Jan 9, 2019
Many people want to know if God answers prayer. You can Google the question and a hundred different ways to ask it pop up. Three main questions emerge:
1. Does God answer prayer?
2. Will God answer the prayers of unbelievers?
3. Does God answer prayers fast?
There are a lot of frustrated desperate people in the world. As a believer for over fifty years, I want to answer your questions using the words God spoke about answering people’s needs. Let’s start with the foundational question, Does God answer prayer?
What is prayer?
Prayer is ideas that are spoken to God. These ideas carry the expressed desire you want to show up in your life. This desire is related to your’s or another’s health and well being, finances or relationships. Many times the request involves all those areas because they are intertwined.
Prayer is also an admission. You are asking for help which is a form of humility. You are admitting or sensing you need assistance. You realize you have not succeeded or will not succeed by your effort or talent and you need something extra, something beyond you, to get you over into that place where the desire is seen, experienced. That something beyond you is grace and favor.
Let’s sum up:
Prayer is a desire spoken to God because you’ve discovered attaining this desire is beyond human skill and you need a grace and a favor to get it done.
And you are hoping God can or will give you this grace and favor to answer your need, but you are not sure if He will. This brings us to the second part contained in our question:
Does God listen to you speak, and does He want to help you?
Before I answer, I want to identify the God I am speaking of. He is I AM. (Exodus 3:14) I AM is not Allah or Buddha or whoever else. I AM’s words are in the Bible. He is the God and it is His words, scripture, I am telling you about.
He says in 2Chronicles 16:9 that He searches “the whole earth to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward Him.” (MKJV) So, He is actively searching for someone who needs Him and wants His help. But no man is perfect. The word translated perfect is shâlêm it means friendly, at peace, and made ready. A person who thinks and acts this way towards God is whom He calls perfect.
He says in Hebrews 11:6 that those who come to Him “must believe that he exists, and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him.”
What do you believe about God?
That He is an angry, judgmental, murdering Being who might help you, if He’s in a good mood? If you please Him? You please Him by trusting Him. Hebrews 11:6 also says, “Without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing to him.” Faith is committing your confidence to something.
But if deep down, you act and speak like God doesn’t exist, doesn’t matter, then you are not a person He can help because you have placed your confidence somewhere else.
Some people are more confident, perhaps arrogant, in their belief of His non-existence and non-rewarding character.
But if you’ve asked the question and you’ve stuck with me this far, you are sincere in your desire to know God. That is a desire God will answer. You ask, “God, I am not sure if You are real; help me to know,” and He will answer.
Now, you are free to ignore Him, if you decide to, but if you want your prayer answered, we’ll move on...
You must believe that He is a rewarder. God- I AM- gets a lot of bad press. Did you ever wonder why other gods do not get blamed for natural disasters, famines, sickness, etc. Why is it always the God of the Bible?
In 2018, an Iranian general claimed Israel was stealing his country’s clouds and creating a drought. You can listen to his claims here. What he was really saying without realizing it is that the god he serves could not defend his country against the God of Israel. He is saying their God is more powerful. I doubt he thinks that or wants to.
It is true God is not alone in the spiritual world. But when people accuse Him of not doing “good”, they are acknowledging they think He is the good God and He is the Supreme Authority, Most Powerful, the God over every god and He should have done something to prevent the calamity.
But God is not mad. He has given us Jesus and we can live in His favor. He is searching, hoping to find those who choose Him as the final authority in their life.
God has given you the freedom to choose what you believe and how you will live your life based on those beliefs. If you want to establish your life on the principles of a lesser authority you can.
If you put your confidence in what man says God is like and what man says He does, if you put your confidence in another god, if you are convinced there is no God, you are free to do so, but you step outside of God’s territory when you do.
He is searching, but His ability to work in your life is through His word. This is the spiritual law He laid down when He gave you the freedom to choose. To those who come to Him believing that He is and He rewards, He wants to show Himself strong for you.
In Mark 9:17 we are introduced to a man whose son had seizures. The man had come to Jesus’ disciples hoping they could heal him. They had healed others, and he had heard of Jesus’ great miracles. But Jesus and three of the disciples were gone, and the others had tried but failed to answer his request.
When Jesus returned, he asked what was going on. The man told him his disciples had tried to heal his son and failed. Jesus asked him how long the boy had experienced these seizures, and the man told him the boy had been like that since he was a child.
In desperation he said to Jesus, “...if you can do anything, have compassion on us, and help us."
This father was frustrated and desperate. He was wondering if this Jesus, who called Himself I AM, could answer his request. Jesus replied, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
The man, knowing his doubt, cried, “I believe. Help my unbelief!”
This is where many of us are: somewhere between complete trust and uncertainty. Confronted with longstanding obstacles. Failure. Dashed hopes.
But Jesus didn’t turn away. The father came believing and came expecting good. He even admitted his own failure.
Jesus said all we need is trust the size of a mustard seed, like a speck. The father of the boy had it, and he went home with his son healed, his request answered.
God has given the blind back their sight. He has healed, restored and delivered millions of people who have come to Him.
So, yes, God answers prayer.
God's ability to work in your life is through His word. (Isaiah 55:11; 1Thes 2:13; Hebrews 4:12) If you would like help praying the word over your life, Arabah Joy gives you a list of verses to pray on her blog,click here to get it. She has also created a video to help you know how to pray the word. Click here to view it.
Next time I’ll answer the question, “Does God answer the prayers of unbelievers?” The answer may surprise you.
Images by Sarah Nolton and Ben White respectively. Courtesy of Unsplash.
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