Can our prayers really produce miracles?

Of course our prayers produce miracles, because Jesus said they would.

In John 14:12 Jesus said, “I declare to you that whoever puts his trust in me shall do the same things that I have done.” And that included miracles, because in verse 11 the evidence Jesus gave of the Father living and working in him was the miracles he was doing. Jesus then promises in verse 12 that those who trust him “will do what I have been doing,” and “even greater things than these.”

So we’ve got Jesus’ clear guarantee that our prayers will produce miracles, but what was the purpose of Jesus’ miracles in the first place? It was to provide proof, verse 11, that “I (Jesus) am in the Father and the Father is in me,” meaning, verse 10, that “the Father, living in me, is doing his work.” And that was Jesus’ reason for everything he said and did, including the miracles, to prove the Father was the power behind him so that, verse 13, “the Son may bring glory to the Father.”

And that reason still stands for Jesus now answering our prayers with miracles, because verse 13 in full says, “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.” So what miracles does Jesus do now in our lives that bring glory to the Father?

Jesus answers that for us in John 15:8 – “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” We bring glory to the Father by being fruitful disciples of Christ. And Jesus tells us how we do that in verse 10: “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love.” A much loved disciple of Christ obeys his commands, and that’s how Jesus now lives and works in us to bring glory to the Father, just as Jesus obeyed his Father’s commands and the Father lived and worked in him.

Jesus then emphasized one command in particular in verse 12: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

So that’s the miracle we’re after most, then, isn’t it? Obey that command and Jesus lives and works in us to the Father’s glory. And what makes that miracle so important is John 13:35, that “All men will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.” That’s the miracle that has the most impact on people. And it’s people worldwide too (“all men”), meaning it’s even “greater” in its scope (14:12) than the miracles Jesus did.

To pray for that, then, guarantees an answer, because that’s how we now bring glory to the Father.

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When miracles happen

Paul asks an amazing question in Galatians 3:5, amazing for two reasons: first, because he’s talking about real, live miracles happening to people, and secondly, because the people he’s talking to know these miracles are happening.

And the question was this: “When God gives you the Spirit and works miracles among you, is it because you keep the law, or is it because you have faith in the gospel message?”

The Galatians are really in trouble at this point, because they know the answer. They know miracles have been happening, and they know when the miracles started happening, too. The miracles began when they heard the gospel and they believed it.

So, how are the Galatians going to answer Paul’s question, when faced with obvious evidence? They know that none of these miracles were happening when they kept the law. For all their diligent keeping of the Ten Commandments, their strict keeping of the Sabbath, being circumcised, tithing, and properly performing all their sacrifices and rituals, there was never a time during any of those things that they experienced the remarkable miracles that had been happening since “Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified” to them, verse 1.

It was hearing the gospel about Jesus that got the miracles started. It was hearing and believing that “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us,” verse 13. But that meant accepting there was a curse, first of all, that only Christ’s death could release them from. And what was this curse? It was trying to win God’s favour, get God’s blessings, and earn one’s way into eternity by one’s own diligent obedience and determination. And why was that a curse? Because “All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law,” verse 10.

The curse of the law is having to do it all perfectly. One mistake and that’s it, a blood sacrifice has to be made, or you die. That’s why the sacrificial system was set up in Old Testament Israel, so at least the Israelites could keep on living while still being sinners, but the only sacrifice that removed the curse once and for all was Christ’s (Hebrews 9 and 10). And when the Galatians believed that, that Christ’s death released them from the curse of ever again having to rely on themselves and their own resolve and obedience, it was then that miracles in their lives began to happen.