Does God really answer our prayers? It’s a question we all ask at times. We all wonder. We all yearn to know.
We do know – deep down. We have read about miracles in the scriptures. We have heard others’ stories. We have felt at times that He does. We have felt His love, seen His answers- but at times we doubt. We forget. And we wonder. We wonder why not this time? Why not for me? Why not my way?
We do know
We all have experiences where we know our prayers have been answered. Whether it’s feeling His gentle peace and love for us, or a bigger answer that comes directly to us.
It starts out when we’re children. Shorter, smaller prayers for smaller things. Children filled with faith and belief.
My daughter, JJ, recently started school. The first week of school she found out that one lucky student in her class gets to take home a class teddy bear each weekend. The student then journals everything they do with Buddy Bear and shares it with the class.
She wanted so much to be the first! She talked about it all day to me. After night time prayers she said, “Wondering what I prayed for? That I would be the first one to take home Buddy Bear!” The next day she came running triumphantly and excitedly out to me, carrying Buddy Bear!
“Your prayer was answered! How did your teacher know?” I asked.
“She didn’t. She drew my name!”
What a joyous weekend! What a happy girl! Never has anyone taken better care of a teddy bear than she did! More importantly she learned about prayer. She learned God loves her!
Sometimes we think those childhood days were the easy days. As we get older bigger things are at stake. We think we need our specific requests answered for our temporal – and maybe even eternal – happiness.
God promises he will answer
We are taught of miracles. We have read the scriptures. We know God promises to answer.
In Mark 9:23 a man brought his son to Jesus, asking Jesus to heal him. “Jesus said to him, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.’”
Another verse I like is 1 John 5:14 (an epistle written by John, with this chapter telling how we need to believe in Christ to be saved.): “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”
Why not for me? Why not this time? Why not my way?
If God promises He will answer then why doesn’t He?
We have all asked this at one time or another. Crying, begging, on our knees, pleading. Wondering if it’s a problem of not believing enough, or if God isn’t really there, or if maybe He has forgotten us?
Does He love us any less this time? No, He probably trusts us even more. He knows with His gentle prodding (or some extra effort from us) we will find the answer. We will grow. Maybe the answer is not now. Not yet.
Isaiah teaches us more about God’s views in Isaiah 55:8-9: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
He does love us. We see the temporal, small view. God sees the big, eternal view. God loves us so much He holds out to give us bigger, better answers—even though sometimes it may take years to see those answers. Remember John said, “according to His will“. He wants something better for us than we can even imagine. Only He knows what experiences we need to mold us into becoming the person He wants us to become.
Rely on our past miraculous answers to remind us He will answer
When our faith and patience is fading and we are starting to doubt we must remember our past experiences of answered prayers. We must hold onto them and remember God loves us.
For example, my daughter can look back on her school experience and remember God answered her prayers about Buddy Bear. I can also remember her experience as it strengthened my faith in prayer, and was a reminder to me of His love for all His children.
I had a miraculous experience when I was serving as a missionary in Brazil. One Sunday we stopped to accompany a family to church. They had committed to going and we knew it was the next step needed in their conversion to following Christ. They weren’t even awake yet! We were nervous as we started walking with them to church. We were going to be at least 45 minutes late! The meeting might even be over before we get there! How could we make this experience effective?
I began to pray, but then paused. That week I had been focusing on praying for specific things I needed. Telling the Lord exactly what I needed made it easier to recognize all my prayers that He did answer.
This time though, I thought to myself, “What I really need is for time to go back! We need to be on time to this church meeting. Even the Lord can’t do that. The meeting already started and we have a long walk ahead.” Sure, in 2 Kings the Lord moved time back as a sign to Hezekiah, but that doesn’t happen still today—or does it?
When we arrived at the church we were met by a church leader, Artilio. “Sister, do you know what time it is?” He asked. I groaned to myself! I did know! And since he was out here the meeting must have gone even shorter than usual! It must already be over!
“It’s daylight savings today! Did you know the time changed back an hour?”
Right then I had the thought, “God can change the time back.”
Remembering this experience helps me refocus. I remember to ask for specific things and work to align my will to His. I remember God is in control.
The Lord aligned all things to work together to make that miracle happen for me. He has power to do all things. In His time. In His way. With His perfect love.
God loves me. God loves you. He knows us. He knows what we need. He knows when we need it. He will answer. God does answer prayers.
~ By Trina Wilkinson