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Prayer as Currency

Updated on August 15, 2009
RGraf profile image

Rebecca Graf is a seasoned writer with nearly a decade of experience and degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.

Is Prayer a Currency to You?

I had never looked at it in that light until I began to read Incense and Thunder by Dudley Hall. I had just settled down on the plane after offering up my take-off prayer and had not read half a dozen pages before being confronted with this idea.

Prayer as a currency. We pray for what we want. This in itself is not unbiblical. But am I wrong in thinking that if I pray enough or more than someone else that I’ll come out ahead?

How we use prayer can get muddled and off-track very easily. Like anything else in our life we can start off with good intentions and the right foundation, but semantics, opinions, desires, or laziness can quickly detour a person.


I was in a prayer meeting once when a woman kept encouraging (or hounding) us all to pray more. We obviously were not praying enough since this one man was not being healed. I didn’t understand at the time why that really bothered me. Now that I look back, I see it. Prayer was being used as a currency not as the communication tool originally intended.

If I pray for a job and I pray night and day and with all my heart, what does it mean if I don’t get the job? That I didn’t pray enough? Wasn’t good enough? What if the other candidate is doing the same thing? Prayer becomes a tool instead of a resource.

When the Lord’s Prayer was given, it was communicated to us that praying to God is more than giving Him a list of requests. It is acknowledging Him, calling out to Him, consciously noting that He is the provider of your needs and wants, and stating that in the end you only want what is in His will.

When we pray to God, we are communicating to Him our submission and acknowledging His rule. How is that shown in continually going to Him on the same issue and demanding only one result?

Several years ago my father was diagnosed with liver cancer. He was told that without treatment, he had 3 months. With treatment he had 9 months at the most. Did I pray to God to heal him, to comfort him, to comfort us all? You bet I did. But there was a difference in my prayers compared to many others around me. I was criticized for not praying stronger for his healing. But in my heart, I knew that God would heal him. I KNEW it. It was either going to be by a miracle here on earth, or by taking him to heaven where there would be no more pain and no more tears. My prayer was that whatever method God choose, would be done in a manner to comfort others and my father would be at peace. Would my continual prayer and pleading to God have changed His mind? Is my “lack” of praying the reason my father is dead? No. “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”


When we come before God in prayer, we are coming to our Lord and King and acknowledging Him as the one who makes the final decisions. He is the one to determine the end. So, why do we think that we can change His mind? Why do we think that the one who knows all and sees all would be swayed by us?

Many would quote the verses in Luke 18 about the persistent widow. But like with all scripture, you cannot take a section alone. The whole Book should be weighed together. These verses describe the widow that kept coming to the king to seek justice. Eventually, he gave in to her requests so that she would stop bothering him. Jesus said with these verses that we cannot give up, but what exactly are we not giving up on?

Are we not giving up on getting what we want? Are we so selfish that we want only what we want?

Maybe we are not to give up on faith and hope.

King David also had a moment of intense prayer that many might have said that he was bargaining with God. The first child he had with Bathsheba was dying. In acknowledgement of God’s power, he prayed and fasted for days for the child’s life. He didn’t think that he had the power to change the Lord’s mind, he just knew that only God could change the outcome. That is shown when the child does die, David rises up from his prayers and resumes his life. He tells all those around him that the Lord’s will was done and he accepts it. David did not give up on faith and hope. He never doubted God’s power.

When we come to God about an issue (let’s say praying for someone who is sick), why are we coming to Him? Praying for healing is acknowledging that in the end God has the power to heal and perform miracles. We are coming before the Great Healer.

So we pray again and again for this. A sign of little faith? No, that would not be correct. It is a sign of hope and of confidence. We know that He can do it so we pray for what we want while asking that in the end it is His will that is accomplished. So we come before Him time and again to strengthen our bond with Him and to remind ourselves of His authority and the submission He requires.


So how should we handle prayer? We should use it as a way to speak to God and to listen to guidance. We should be bringing our needs and desires before Him while asking that in the end it be what He wants for us. Maybe the healing that we are asking for is not what He has planned. Maybe we are not willing to accept His way and think that constant badgering and determination will get us what we really want – our way.

When we think that the quantity and quality of prayer will sway the final outcome, we are using prayer as currency. We think that God’s decisions can be bought and that we can change the plan. While in reality, we need to remember that praying is a way to grow closer to God and let Him know what is on our hearts and share with Him our innermost feelings.

Why do you pray? To get what you want? To convince God that your way is the right way? Or do you pray to feel secure and grow closer to your God?

My prayer at take-off was the same one when I landed.

“Lord, I give You all my fears and ask that You place Your arms around me. Guide the pilots’ hands and be the guiding force of this large machine. I know that You are the one ultimately in control and whatever the flight may bring, may it bring glory to You.”


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    • The Stages Of ME profile image

      The Stages Of ME 5 years ago

      Very good info I have shared these same thoughts with my kids and others. We forget to honor God in times of calm and He is deserving of all our time and thoughts ~ good reminders :)

    • Maraiya Storm profile image

      Maraiya Storm 8 years ago from Prescott, Arizona

      Good, thought-provoking hub about prayer. I used to only pray occasionally, until one day I was watching a TBN minister talking about how we should pray unceasingly. This minister suggested praying all day long about anything and everything. Since I really liked this very powerful minister, I decided to do this. Ever since that sermon I've been praying all day every day about everything, and I can see that it helps a lot. I think that God likes it when I pray to Him a lot, as it tends to build my relationship with Him and to increase my faith in Him every time I pray. In praying, I am affirming and acknowledging God's power and reminding myself that he will guide, teach and protect me no matter what the problem may be.

      I have found that rather than always praying for something that you want, like a specific type of job, a soul mate, money, a car, new friends, a move, et is more helpful to have a certain kind of mind-set as you pray for those things. The mind-set is that God will give you what you pray for if it is the best thing for you; if it isn't the best thing for you, then God will either give to you what you prayed for because it is for your growth experience; or, God won't give it to you and will lead you into something or someone better than what you prayed for. If you wanted a particular job and didn't get it, that's because you thought it was the perfect job for you, but it wasn't, and God knew it wasn't and so he protected you from it. If you wanted a relationship with someone and you didn't get it, that's because God knew it wasn't the right person for you and He protected you from making a bad choice.

      Ultimately, it isn't about getting what we want anyway; it's about learning how to follow God's guidance as to what is best for us, praying for that, and then letting God bring us our good blessings. I often pray to God to give me proper guidance and discernment.

      God knows what's best in everything. Our prayers help us to gain insight, understanding and acceptance of whatever God's will is for us in any given situation.

      I just recently gave a pen pal friend some advice about people's illnesses (her illness and her friends' illnesses). I said that if God hasn't healed the illness yet, it may be because the person needs the spiritual and psychological growth that comes from having to endure the illness and go through the emotions, thoughts and false beliefs that created that illness; or, it is just that person's time to pass over and we just have to accept God's will and purpose in that. I think that praying for healing does eventually heal the insides of a person, whether on earth, or in Heaven when they die.

      Whenever I pray for anyone, I always pray for that person's inner healing first, whether their problem is health, money, or relationships because I feel that the inner healing comes first and that's what God wants most.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 8 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks for the wonderful message! So now I understand why people say "pray harder". I continually pray for understanding, there is so much I do not know! When I would assist a surgeon in surgery I would always pray, "Please, Lord guide my hands and and the hands of the surgeon." That way I knew we would do all we could. :)

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Eddie, you are are to me, too :)

    • profile image

      Eddie Perkins 8 years ago


      You are such a blessing to me. Thank you. ~ eddie

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Very true, Sir Dent. We seem to forget that part and pray from the gut instead.

    • profile image

      SirDent 8 years ago

      Very well written. We must remember that we pray in the spirit. Without faith we cannot please God. If we worship God, it must be done in spirit and in truth.

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Darlene Marie, Thank you. It does make us rethink how we truly approach it.

    • DarleneMarie profile image

      DarleneMarie 8 years ago from USA

      Very interesting Hub RGraf.  It reminds us of our 'selfishness.'

      Praying with the right thoughts in your mind and heart and being grateful for the things and people in your life that love you would be a great daily prayer. :)

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Thank you Christine. We do need to be carefule and you got some good points on warfare. Thanks for expanding on that.

    • christinekv profile image

      christinekv 8 years ago from Washington

      Another Great hub RGraf - thank you! You bring up many great points and I love how you personalize it as well. I think what we often tend to forget is HIS WAYS ARE HIGHER. Does God still heal miraculously today? Indeed; but why, at times, is a person not made whole again until they see Jesus face to face in heaven? Sometimes only God knows and if we ever get the answer, it might not be til we are there too.

      I know what you mean when you refer to, there are those who think they, or someone else, didn't pray hard enough or didn't have strong enough faith...we must be careful not to go there w/ our thoughts or words.

      Being persistent is good but you bring up a good point about a person's motivation and your referencing the example of King David is spot on.

      It all should be about His glory...take for example Joni E. Tada...or even right here on hubpages, what Eddie Perkins has been going through, the divine appts he's been having/experiencing ...God is in the midst of that and He is being glorified.

      From another perspective (in all objectivity), I do believe there is often time great warfare going on....strongholds, principalities...the enemy at work. Now I wouldn't want anyone to think I'm glorifying Satan for I know Gods power is far superior, too many however don't want to visit the subject of warfare because it's uncomfortable. There are areas we give the devil a foothold and then there is that which goes beyond bad choices we might make....generational curses are not a figment of my imagination. My point is sometimes before a person can receive healing, deliverance needs to occur. My hope and prayer in regards to this is that God will give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation (Ephesians 1:17 -21) so that we may KNOW Him better and also know how to better serve Him and others. When this is the case, we also need to have discernment in how to proceed...maybe we are only to fast and pray or maybe we need to actually confront the topic with the afflicted person....whether we should proceed or not with this direction is based on our relationship with God and with an individual. Jesus did say we would do greater things than He in terms of deliverance and healing so may we be confident in who we are in Him, bold about it (part of the Lords prayer is HIS kingdom come, HIS will be done, on EARTH as in Heaven) and let us never forget to rejoice not because of the authority we have because of He who lives in us, rather because of who HE is, and our names are written in the Lambs book of Life. BE EXALTED Lord Jesus!

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Thanks, Dottie. It was a deep one for me to personally write.

    • Dottie1 profile image

      Dottie1 8 years ago from MA, USA

      Thanks for sharing "Incense and Thunder" with us which made for a beautiful and thought provoking hub on how we should handle prayer. It makes a lot of sence.

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Thanks, doc. I appreciate it. I had never really looied at it like that until I began to read that book.

    • mfinney profile image

      mfinney 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Wow! Once again you hit the nail on the head. Great post. It really hits home.