During His Incarnation, this is what our theanthropic God knew would happen as a consequence of His own personal prayer:
“I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (Mat 21:21-22)
This is what you and I, who lack faith and are beset with doubt, can reasonably expect to happen as a consequence of our prayer:
God always responds. Prayer always makes a difference. But the difference is not always dramatic and obvious because prayer does not cancel or suspend the particular network of constraints which are bringing some outcome into being. Prayer is the means through which the specific action of God works in and through that network, bringing some succession of events to what will always be a different outcome from what it would otherwise have been.
Could our sinful nature and behavior along with our inadequate prayer warrior attributes continually lower the effectiveness of our prayers (See Sections 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6 and 5.7 of Theology Corner). Undoubtedly! But Oswald Chambers was undaunted by the shortcomings of the human race. Chambers, who did not claim to be a theologian, was nevertheless the most perspicacious Christian expositor of the 20th century. Here is what he believed:
“Jesus never mentioned unanswered prayer; He had the boundless certainty that prayer is always answered. Have we by the Spirit the unspeakable certainty that Jeus had about prayer, or do we think of the times when God does not seem to have answered prayer? ‘Every one that asketh receiveth.’ We say – ‘But…,but….’ God answers prayer in the best way, not sometimes, but every time, although the immediate manifestation of the answer in the domain in which we want it may not always follow. Do we expect God to answer prayer?
The danger with us is that we want to water down the things that Jesus says and make them mean something in accordance with common sense; if it were only common sense, it was not worthwhile for Him to say it. The things Jesus says about prayer are supernatural revelations.” (Chambers, May 26th)