I am blessed to know some real prayer warriors. These are people who pray boldly, faithfully and specifically, believing that God will answer in His will and in His timing to accomplish His purposes in and through us, and in the lives and circumstances of others.
Our God is good. And our God is great. And our God answers prayer.
Prayer is a joy. It keeps us rightly related to God. When we see answered prayer, it lifts our spirits. This is one reason we encourage people to keep a journal of their prayer life, so that they can periodically reflect on and celebrate answered prayers.
Prayer is also work. It is important work, as you battle against your enemy, the devil, who wants to keep you from dedicating the time, focus and energy that is required to develop a close connection to God through prayer.
So what if you are faithfully praying to God day after day, and you don’t seem to be getting the answers you desire? Here are four ways that God may answer.
If the request is wrong, God says, “No.” Earthly parents know that it is not good to give their children everything they ask for. As a good, loving Heavenly Father, God sometimes tells us, “No.” God always gives us what we need, not what we want.
3 You ask and don’t receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your evil desires.
If the timing is wrong, God says, “Slow.” Jesus tells us a parable about a woman who sought justice from a judge, and day after day she went to the judge asking for justice. Jesus says that this is the persistence with which we should continue to pray, and as we continue to pray, we continually to examine our requests and our motives to ensure that they are in accordance with God’s will.
7 “Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.
19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
If you are wrong, God says, “Grow.” We may realize as we pray that there is unconfessed sin in our heart. God loves us too much to not deal with us about this sin because unconfessed sin will hinder our fellowship with Him and with other people. When a child has a splinter in his hand, his parent will remove the splinter and heal the wound before doing anything else. Similarly, God heals us and grows us so that we can pray and ask for things out of a pure heart. We cultivate a close relationship with Jesus so that through our prayers, we are asking for things that are in accordance with His will.
18 If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.
1 John 5:14
14 Now this is the confidence we have before Him: Whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
7 If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you.
If the timing is right and the request is right and you are right, God says, “Go.” What a joy when our prayers are right in sync with God’s will! God wants people to be saved, to grow in their relationship with Him, for needs to be met, for relationships to be healed, for justice for all people, for Jesus to be glorified, and for so many other wonderful things. Let’s pray prayers that are in line with His will.
13 Whatever you ask in My name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.