How Does God Answer Prayer?

I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice…

Before getting into the details of how God answers prayer, we should be reminded that he does answer prayer! This is a sure thing and something we should cling to. As Robert Murray McCheyne says,

There never was, and never will be, a believing prayer left unanswered.

Four ways that God answers prayer:

  • God often gives the very thing his children ask at the time they ask it.
    • I, as an earthly father, desire to give my children the things they ask for. I delight in it! Their pleasure and well-being brings me joy. So, too, our Heavenly Father, delights in giving his children the desires of their heart. (Psalm 37:4)
  • God often delays the answer to prayer for his own wise reasons.
    • We often grow discouraged with prayers that have seemingly gone unanswered. Yet, how our faith grows when we return time and again to plead with God! Every “refusal” allows us the opportunity to grow stronger. Take comfort that God has not lost your prayer. “It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.” (Lam.3:26)
  • God often answers prayer by terrible things.
    • I can imagine your initial response to this point. Yet, we all have experienced this. We ask for faith and then are immediately thrust into situations where we cling to God with a thousand times more fervor. Our faith increases. We ask God to teach us to pray and then we find ourselves surrounded by difficulty and hardship. We pray as never before. He has granted our hearts desire…by terrible things.
  • God often answers prayer by giving something better than we ask.
    • I have found this so evidently clear in 2 Corinthians 12. Paul begs to God that his thorn in the flesh be removed. God refuses and gives him something far better: the grace of Christ. “My grace is sufficient for you…”

So take courage praying reader, God hears your cries and he will answer.

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4


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