“IS GOD STILL IN THE BUSINESS OF ANSWERING PRAYERS?”
When my college senior was only 14 years old, we had the most amazing conversation about prayer.
Honestly, Emily has always been a very curious girl, and her questions about prayer were no different.
Here’s what she asked:
Does God really hear me when I pray?
How does God answer my prayers?
Maybe you have also pondered some of these same types of questions about prayer.
Possibly you have–like my daughter–wondered about prayer and the way that God works. In today’s post, I thought I’d share with you some of the answers that I gave to my daughter so many years ago.
My prayer is that these answers might encourage, instruct, and equip you in your walk with the Lord.
DOES GOD REALLY HEAR ME WHEN I PRAY?
YES! I can shout the answer to this one!
Without a doubt, the Lord always, always, always hears us when we call on Him. In fact, our Father hears every word that we utter, all that we think, and He is acutely aware of every issue in our lives.
Psalm 139:1-4 reminds us of this truth:
“O Lord, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
Lord, You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, Lord.”
HOW DOES GOD ANSWER MY PRAYERS?
Basically, answers to prayer can fall in one of four categories.
These are not hard and fast rules, but they can give us some insight into how God might answer and respond to our prayers.
FIRST, GOD CAN ANSWER OUR PRAYERS WITH A RESOUNDING, “YES!”
We ask, and He does it. We pray, and we see immediate results. The check comes in the mail, the house sells, the job offer is made, the baby is born, or some other wonderful answer to prayer occurs.
When this happens, we are usually so grateful and so glad we serve a God who answers prayer.
Elijah was a man in the Bible who enjoyed some very definite answers to prayer. He prayed earnestly, and God answered from heaven.
Check out his testimony in James 5:17-18 in The Amplified Bible:
“Elijah was a man with a nature like ours [with the same physical, mental, and spiritual limitations and shortcomings], and he prayed intensely for it not to rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the land produced its crops [as usual].”
Additionally, Elijah prayed for the rains to stop, and they did. Then, Elijah asked God to send rain, and He did. This Bible prophet experienced very clear and definite answer to pray in the affirmative.
Again, the Bible tells us in James 5:16 in The Amplified Bible that,
“The heartfelt and persistent prayer of a righteous man (believer) can accomplish much [when put into action and made effective by God—it is dynamic and can have tremendous power].”
When we confess our sins and pray heartfelt, honest prayers, God does answer. And, often He answers with an immediate, “YES!”
Allow me to share some of my favorite examples to illustrate this point.
ANSWERED PRAYERS ABOUT THE SCHOOLS FOR OUR KIDS
Several years ago, my husband and I felt like the Lord was leading us to move our children from one school to another. After much prayer, time talking with trusted friends, and some conversations with our children; we started looking at new schools.
Eventually, we found a Christian school that we believed would be ideal for our kids. The only problem was the matter of costly tuition.
It became obvious that in order for our kids to attend this new school, I would need to go back into the classroom to work as a teacher. It had been almost 10 years since I’d been a classroom teacher. So, I dusted off my transcripts and credentials and applied for a teaching job.
Strangely, I only applied at one school, for one job, for one grade, for two subjects. On my application, I stated that I would like to teach 6th graders English or Bible.
Then, we waited and prayed, uncertain of what would happen next. About a month after turning in my one application, I got a phone call.
Miraculously, I was offered the exact job I had applied for – teaching English and Bible. There was no doubt in our minds that God had provided this exact job in this exact moment. He had answered our prayers with a, “YES!”
ANSWERED PRAYERS FOR THOSE WHO HURT OUR KIDS
On another occasion, I remember God very clearly answering our prayers for one of our children. At the time, I was praying with a group of ladies called, “Moms in Touch.” We would meet weekly to pray by name for our school, our teachers, and our children. It was an amazing experience with some precious sisters in Christ.
One particular morning, we were praying for a bully, a little girl, who was badgering my son. He was in the fourth grade, and this little girl made his life absolutely miserable with her teasing, taunting, and name-calling. I had met with the teacher, but nothing had worked, so we took the matter to God by praying for my son and this little girl by name.
Under the circumstances, one of the other moms became very passionate in praying over this situation. She asked God to silence that little girl and not allow her to say one unkind thing to my son all day long. Earnestly she petitioned the Lord to intervene on my son’s behalf.
That afternoon, as he came in from school and we began to talk, I asked him how his day went. After sharing some of the basic, daily information, he mentioned the most curious thing.
The little girl who regularly tormented him had laryngitis that day at school and she could not speak. She could not utter one word or one insult at him all day long. My sweet “Mom’s in Touch” friend’s prayers had been immediately answered.
Please understand I am not encouraging you to pray for another person’s illness, but I do truly believe that God used the prayers and the faith of my friend who prayed protection over my child. And, He can and will do the same thing in your life.
God does care and He does answer prayers. Even the smallest things to us matter to our big God. We may not think that He would care about the minutia of our lives, but He does.
In Luke 12:5-7, Jesus encouraged the people with these words,
“Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life—body and soul—in his hands. What’s the price of two or three pet canaries? Some loose change, right? But God never overlooks a single one. And he pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries.” (The Message)
ANSWERED PRAYERS FOR THE SMALL THINGS IN OUR LIVES
God does care down to the last detail for you and for me. I saw this illustrated so clearly in the life of my friend Jennifer. She and her husband James were in seminary preparing to go into the ministry. They lived on an extremely tight budget with very little money to spare. Wisely, they had relied on God to provide for their needs. Not desiring to go into debt, they would pray and wait for God to take care of them.
One afternoon, Jennifer opened her cabinets to find only a can a tuna, a can of peas, and a box and macaroni and cheese. She sighed and then prayed, asking God to at least give her some butter for the mac and cheese. She could make tuna patties, peas, and mac and cheese if only she had some butter.
A few minutes after praying, her doorbell rang. At the door stood one of Jennifer’s friends holding a hair dryer in one hand and a 4-pack of butter in the other.
Her friend explained, “While I was at the grocery store, I felt like God told me to get you some butter. I really don’t know why, but here it is.”
God had very specifically provided for the small and seemingly insignificant need in Jennifer’s life. He had sent her a gift in the form of butter.
ANSWERED PRAYERS FOR THE FINANCIAL NEEDS IN OUR LIVES
Here’s one more story that illustrates the way that God responds affirmatively to our prayers. It’s one of the most amazing answers to prayer I’ve ever experienced.
A young family in our church was in a tough spot. The young mom had quit her job to stay home with her preschoolers. Two weeks after quitting her job, her husband lost his job. They went from being a two-income family to a NO income family in just 3 weeks.
Our Bible class heard about their situation and took up an offering. We collected $357.00 to give to this family.
On the day that we took the money, the young mom had been on her knees on her kitchen floor asking God to take care of them.
They had a large light, gas, and water bill to pay.
Would you like to know how much the bill was? It was exactly $357.00!
Be reminded today – God hears.
He still answers prayer. And, He can answer your prayers!
Be reminded today – God hears. He still answers prayer. And, He can answer your prayers!
Don’t give up!
God does answer prayer!