True, not all prayers seem to get answered. This can lead some to think those prayers that do appear to be answered may be mere coincidence. Before we jump to that conclusion, we need to understand that answers to prayers aren’t always what we expect.
The closer we walk with God, the more we can sense that He’s working in our lives nonetheless, even in responses to our prayers that don’t appear answered.
The deeper and more intimately we understand who God is, the more we identify His faithfulness to us in all things. Even when we don’t quite understand His response, we realize that He’s working for our best interest because He, being God, sees the big picture, which we don’t. The stronger our conviction about the greatness of God, the harder it is to believe in mere coincidences.
What We Know About God That Affects How God Answers Prayer
To understand who God is, we can look at what He’s made (Rom. 1:20-21) as well as evidences of His work in people’s lives (Rom. 2:14-15; 2 Cor. 3:2-3) but most importantly, we’ll get to know Him through His Word, the Bible. To reconcile issues like how God answers prayer, we must look at the whole of Scripture and not just pull out isolated verses about God or rely on our limited understanding based on our experiences.
Here’s some of what we’ll discover:
1) We have an omniscient God. If we believe in His ability to know all things, and hence see the big picture, certainly He is able to know what is best. If not, answers may not result in what’s wise and ultimately good. Then we may get what we want, but lose out on what we need.
2) We have a sovereign God. If we believe He works all things for the good (Rom. 8:28), then however the answer to our prayer comes about, certainly God must have His hand in it. If we can’t be assured of His involvement, perhaps what appear to be answers could be mere coincidence. Then we might as well question the validity of bothering to pray.
3) We have a faithful God. If we believe He stays true to who He is and what He says, certainly He must keep His many promises about answered prayer. If not, He’s a liar who can’t be depended upon. Then He is not worthy of believing in or praying to at all.
4) We have a righteous God. If we believe He always does that which is right, true, good, and holy, certainly His responses to our prayers will not betray His own character. If so, He’s flawed and not reliable in His responses. Then He’s not much of a God and we may as well rely on our own finite understanding and abilities.
5) We have a loving, gracious, and merciful God. If we believe He truly cares about us, certainly He will answer in ways that bring about what’s best for us which may sometimes result in a “no” answer to prayer. If He always gives us what we ask for, even if it’s not for our good, He’s simply pampering us. Then He doesn’t truly love us for love always protects (1 Cor. 13:7).
If we truly believe God is all of the above, and so much more, then we’ve got to realize that just because we don’t “see” or understand how God answers, it doesn’t mean He isn’t working on our behalf. It simply means we are not God. There are a lot of things in life we don’t fully understand. Maybe we don’t know how electricity works yet we believe it will work when we turn on the light switch. We may not grasp a lot about how cars operate yet we trust that our cars will get us to where we need to go. But, let’s be clear: Things like electricity and cars can be faulty or unreliable when they break down. If God truly is all-knowing, sovereign, faithful, totally righteous and loving, then how much more we should rely on Him for He will never fail us.
So, the bottom line, when it comes to prayer, what do you really understand and believe about God?
Also Check Out: Theology Resources – Study of the God of the Bible