This post article is also posted in the Gospel Blog by FEBC
“Excuse me, God, but are you listening?”
Often in life we may subconsciously ask this question. Sometimes it may seem like our prayers have been carried off by the breeze and flutter down by the wayside, unheard and unanswered. However, this isn’t the case.
The Hearer of the Unheard
As a Christian you can rest assured that God has heard and answered your prayers.
“I cry to Yahweh with my voice, and he answers me out of his holy hill.” Psalm 3:4
“It will happen that, before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.” Isaiah 65:24
But I didn’t get what I asked for, you say? How could God have answered my prayer? He has. It just may not have been the answer you wanted. When God answers a prayer, he can give one of three answers: Yes, No, or Wait. It’s the No’s and the Wait’s we have so much trouble with, isn’t it? But we can rest assured that He has heard us. He’s God after all—the omniscient, omnipresent, almighty Creator of the universe, the Lord of Lord’s, the Prince of Peace, the Father to the Fatherless, Friend to the Friendless, the Healer of the Hurting, the Hearer of the Unheard. Even if no one else on earth cares to listen or hear us, there’s One who can always hear us.
A No-Win Situation
But why does God say no, especially when it seems He should have said yes if He cares anything for us at all? Well, we may never know for certain here on earth, but we can know that it’s all part of His plan. Maybe He wants to make you stronger, build your faith, maybe He has a different path for you, maybe it is to benefit someone else. God knows what’s best for His children, even when they don’t and even when it hurts.
“A man’s heart plans his course, but Yahweh directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,” says Yahweh, “thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Sometimes the answer may be No because God isn’t in the plan you want to succeed. When we pray let’s remember the example that Jesus set and not leave out a key part of prayer that many overlook–the part that says, as in Matthew 6:10, “Let your will be done,”
The Waiting Game
Sometimes God doesn’t say Yes or No, but rather His answer is to wait. Maybe we need to wait until the circumstances are different, maybe we need to wait until something else comes up, maybe we need to wait so we can grow stronger and closer to God, maybe it’s so we can lead others to God by the way we react and live out our faith.
“…suffering produces perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope: and hope doesn’t disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:3-5
“Even so, let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
“We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
Be a Prayer Racer
Praying can be a lot like a marathon race. We run and run, tired, breathless, burning, stop for a drink of water and continue on until we finally reach the finish line and revel in the sweet victory of a dream come true, an answered prayer. And because we ran the race and didn’t give up, we’re stronger and better people. However, some of the runners give up, drop out of the race before they reach the end and sit hopeless and wasted by the wayside, never knowing how close they were to finishing the race, that the finish line was only just around the next curve. Let’s not be the ones who give up and drop out before we reach the end; let’s be prayer racers who keep on and cross the finish line victoriously.
“Continue steadfastly in prayer, watching therein with thanksgiving;” Colossians 4:2
“rejoicing in hope; enduring in troubles; continuing steadfastly in prayer;” Romans 12:12
Dear Lord, teach us to pray,
Faithfully day by day
And endure in hope and peace, divine
Running our races to the finish line.
“Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus toward you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18