Tag Archives: 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.

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All Access Pass

Have you ever met a person that you respected or admired, then got to have a real conversation with them? Then, at the end of the conversation, they gave you their number and said, “If you ever need anything, reach out to me.” I’ve had that happen a few times. I still have their cards, but I can tell you I’ve never called them. I’m too afraid that I’ll be seen as someone who abused the privilege of having access to them. I don’t want them to think I’m bothering them with a stupid request. So I hang onto my key to access them without ever accessing them.

The crazy thing is that many of us have that same attitude when it comes to accessing God. We think He’s got bigger problems to solve than ours. We reason that He doesn’t want to be bothered with our needs. We then try to justify, “He probably wouldn’t answer anyway.” So we hang onto our access to God, but we rarely access Him. I’m here to tell you that Jesus didn’t rip the veil between man and God for us to sit back. He invited us to come boldly into the Throne Room.

1 Corinthians 4:8 says, “You already have more access to God than you can handle” (MSG). Think about that. You and I have more access to God than we can handle. Access that He expects us to use. Whatever failures you point to, God can forgive. Whatever wisdom you need, God can give. Whatever problems you’re facing, God can resolve, but you have to access Him. You can’t just sit back and do nothing. Use your “All Access” badge, get into the Throne Room of Heaven and let God know your request.

God is able to handle the toughest problems of this world and your greatest need at the same time. You don’t need to feel ashamed or timid in approaching Him. His ways are not our ways and His wisdom is not our wisdom so He may answer in an unexpected way. Present your needs to Him without telling Him how to solve them. God is deeply concerned about the things you’re concerned about, and He has the power to resolve them. Don’t believe the lie that you need to leave Him alone. You have the access, now use it.

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God’s Timing

Earlier this year, my son got a 3-D puzzle of Big Ben, the famous clock at Westminster Palace. This particular puzzle has a working clock on one side. After we built the clock, he asked if we could set the clock to London time. I then moved the hour hand six hours ahead. He said, “Wow! London is six hours faster than us?” Now, whenever he goes by the clock, he announces what time it is in London so we’ll know the difference in their time and ours.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that God has a different time than I do. It’s not as simple as a six hour difference though. He doesn’t look at time by the hour like we do. He looks at circumstances and how they line up to tell time. Whenever I pray for something, I’m typically looking at my circumstances and ask God to intervene in that moment. God’s timing doesn’t just look at what I want in that moment, he looks at the ripple effect and how that affects other moments.

Like a child wanting something at the store, I often demand that God answer right now! To me, what I’m asking for is urgent, but I’m learning that God has a plan and will answer in His time and in His way. In Psalm 69, David is praying desperately for God to answer him. He felt like he was drowning in his circumstances and he cried out to God to save him. Then in verse 13, he changed his tone. He prayed, “Answer me, God, at a time you choose” (GNT). He understood that God’s time was different than His and He trusted God’s wisdom over His desires.

I’ve been learning a lot about prayer this year so I can better communicate with God. When I read this verse, it changed how I pray. I’ve got to learn to trust His timing and His answer. I can’t just look at my life through and circumstances through my lenses. I need to learn to see things the way God does so that I can better trust what He’s doing and when He’s doing it. If I trust Him for my salvation and as my provider, then I need to learn to trust His timing too.

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What God Wants

I’m doing a 40 day prayer challenge with a friend as we lead up to Easter. We both made visual lists of the things we want to pray over daily. As we were discussing them, he mentioned that he wants to pray God’s will into his life. I thought it was a great idea, and I added a blank page to my visual. I pray over the things that are near and dear to my heart, but then I pray, “God, these are the things I desire for my life. What do you desire to do in me? What do you want to write into my life? I give you permission to do what you want.”

I’ll be honest, that’s a dangerous prayer, but I believe it’s a necessary one. We all have our own ideas about what’s important to us, and we have things we pray over. At the same time, there are things God is trying to do, and we need to submit to His will. I feel that many times the things we pray for are more our will than His. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus taught us how to pray in these instances. In Matthew 26:39 Jesus prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, take this cup of suffering from me! Yet not what I want, but what you want” (GNT).

We can ask God for the things we want, but I believe it’s import to turn around and give God permission to do what He wants. It’s not so much about giving Him permission as it is that we are submitting to His will. God answers the prayers we pray that are in accordance with His will. He also has great plans for your life, but we have to learn to submit to them instead of insisting we get help accomplishing our own. Prayer shouldn’t be just about what we want. It needs to be about what God wants too.

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Stop And Look

Have you ever been sitting at a red light, or in traffic, and looked over and thought, “When did they build that?” It happens to me all the time. I take the same route to work each day, but sometimes the traffic patterns change. I’ll look over and see a building or something else and wonder how I missed it before. I’d driven by it a 100 times before, but somehow I’d never seen it. Was I too tired every other time? No. The difference is that this time I stopped and then looked around.

It makes me wonder how much of who God is, and what He says, that we miss because our prayers just us talking. I wonder how much He’s trying to show us, but our lives are too busy. He created us to be industrious. That’s a great trait that He put in us, but He also knew that it would mean we need to be reminded to stop and breathe every once in a while or we’d miss Him. We have a tendency to make everything so much about us, that we lose sight of our creator.

In Psalm 46:10 God said, “Be still, and know that I am God!” (NLT) When we learn to be still in His presence, in prayer and in life, we begin to notice things about Him that we’ve never seen. Society has taught us that growth and advancement come from being busy, but God teaches us that they come from being still. Today, make time to stop and be still so you can see things you’ve never seen. God is waiting and wanting to reveal Himself to you. Are you willing to slow down and notice?

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The Power Of Agreement

Recently in our life group we were discussing prayer, when one of our pastors spoke up. He said, “Agreement is the seat of power when it comes to prayer. There is power when we agree with each other in prayer, and even more so when we agree with God.” I’ve found that if you have a body of believers around you, it’s fairly easy to find someone to agree with you in prayer regarding something. I’m called fairly often with a request to pray for something. It’s my honor to agree with someone in prayer. So much so, that I stop what I’m doing and we pray right then.

The harder agreement to be in is the one with God’s will. I don’t always know that, so I end up praying my will and hope it aligns with His. I’ve learned to pray like Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane where I let God know my request, but then say, “Not my will, but yours be done.” That’s a hard prayer to pray if we’re honest, especially when we are praying over a loved one who is fighting for life. Praying for God’s will isn’t about trying to change the will of God, but rather praying for me to accept what God wants to do and to be in agreement with it.

Something I’ve done in my prayer life to help me pray the will of God, is to give him a blank page. I pray, “God, whatever it is that you want to write into my life according to your will, I give you permission. Do what you want, when you want. You know the things I’m praying for. Help me to know the things you want to do in my life and through me. I make myself available to your will.” Be careful praying this prayer. If you mean it, this will unlock the power of agreement with God in your life and things will happen.

In Matthew 18:19, Jesus said, “Again I say to you, that if two believers on earth agree [that is, are of one mind, in harmony] about anything that they ask [within the will of God], it will be done for them by My Father in heaven” (AMP). Because agreement is the seat of power in prayer, make sure you’re bringing someone else along to pray with you on the things that matter most to you. Beyond that, leave room in your prayers for God’s will to take place in your life. When our will conforms to His, it’s a powerful thing.

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Don’t Stop Knocking

Today marks 40 day’s until Easter. For many, it’s a time of fasting and prayer. I believe both of these should be a part of every believer’s life. Some churches encourage their members to do it these 40 days, and others do it the first month or so of the year. I’d like to encourage you to take the next 40 days to pray concentrated prayers over something you want God to do for you. You could be seeking God’s will for your life, an open door, healing, relationships or anything, but take a few minutes each day to petition Him for it.

Several years ago I read the book “The Circle Maker” by Mark Batterson. In it, he talks of drawing a circle on the floor and praying inside it, or walking a circle around what you’re asking God for as you pray. It’s simply saying, “God, I’m circling this because it’s important to me, and I’m asking you to move on my behalf.” I believe God answers prayers, especially the ones we keep asking Him for.

In Luke 11:5-13, Jesus told the parable of a man who had someone show up to his house at midnight. He didn’t have enough food to feed them, so he knocked on his neighbor’s door. The neighbor told him to come back in the morning because they were in bed. The Man kept knocking because it was important. The neighbor didn’t get up because they were friends. He got up and gave him food because he wouldn’t stop knocking.

What’s in your heart? What is it that you want God to do? Psalm 37:4 says, “Seek your happiness in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desire” (GNT). Spend these next 40 days finding your happiness in the Lord instead of in other places, and ask Him daily for what you want most. Remember that we can approach God’s throne with boldness, bringing our heart’s desire to His attention. Don’t stop knocking until He answers or your desires are changed to be in line with His.

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