I don’t know why God answers some prayers the way we want and some He doesn’t.
What I do know, is that we pray any way. That prayer isn’t just a vehicle to get what we want. It’s a means of changing our hearts and minds. We might find that the “unanswered” prayer is the blessing. It’s the thing that draws us to God more and more. I find that if I start talking to God about something that’s bothering me that I keep talking to God about all sorts of things. And before long I’m telling Him what I’m thankful for and how great I think He is. That is a miracle. When a burdened, sad heart turns to a peaceful, grateful heart. I never grow tired of it.
I was thinking about the Apostle Paul today. He had a problem. A “thorn in the flesh” that he was faithful in prayer about. 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 says “Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Am I reading this right? He said the unanswered prayer became something he could boast about? His weakness opened the door for Christ to work? I do believe I have read it right. But then there’s this other verse that’s been coming to mind today as well. It’s James 4:2 and it goes like this: “Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.”
So here’s the conclusion I’ve come to…..we don’t get the joy of an answered prayer unless we pray. And we don’t get the blessing of an unanswered prayer unless we pray. So pray. Why God answers yes or no is not for me to know. What is for me to know is that God wants us to pray and things happen when we pray the way God tells us to. One of the ways He tells us to pray is TOGETHER. We see from Acts 12 to join other believers in prayer. In James 5:16 it says, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results”. I love the “each other” part of that verse. That means fellowship. Praying together. Praying for each other.
Revelation 5:8 paints a beautiful picture of heaven and in that picture we find this gem of a verse: “And when he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people”.
Our prayers are so precious to God that they are incense in golden bowls in heaven. That is amazing. So pray! Pray often. Pray consistently. Pray with urgency. Trust God with the answer and know that it is the very thing you need.