Does God Answer Our Prayers?
Hugh C. Hawes
does it take for God to answer our prayers?
How to Pray: Prayers That Get
Those words in colour are from the Bible
you ever known someone who really trusts God? I once had a good friend who prayed often.
He would tell me every week about
something he was trusting God to take care of. And every week I would
see God do something unusual to answer his prayer. Do you know how
difficult it is for an atheist to observe this week after week? After a
while, "coincidence" begins to sound like a very weak argument.
So why would God answer my friend's prayers? The
biggest reason is that he had a relationship with God. he wanted to
follow God. And he actually listened to what he said. In his mind, God
had the right to direct her in life, and he welcomed him doing just
that! When he prayed for things, it was a natural part of his
relationship with God. He felt very comfortable coming to God with his
needs, his concerns, and whatever issues were current in his life.
Furthermore, he was convinced, from what he read in the Bible, that
God wanted her to rely on him like that.
He pretty much
exhibited what this statement from the Bible says, "This is the
confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything
according to his will, he hears us.
" For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are
attentive to their prayer..."
So, Why Doesn't God Answer Everyone's
It may be because
they don't have a relationship with God. They may know that God exists,
and they might even worship God from time to time. But those who never
seem to have their prayers answered probably don't have a relationship
with him. Further, they have never received from God complete
forgiveness for their sin. What does have to do with it you ask? Here
is an explanation. "Surely
the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to
hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God. Your sins
have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear."
It's pretty natural to feel that separation from
God. When people begin to ask God for something, what usually takes
place? They begin with, "God,
I really need your help with this problem..." And then there's a pause,
followed by a restart... "I realize that I'm not a perfect person, that
I actually have no right to ask
you for this..." There's an awareness of
personal sin and failure. And the person knows that it's not just them;
that God is aware of it too. There's a feeling of, "Who am I kidding?"
What they may know is how they can receive God's forgiveness for all
their sin. They might not know that they can come into a relationship
with God so that God will hear them. This is the foundation for God
answering your prayer.
How to Pray: The Foundation
You must first begin a relationship with God.
Imagine some guy named Mike decides to ask the president of Princeton
University (whom Mike doesn't even know) to co-sign a car loan for him.
Mike would have zero chance of that happening. (We're assuming that the
president of Princeton is not an idiot.) However, if that same
president's daughter asked her dad to co-sign a car loan for her, it
would be no problem. Relationship matters.
With God, when
the person is actually a child of God, when the person belongs to God,
he knows them and hears their prayers. Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep and
my sheep know me...my sheep listen to my voice. I know them and they
follow me. I give them eternal life and they shall never perish; no one
can snatch them out of my hand."
When it comes to God then, do you really know him
and does he know you? Do you have a relationship with him that warrants
God answering your prayers? Or is God pretty distant, pretty much just
a concept in your life? If God is distant, or you're not sure that you
know God, here is how you can begin a relationship with him right now: Click
Will God Definitely Answer Your
For those who do
know him and rely on him, Jesus seems to be wildly generous in his
offer: "If you remain in
me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be
given you." To "remain" in him and have his words remain in
them means they conduct their lives aware of him, relying on him,
listening to what he says. Then they're able to ask him whatever they
want. Here is another qualifier: "This is the confidence we have in
approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he
hears us. And if we know that he hears us -- whatever we ask -- we know
that we have what we asked of him." God answers our prayers according to his will (and
according to his wisdom, his love for us, his holiness, etc.).
Where we trip up is assuming we know God's will,
because a certain thing makes sense to us! We assume that there is only
one right "answer" to a specific prayer, assuming certainly THAT would
be God's will. And this is where it gets tough. We live within the
limits of time and limits of knowledge. We have only limited
information about a situation and the implications of future action on
that situation. God's understanding is unlimited. How an event plays
out in the course of life or history is only something he knows. And he
may have purposes far beyond what we could even imagine. So, God is not
going to do something simply because we determine that it must be his
What Does It Take? What is God
Inclined to Do?
Pages and pages could be filled about God's
intentions toward us. The entire Bible is a description of the kind of
relationship God wants us to experience with him and the kind of life
he wants to give us. Here are just a few examples:
"...the Lord longs to be gracious to
you. He rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for [trust] him!" Did you catch that? Like someone rising out of his
chair to come to your help, "He rises to show you compassion." "As for
God, his way is perfect...He is a shield for all who take refuge in
him." "The Lord delights in those who fear [reverence]
him, who put their hope in his unfailing love."
greatest display of his love and commitment to you is this: Jesus said, "Greater love has no one than
this, that he lay down his life for his friends,"
which is what Jesus did for us. And so, "If God is for us, who can ever
be against us? Since God did not spare even his own Son but gave him up
for us all, won't God, who gave us Christ, also give us everything
What about "Unanswered" Prayer?
Certainly people get sick, even die; financial
problems are real, and all sorts of very difficult situations can come
up. What then?
God tells us to
give our concerns to him. Even as the situation remains dismal,
"Cast all your anxiety on him,
because he cares for you." The circumstances may look out of control, but they
aren't. When the whole world seems to be falling apart, God can keep us
together. This is when a person can be very grateful that they know
God. "The Lord is near.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication
with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace
of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and
your minds in Christ Jesus."
provide solutions, resolutions to the problem WAY beyond what you
imagined possible. Probably any Christian could list examples like this
in their own lives. But if the circumstances do not improve, God can
still give us his peace in the midst of it. Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to
you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be
troubled, nor let it be fearful."
It is at this point (when circumstances are still
tough) that God asks us to continue to trust him -- to "walk by faith, not by sight"
the Bible says. But it's not blind faith. It is based on the very
character of God. A car traveling on the Golden Gate Bridge is fully
supported by the integrity of the bridge. It doesn't matter what the
driver may be feeling, or thinking about, or discussing with someone in
the passenger seat. What gets the car safely to the other side is the
integrity of the bridge, which the driver was willing to trust.
In the same way,
God asks us to trust his integrity, his character...his compassion,
love, wisdom, righteousness on our behalf. He says, "I have loved you with an everlasting love,
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you."
"Trust in him at all times, O people. Pour out your
heart before him. God is a refuge for us."
In Summary...How to Pray
God has offered to answer the prayers of his
children (those who have received him into their lives and seek to
follow him). He asks us to take any concerns to him in prayer and he
will act upon it according to his will. As we deal with difficulties we
are to cast our cares on him and receive from him a peace that defies
the circumstances. The basis for our hope and faith is the character of
God himself. The better we know him, the more apt we are to trust him.
For more on the character of God, please see "Who is God?" or
other articles on this site. The reason for our prayers is God's
character. The first prayer God answers is your prayer to begin a
relationship with God.
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