In last week’s post on prayer I quoted this statement, “I do not believe in the poser of prayer, I believe in the power of God
who answers prayer.” People of faith pray. They pray because they love and trust God. A person of prayer prays as if everything depends upon God and works for God as if everything depended upon them. Consider the wisdom of the following quotes:
- “Satan trembles when he sees, the weakest saint upon his knees.” Wlm. Cowper.
- “I am persuaded that God does everything by prayer and nothing without it.” John Wesley.
If these sentiments hold true; If we believe in God as the power behind and answerer of prayer; Why do we not pray more often and with greater fervor? Maybe we struggle with prayer because we do not understand the importance of prayer nor do we understand God’s answers.
- Prayer Impresses God. God sent Ananias to Saul with these words, “And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying,” (Acts 9:11 – Bold for emphasis: BSMc). Do we believe these confident words of John? “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. (1 John 5:14-15). Have faith that God hears and answers prayer. Have confidence that God takes notice when we pray. After all, “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.” (James 5:17-18 – Bold emphasis – BSMc).
- God Answers Prayer. Garth Brooks sings, “Sometimes I thank God, for unanswered prayer . . .” I am sorry to inform you Garth, but God always answers prayer. But just like a parent can answer in ways other than “yes,” so can and so does God. God answers prayer.
- Sometimes God answers, “Yes.” He answered Elijah with “yes,” when the rain stopped and again when the rain came. He answered Hannah with “yes” when she prayed for a child (1 Samuel 1:11-17). When Hezekiah prayed for an extended life, again God answered, “yes.” (Isaiah 38:2-5). Sometimes God gives us what we specifically ask for.
- Sometimes God answers, “No.” “No” is an answer. If you took your child or grandchild to the Zoo and they asked to get in the display with the lions and play with them and pet them, I dare say that you would answer, “No.” Although it is not the answer that child wanted, it is an answer and it is the answer they needed. Can we give God the credit of knowing what is best for His children and His creation. Can we allow God to choose to hurt our feelings and tell us, “No” when “no” is what is best? After all He told Jesus, “No” when Jesus prayed for a way other than the cross (Matthew 26:39). God told Paul “no” three times concerning Paul’s thorn in the flesh. (2 Corinthians 12:8-9).
- Sometimes God answers, “Wait.” Zachariah and Elizabeth had to wait for a child to be born. Jeremiah waited ten days for the answer from God. (Jeremiah 42:4-7). Sometimes we are not mature enough or ready to handle what we are asking for. God in His wisdom may make us wait until we are ready or until the time is right.
- Sometimes God gives us Something Different than what we asked for. Jesus did not heal Lazarus. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. (John 11). Solomon asked for wisdom to rule well. God gave him not only wisdom but also fame and fortune. (1 Kings 3:6-14).
Looking back on my life, I can see where God has answered my prayers in each of these four ways. In retrospect every answer was what was best for me. Prayer has power because of God and His love for His children.