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I often hear people thank God about how their prayer being answered such as in competition. But what I'm thinking is, the winner is not absolutely the only one that prayed. I believe everybody in the competition pray and hope to win too. So, in this condition, only one person's prayer will be answered.

So, how does God decide which person's prayer to answer? Is it based on how hard s/he prayed, or how much s/he deserved it? or is it according to His will only?

If none of them pray, will the result be the same?

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closed as off-topic by curiousdannii, bruised reed, David Jul 18 at 5:20

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

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To clarify, this is stemming from and concerning prayer before competition (football, swim meet, etc.)? – David C. Jul 6 '13 at 14:18
You will have to limit the scope of this question to a particular Christian sect/denomination in order to get a meaningful answer, as views on this vary widely between Christian sects. As such, this question is off-topic because it is too broad/general. – Josiah Oct 22 at 19:17

5 Answers 5

I think this is a misunderstanding of the purpose of prayer, and as such, no such prayer will be answered, in general.

However, we must bear in mind that Christianity is not about rules so much as it is about your relationship with God. Someone who has spend a lot of time building his relationship with God and learning to be obedient to God so as to grow close to Him will have easier access to God in prayer. This is why the Virgin Mary is considered the chief intercessor for Christians, having been the one who bore God and mothered Him, she has perhaps the closest relationship with God. This is seen when even though Christ said 'it is not yet my time', he still chose to supply wine for the wedding at Cana (via the conversion of water into wine). We should avoid thinking of the spiritual life in formulaic terms, as it is much more about your relationship with God and the Saints.

Now, with that disclaimer given, God's primary concern is for your salvation. In fact, this life is given to you for repentance and salvation. As such, a prayer for individual glory may go unanswered simply because you are really asking the wrong thing. But a prayer for spiritual growth and knowledge through some endeavor you undertake (such as a sport) I believe would be answered. If your prayer expresses your desire for communion with God, such a prayer is honored, but a prayer which expresses selfishness and an incorrect outlook on life would go either unanswered or result in a, maybe, unexpected answer (for example, asking for personal victory and glory may result instead in being disqualified, for instance, in an attempt by God to point you away from seeking earthly glory, for such desire corrupts the soul and endangers you to realizing eternal torment as your reward after your earthly life).

I hope this helps. The main takeaway is that God is primarily concerned about the salvation of His people, and will answer prayers within that context.

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There are no rules. Prayer is a personal relationship between you and God.

It is also not always easy to identify answers as answer to a particular prayer. It is also not given that the prayer will be answered within a short period of time.

God works in mysterious ways.

Answers to prayer is never a result of the "quality" of your prayer.

When you pray before a competition, the answer from God may not be in you winning, but maybe in helping you enjoy the competition and even if you don't win you will appreciate the result and see the positive in your experience.

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The One Main advantage of praying is that you get to connect to the supernatural GOD.We don't need to take any appointment to reach the almighty.He is just a prayer away.We need to think how privileged we are to be born as Christians as we get the chance to closely intimate with GOD and move closer to him and also know what his will is for us in this Life. Once we get this straight in our minds we see the things changing outside.We happen to see a sudden change in ourselves facing every problem with boldness and resolving every difficult situation.We gather the strength and the courage to come out victoriously.

Make Jesus your close friend today and see his mighty hand moving in your lives and making a big difference.

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Hi and welcome to Christianity SE! This might sound odd, but we're not a normal discussion forum -- we tend to prefer a more academic tone to conversation; when you get a chance you may want to check out the tour page and help center. – Ryan Frame Jul 6 '13 at 0:17

As soon as you start to think about prayer as a set of rules, you have missed the point. God listens to prayers, but doesn't necessarily grant them. You may be asking for something that will be bad for you, or bad for someone else. God may have other, probably better, plans for you. Trying to work out the "magic formula" for getting your prayers granted is approaching it a whole wrong way - like a toddler trying to work out what way of asking her parents for a pony will actually get her one.

There are some guidelines given: James chapter 5 is often quoted in this context. But there are also many, many books on the subject.

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I think you are missing the point of the question. The OP is asking for guidance or how to properly pray (if proper at all) for a victory in competitive situation, where the competition are also praying for victory; and how God responds to the situation. – Nick Rolando Apr 4 '12 at 0:19
As soon as you start thinking about prayer as a set of rules, you are on the wrong track. – DJClayworth Apr 4 '12 at 13:43
The image of a toddler asking her parents for a pony is a great image that properly reframes God. God is a person, the basis for our own personnes, in fact. When God reveals his name to Moses it is I am who am -- NOT It is what is! Approach God like a toddler asking for a pony; not like a vending machine. God is not a vending machine ... – svidgen Nov 7 '12 at 22:20

As a frequent competitor, I understand prayer as such following.

When I pray, I know that in whatever I do during the competition, God will be with me. As such, mishaps or any other unwanted disadvantages that may happen to me are voided. And thus I compete fairly with others with no disadvantages (such as sickness).

However God may not answer my prayer as it may be a lesson for me to learn.

God helps me with that, but as for the rest of the competition, it is up to me to accomplish it. God wouldn't want to intervene in order to help me win, because He wants to see me working hard and winning the competition in His will.

Competitions cannot be win by greed, as greed is sin. I pray to do my best of my abilities for all competitions.

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Well said brother – Nick Rolando Apr 4 '12 at 16:53
So if some "mishaps or any other unwanted disadvantages" happened to your opponent does that mean he did not pray or God is not with them? – FFCoder Jun 6 '13 at 9:37
@FFcoder, then I believe it would be the second case of my answer for my competitor. It may be a lesson for my competitor to learn. – mauris Jun 6 '13 at 12:54
@mauris what lesson? If they prayed and practice maybe as hard or harder than others. – FFCoder Jun 7 '13 at 3:27
I think this answer get's close to my feeling - it's not really about the competition itself, but about your spiritual growth. The competition can be a tool God uses to bring forth some spiritual maturity in you or others, but at the end of the day, praying to win a competition ultimately misses the point. – Josiah Jul 10 at 18:52

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