Scripture tells us “the prayer of faith will save the sick” (James 5:15). Yet all of us can doubtless recall times—many times— when we prayed for a healing and it did not occur.… Does that mean that God is not listening? That your faith is too weak? Or that your prayers have not been fervent enough? I think not, but I also think it is fruitless to try to find an answer to why some people are healed and some are not. Much of what happens on our earthly journey will remain a mystery until we get to risen life….

I do not think we can ever say prayer is wasted. Although prayer may not change a situation and give us the miracle we want, prayer changes us. Through prayer, we become more aware of God’s presence. Through prayer, we find inner resources and strength we didn’t know we had. Through prayer, we are no longer facing our fears and pain alone: God is beside us, renewing our spirit, restoring our soul, and helping us carry the burden when it becomes too heavy for us to bear alone.

—RON DELBENE WITH MARY AND HERB MONTGOMERY, from The Breath of Life: A Simple Way to Pray Nelson, Thomas. 2007. A Daybook of Prayer: Meditations, Scriptures, and Prayers to Draw near to the Heart of God. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.