There are people who believe that God does not answer prayer. What about you? This makes them not to pray because, to them it is a waste of time. They are certain God will not respond no matter how fervently they pray.
One can understand why people would think this way. They have prayed and prayed but God has given a deaf ear to them or so it seems. We have seen how very prayerful people have had terrible misfortunes even though they prayed hard to avert them. Not long ago, there was a plane crash in Ethiopia in which almost two hundred people died. We saw many of them engrossed in prayer. They prayed so hard as never before for God’s intervention to save their lives. Yet, God did not respond or so it seemed since all of them perished in that accident. Hence, is it any use praying? Is prayer not a waste of time?
Prayer is not a waste of time. God answers prayers.
“The Lord is near to all who call upon him,
To all who call upon him in truth.” (Psalm 145:18.)
Billions of people pray every day and God answers their prayers. In a different post we shall give you spellbinding stories of prayers that were dramatically answered. This is how it should be. We are told,
“Ask and it will be given to you;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matt. 7:7.
These words are an invitation to prayer. Jesus Christ assures us, ”If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:14)
Still in the Gospel of John, he tells us, “Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in my name, He will give it to you” (John 16:23).
There should be no doubt that God answers prayers. However, God does not answer all prayers. He does not answer prayers that don’t qualify to be answered. Qualified to be answered? Yes! Prayer must qualify to be answered before it is answered. Let us take a look at what will make prayer not to be answered.
- Prayer that is not according to his will. Some of the things we ask in prayer are not things we should ask God. If you pray for an evil plan to succeed. Do you expect God to grant that prayer. Of course, your evil plane could succeed and you think God has answered your prayer. He has not. The devil came in to deceive you. In due time you will pay heavily.
- God cannot answer prayers that go against his plan. A good example is praying that someone whose time has come to leave the world should not die. Death is inevitable in life. It is in God’s plan for all humans. There comes a time when we must die. When that time comes, no matter how we pray to stay alive, we cannot stop death from coming.
- Praying in sin or disobedience. If we pray when we have sinned but failed to confess our sin, God cannot hear our prayer. Disobedience of God is sin and if we disobey we do not merit his listening ear.
- We carry hate in our heart and refuse to forgive others. If we harden our hearts on others, how can we expect God to listen to us and grant our plea?
- Not the right time. The time has not come for that prayer to be answered.
- ‘Yes’ is not good for us. People often say God has not answered their prayer because they were expecting only a ‘yes’. Unfortunately, God will see that ‘yes’ is not good for us and so will not answer.
We need to have it clear that God answers prayers but not prayers that go against his will. We must meet his conditions for him to answer our prayer.
God answers prayers in many ways. You need to know how God answers prayers. This will enable you to know when he has answered your prayer. There are many people whose prayers are answered but they do not know it because they do not master how God answers prayers. Make sure that God does not answer your prayer and you continue to pray for the same intention merely because you are not aware that he has answered it.
It is also important to know that although God answers prayers, it does not suffice to pray just anyhow and sit back and expect God to answer your prayer. You must learn how to pray well. If you don’t pray well, your prayer will not reach God.
A prayer is like the key of a door. God is like the lock on the door. If you have the key, which is the prayer, and you do not fit it well into the keyhole and turn rightly, the door will not open. You must pray well for your prayer to reach God’s ears, get his attention and get his response.
How does God answer prayers?
God answers prayers in many ways
God does not answer prayers only in one way. He answers prayers in many ways. Some of the ways are easy to see. Others are not.
- He can give you what you ask for.
God can answer your prayer by giving you exactly what you ask for. For instance, if you pray for a job, He may give you a job. If you do not have a child and ask for a child, He may decide to you a child; which is exactly what you prayed for. If you are in need of money and pray for it, God may decide to give you exactly the amount you have asked for. God has answered many prayers this way. Thus, it is not far-fetched when we say God answers prayers.
However, do not expect God to send things to come flying to you. If he decides to give you what you want,
- He may send somebody to give it to you. If you need 100.000 francs and pray for it, God could send someone with a hundred thousand francs to give you. It has happened.
- He may lead you to someone who can give you the money.
- He may put an idea in your mind about how to get 100.000 francs. If, for instance, you pray that he should make you rich, he may give you a business idea that can make you rich. If you pick it up and work on it in ways that he prescribes, you will get the riches you desire. He could give you an idea like to write a book which will make you rich. If you are having problems in your marriage and pray about it, He could decide to drop the idea of attending a marriage enrichment course into your mind. When you do the course and follow what you are taught, you will find your marriage enriched.
- He may send you to where you will find what you want. For instance, you may pray for a partner and God will send you to a Church group where you will find the spouse who best suits you.
- Refusal to give what you ask for
God can answer your prayer by refusal. This means he may refuse to give you what you have asked for. The reason, in this case will be that what you want is not good for you even though the desire for it may be burning in your heart. There are times you have a burning desire for something and feel you cannot do without it. You will pray ardently that God should give it to you. Yet, God who knows everything will know that it is not good for you; and that by the way, you can do without it. Hence, he will refuse to give it to you. When he does this, the tendency will be to see it negatively. It should not be seen negatively. It is for your good. Rather than abandon you through this refusal, God has protected your interest.
- By placing an obstacle on your path
There are different ways God can refuse to give you what you ask for. One way is to place and obstacle on your path to prevent you from pursuing the course you want to pursue. He will do this if the course you want to pursue is not good for you. Probably, if you insist, you may land in trouble.
- God can delay the answer
There are times when God wants to give you exactly what you have asked for, but decides to delay it. If he finds that the time is not ripe, he will wait until it is ripe. Some people may take this delay to be refusal on God’s part to answer their prayer. It is not refusal. We usually say God’s delays are not God’s denials.
Be vigilant when you pray
You have to be vigilant when you pray not to miss God’s answers to your prayers. He never fails to pay attention to those obedient servants who, in faith, turn to him in prayer. “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (9 James. 5:16)
“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (John 15:7)
But know also that he may or may not give exactly what you ask for. He may even refuse to give it if that is for your good. He may delay it to a better time. He may give an alternative which is better than what you prayed for. The most important thing is that you have faith in him and in prayers; and pray believing he will answer your prayer if what you ask for is good for you.
“And all things you ask in prayer believing, you will receive.” ( Matt. 21:22)