Tag Archives: god answers prayer

When God Answers Prayers

One of the stories on the Bible that speaks to me every time is in 1 Samuel 1. Hannah wasn’t able to have a child so she was ridiculed, taunted, bullied and shamed. Year after year this went on. One year she had enough. Instead of attacking her bully, she went into the Sanctuary to pray. She wept bitterly before God, crying out in prayer for a long time. As she prayed, her lips were moving, but the words were coming from her heart. She wasn’t leaving until God answered her prayer for a son.

Verse 10 says, “Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord” (NLT). One of the first questions that comes to my mind is, “When is the last time I prayed with that kind of desperation?” Most of our prayers are simple ones with little emotion. I believe one of the reasons God answered Hannah’s prayer, and will answer ours, is because it was fervent and came from deep within her soul, not just her mind.

Verse 12 says, “Hannah continued to pray to the Lord for a long time” (GNT). I’ve heard the saying, “Don’t pray until you’re through. Pray until you’ve prayed through.” This is where it is applied. Too many times, we ask God for something and when He doesn’t answer right away, we quit praying. Hannah didn’t just pray for a long time, she prayed a long time for years. God uses her internal torment to develop a life of prayer. She wasn’t going to stop until she got her answer. One of the reasons God answered her prayer, and will answer ours, is because of persistence.

After the Eli, the priest, had told her God would answer her prayer, verse 18 says, “Then she went back and began to eat again, and she was no longer sad” (NLT). Hannah believed God would answer and acted accordingly. She didn’t let the years of God not answering prayer create doubt. She held onto the promise and acted in faith before God answered. She quit believing the words of the bully and held onto God’s Word instead. One of the reasons God answered her prayer, and will answer ours, is when we act in faith.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

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Exceedingly And Abundantly

What’s the biggest or greatest thing you can ask God for? Think about that for just a minute. Seriously. For some of you, it might be the healing of a terminal illness. Others might need a financial miracle. For Abraham, it was an heir to leave all his belongings to. He was getting old, and he was already thinking about end of life details. He told God that his reward for his faithfulness was useless without a child.

Asking for an heir to be able to pass down his estate to was the biggest thing he could think of, and he asked God for it. In Genesis 15:5 it says, “The Lord took him outside and said, ‘Look at the sky and try to count the stars; you will have as many descendants as that’” (GNT). All Abraham was asking for was one descendent, and God points to the countless stars and says, “That’s how many I’ll give you!”

No matter what you or I can think of or ask for, God can do exceedingly and abundantly more. Abraham thought that asking for one descendent was Impossible, and God blew his mind. I don’t know what your prayer is, but I want you to know that God is able. What seems impossible or too big in your mind is not even the beginning of what God can do. Every time you begin to doubt, look at the stars and remember that nothing is impossible for God.

Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

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Buy A Ticket


I used to live next door to one of the oldest members of our church. She was quite the character. One evening I was outside when she pulled into her driveway with a car full of groceries. After I helped her take them in, she told me a joke I’ll never forget. She said, “One day, the lottery was really large and a man wanted to win it. He prayed, ‘God, if you let me win the lottery, I’ll give 25% to the church.’ God replied back, ‘Buy a ticket!'” She then told me, “So many times we ask God for something, but don’t do anything about it.”

I think about that joke often in my prayer time. How many times have I asked God for something when I wasn’t willing to “buy a ticket”? God couldn’t help that man win the lottery if he wasn’t the owner of a ticket, and He can’t answer a lot of our prayers if we aren’t willing to put ourselves in position for Him to either. Remember, faith without works (action), is useless. He could have believed all he wanted that God would let him win the lottery, but without action on his part, it was useless.

In John 4:46-54, there is the story of a nobleman whose some was on his deathbed. He heard that Jesus was about 18 miles away, so he walked over a day to get to him. When he arrived, he begged Jesus to come to his home and heal his son. Jesus blew him off. He wouldn’t let up though. He pleaded, “Lord, please come now before my son dies” (NLT). Then in verse 50, it says, “Then Jesus told him, ‘Go back home. Your son will live!’ And the man believed what Jesus said and started home.”

In order for his faith to activate his son’s healing, he had to start home. He had to act without seeing the result. It wasn’t until the next day, on his journey home, that his servants met him on the road, that he found out his son was healed. What if he had stayed and continued to beg Jesus? What if he had never started home? Often Jesus would say, “Go. Your faith has made you whole.” Their healing, their answer to prayer, was always activated by something they did. God has the power to answer your largest prayer, but it usually requires some kind of action on your part first.

What action do you need to take as an act of faith to activate God’s answer? Mark Batterson often writes, “Pray like it depends on God. Work like it depends on you.”

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The Valley Of Praise


In II Chronicles 20, several armies joined together to attack Judah (lower Israel in the divided kingdom). King Jehoshaphat was terrified and not sure what to do when he heard the news. He immediately sent out word to all the towns to send people to Jerusalem to fast and pray. While they were assembled, he prayed aloud for everyone to hear. In verse 12, he prayed something that is key for all of us to pray in such situations. He said, “We do not know what to do, but we look to you for help” (GNT).

Then, the Spirit of the Lord came on a Levite named Jahaziel. He spoke several things to them, but the part I want to focus on comes from verse 15. He said, “The Lord says you must not be discouraged or be afraid… The battle depends on God, not on you.” That should offer relief to you and I. The battles we are facing don’t depend on our ability, but God’s. We don’t have to be afraid of what we are facing because our God is bigger and more powerful.

The Israelites had to show up to the battle in order to win it according to the prophesy. The same is true for us. To calm his men down, King Jehoshaphat told them, “Put your trust in the Lord your God, and you will stand your ground. Believe what His prophets tell you, and you will succeed.” Faith is more than just showing up for the battle. It’s trusting what God says despite what you see. If we want success, we have to trust His report more than what our eyes and others tell us.

What happened next is incredible and also a great lesson for us. The king ordered that they praise the Lord for the victory before the battle! When they began to praise, it threw the enemy into a panic, and they defeated themselves. They renamed the valley “Baracah” which means the valley of praise. Praise is one of our most powerful weapons. We need to use it before our battles because God dwells in the praises of His people. God can turn your valley of fear and desperation to a valley of praise if you will look to Him, depend on His ability, show up for the battle, and praise Him.

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Get Your Umbrella

  
I once heard about a farm community who was experiencing a drought that threatened to bankrupt the whole town. One church decided to hold a prayer meeting to ask God for rain. Many people from the community showed up and lined the pews of the church. The preacher walked up front to address the crowded church. He said, “This prayer meeting has been cancelled.” The people gasped in disbelief. They had shown up to pray. How could he dismiss them? He said, “I noticed that none of you came with an umbrella. Why pray if you don’t believe God is going to answer?”

I’ve always loved that story. It reminds me of Hannah in the book of Samuel. She had wanted to have a child, but couldn’t. Her husband would go to the temple every year to offer sacrifices. He would then give his other wife, Peninnah, and her children meat from the sacrifice. He then gave the best piece of meat to Hannah. When he did, Peninnah would taunt her and tease her because she couldn’t have kids. Hannah would get so upset she would break down in tears and couldn’t eat.

On one such occasion, Hannah ran to the temple to pray. She quietly wept before the Lord as she prayed. She asked God for a son and promised to give him back if He answered her. As she sat there weeping, Eli the priest, confronted her thinking she was drunk. When she explained that she hadn’t been drinking and had been in prayer, he responded, “In that case, go in peace! May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of him” (1 Samuel 1:17 NLT). Hannah then went back, ate food, and was no longer sad.

She acted in faith before she got her answer. She believed that God heard her prayer and answered it. We could all learn from her and the farming community. Jesus said in John 14:13, “You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.” If we will start acting like God is going to answer our prayers, we will start to see more of them answered. Faith doesn’t wait in order to act. It acts before it knows there will be an answer. 

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Storm Survival

  
When I was in high school, one of my teachers was trying to help us understand the difference in the speed of light versus the speed of sound. He used a storm as an example. We see lightening flash and then a few seconds later, we hear the thunder. By our calculations, if there were 5 seconds between the lightening and the thunder, the lightening was a mile away. The closer the sound was to the lightening the closer it was.I still find myself counting the seconds between them during a storm.

Storms can be scary. The flashing lightening, the thunder, the wind, the rain, and possible floods. The storms of life can be scary too. They can knock us off our path, disorient us, confuse us, challenge our faith, and be relentless. For most of us, that’s when we seek God the most. Our prayers are quick like lightening, but God’s answers seem slow like thunder. It seems the farther we are away from Him, the longer it takes to hear His answer.

While we are waiting for an answer from God, we begin to think we are in the storm alone. The longer it takes, the more our faith takes a hit. It can be terrifying to be in a storm that doesn’t seem to end. As we watch everything we’ve worked for get swept away by rising waters, we wonder where God is. We wonder why has He abandoned us or forgotten us. The truth is that He hasn’t abandoned you. He hasn’t turned away from you.

Psalm 81:7 says, “When you were in trouble, you called to me, and I saved you. From my hiding place in the storm, I answered you” (GNT). This verse reminds me that God is in the storm with me. I may not be able to see Him. I may not be able to feel Him. His answers may seem slow, but He is there with me and He will save me. This verse helps me to get my thoughts off of my abandonment issues and onto the truth that God is there with me.

It’s important to win the battle of the mind in a storm. We must remember Philippians 4:8 that tells us to think on things that are true. What’s true is God has not abandoned you. God did not bring you into this place to let you drown. God is working things out for your good even when it doesn’t look like it. Storms always end at some point. You are more than a conqueror through Him. So don’t get discouraged. Get your mind right, call out to God in the storm, and He will answer you from within it.

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Childlike Faith

  
If you are a Christian, you have prayed and asked God for something. You may have asked for healing for a family member, wisdom to resolve a situation, money to pay some bills, or any number of things. Think about some of the things you’ve asked Him for while I tell you a story about two blind men who followed Jesus home in Matthew 9. When He arrived, they went in with Him and asked for their healing again. They had been asking Him the whole way home and weren’t about to stop now.

In verse 28, Jesus asked them, “Do you really believe I can do this?” (MSG) That’s the question we all need to think about when we pray for things. Do we really believe He can and will answer? I remember when I was a kid, I would often ask my mom for something because the percentage of her saying, “Yes” was a lot higher than my dad saying it. When she would say, “Ask your father,” my heart would sink. Even though I would ask him, in my heart, I believed he would say, “No.”

I’m afraid that we approach God many times the same way I would go to my father instead of the way I went to my mother. When I asked her, I had hope and a cheesy smile. When I asked him, there was no smile and my voice was flat. When I think of these blind men, they approached Jesus the way I went to my mom. They were in essence saying, “Pretty please with sugar on top!” They were smiling and begging knowing He would probably say, “Yes.” They were so hopeful, they followed Him right into His house.

Jesus’ answer wasn’t what they expected though. He said, “Become what you believe.”  He told them their answer would be in proportion to their faith in His ability to say, “Yes.” I believe He still answers our prayers that way, and because we approach Him the way I approached my dad for things, we don’t receive. We get what we believe. If we want to start getting answers to prayers, then we are going to have to change how we approach God. We’ve got to believe He will say, “Yes!” We’ve got to approach Him the way we would approach our parent that would say, “Yes.” 

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