed for a long, long time.

In Hope for Hurting Singles, you'll get new insight on loneliness, shyness, rejection, depression, self-esteem, fear, bitterness, peace of mind, and faith. You'll appreciate the clear, conversation style and practical advice you can start using right away.

This 146-page PDF format ebook costs only $9.97 and comes with a money back guarantee. Try finding that in a bookstore!

Learn more about Hope for Hurting Singles.

Prayer for grown-ups

You're past the "Now I lay me down to sleep" stage of prayer. You want to touch God's heart and have him touch yours.

Here are some further resources, both from and my friend Mary Fairchild's site,

What not to do when you pray.

Is it possible to pray too much?

Why should you pray?

How to pray the Bible way.

How to deal with doubt.

What to do if you feel desperate.

The One who never changes

Most days, I can't keep up. The world is changing so fast that governments come and go, new discoveries in science are being made every day, and just when I learn how to use a new gadget, it gets replaced by something faster.

Twinkies were gone. Whoops! Now they're back. My brother and I went to visit a Corky's Barbecue restaurant in East Peoria, IL that actually closed before it opened! It's true.

It's comforting to know that God never changes. He's 100% reliable--always has been and always will be. God and his promises in Scripture are what I hang my life on. How about you? If you're drifting, drifting, drifting, with no meaning in your life, here's where to start something great.

That wraps up our July newsletter, from hot and humid Illinois, USA. If you'd like to offer a comment or ask a question, just use our perspiration-resistant contact form.

Until August, fellow singletons, pray like you mean it and mean what you pray!

Jack Zavada
401 Indiana Ave
Streator, IL 61364 USA

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