[This article was taken from our book Don’t Blame God! A Biblical Answer to the Problem of Evil, Sin and Suffering.]
We do not believe that faith is the only variable in the “equation” of life. A study of the Word of God shows that prayer, the intensity of the spiritual battle and the help of other believers are also variables that affect what happens in our lives. The prayers of God’s people play an important part in the will of God coming to pass, because prayer is a catalyst for change — in people and in circumstances. No one knows how much sin and suffering could be avoided if Christians everywhere developed strong prayer lives. It seems that the power of prayer has been vastly underestimated. Prayer is not just reciting what someone else wrote; it is communion with God and the Lord Jesus Christ. 
Jesus himself had an extremely powerful prayer life. He spent hours alone in prayer to God. Surely that shows the value and importance of prayer. Commands (not suggestions) to pray are found all over the Bible. “Devote yourselves to prayer” (Col. 4:2), “pray continually” (1 Thess. 5:17), “be…faithful in prayer” (Rom. 12:12), “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” (Eph. 6:18). And these are just a few. Paul knew that our prayers make a difference between success and failure in one another’s lives: “On him [God] we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers” (2 Cor. 1:10 and 11).
Many Christians have made resolutions to pray, but then quit when they did not see immediate results. Christ addressed this tendency: “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1). The parable is about persisting in prayer. Jesus gave us “the Lord’s Prayer” to show us the essential components of proper prayer, and he taught us to be bold, persistent and specific when we pray.
Nothing is more vital to a Christian’s cooperation with God than prayer. He needs us to become fellow laborers with Him in writing “His-story.” Through prayer, we can participate in events that otherwise would not have occurred. In his excellent book on prayer, And God Changed His Mind, Brother Andrew talks about how the false premise that God is in control of everything going on in the world, and its corollary fallacy that whatever happens is God’s will, so dilutes a Christian’s prayer life as to render it useless. He writes:
The fatalist’s attitude seems to reflect tremendous faith: “I refuse to question the will of God,” he will say with pious humility. But does he actually mean that whatever happens in the world is all right with him — including war, famine, oppression, the breakdown of the family and society, the exploitation of the innocent and weak, and the degradation of all that is holy and pure? “If God allows it, there must be a reason,” he will say, “and I can’t hope to understand God’s reasons with my small mind, so I accept what He does by faith and praise the Lord anyway!” And ignorant listeners to this kind of talk will respond admiringly, “What faith!” 
The truth is, as he also writes, that:
The boundaries of evil are expanding every day, and fatalistic apathy is enabling those boundaries to grow because it offers no resistance. But Christians must oppose evil [which first requires a recognition of it and that God is not the cause of it]; we were born for battle! Every Christian is a soldier, a “member of the resistance” in God’s army, taking part in spiritual warfare. The moment we lose sight of this, we become aimless in our actions and fuzzy in our focus. We forget why we were born, forget what we have been trained and equipped to do on the battlefield, and we die without knowing why we lived. Most importantly, we never complete the mission we were sent to accomplish. Score one more for the Devil. 
Faith in the Word of God is the only firm foundation upon which a Christian can build his prayer life. As Jesus stated in Mark 11:24, “…when you pray, believe [have faith].” Prayer and faith in God’s Word go hand-in-hand. Whatever God has promised in His Word to us as Christians, we can, with faith, pray for. This is yet another reason why it is so vital for each Christian to know the written Word of God, because it is our basis to know what is available through prayer, and what is the right attitude to have when we pray.
Someone once said that “prayer is not forcing God’s reluctance, but rather it is taking hold of His willingness.” God’s posture toward man is clear from Him giving His only begotten Son. Through the Lord Jesus Christ, God is always reaching out to give to His children “every good and perfect gift” (James 1:17). Prayer, based upon a knowledge of God’s Word (which reveals His will and His will-ingness), is a primary way that a son of God can take hold of His many promises.
In this vein, the importance of each Christian’s free will cannot be overemphasized. The biblical truth about the rewards that each of us will receive from the Lord validates God’s appreciation of our individual response to His Word. He gives us credit for doing our part as fellow laborers with Him. Many Christians refuse to take credit for their efforts, and often reject other people’s heartfelt appreciation, saying things like, “Give God all the glory.” Scripture, however, clearly shows us that the way we truly glorify God is by recognizing the power He has given us, and using it to obey Him (see Romans 16; 1 Corinthians 16:17, 18; 2 Timothy 4:7, 8; 3 John 12).
 Let Us Pray (Bi-Monthly Tape, Sep/Oct 1993).
 Brother Andrew, And God Changed His Mind, page 18.
 Ibid., page 23.