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Monday, November 28, 2016

Does God Answer Prayer?

Does God Answer Prayer?

Does God answer prayer? The answer to this question is a resounding "yes!" There are numerous verses in the Bible that confirm this. His answer may be "yes", it may be "no", or it may be "not now." He may answer in a way we didn't expect because He knows what is best for us. But, no matter what the answer looks like, the fact is that God does answer prayer.

While searching God's word about prayer, a couple of things stood out to me. First, when we pray, we should seek God's will, not our own. Jesus told us that God knows the things we need and we will receive them when we seek His Kingdom first (Matthew 6:32-33). In Matthew 6:9-13, when Jesus taught us how to pray, part of that prayer was to seek God's kingdom and His will ("Your Kingdom come, Your will be done"). Jesus also told us that if we ask, we receive; if we seek, we find; and if we knock, the door will be opened. I believe that when we ask for God's will, we will receive what we ask for; when we seek His will, we will find it. The result is that the door will be opened for His will to be done.

The next thing that stood out to me is that God's answer to prayer requires action on our part. First of all, it requires persistence. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us that we need to pray continually. In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus told the story of the persistent widow who went before the judge for justice against an adversary. She kept on going to the judge, never giving up until at last she received what she asked for. The same is true for our prayers. We must cry out to God day and night and never lose heart.

The next thing required of us is faith. Jesus tells us, in Matthew 21:22, that we will receive an answer to prayer if we believe. And, in James 5, we read that a prayer offered in faith obtains the result that it seeks. God's answer to prayer also requires obedience. We must abide in Christ and His words must abide in us (John 15:7). This doesn't mean that we just need to memorize His words. It means we must live by them and be obedient to them.

Finally, God's answer to prayer requires that we are not harboring unforgiveness. In the Lord's prayer, we ask God to forgive us as we forgive others. Since Jesus gave us this prayer, forgiveness must be important. In Mark 11:24-25, Jesus tells us that, if we believe, we will receive what we ask for in prayer. But, He goes on to say that, if we hold a grudge against someone, we must forgive that person, so that God will forgive us. It is only when we do that we will receive the answer to our prayer.

Thank You, Lord, that You do answer our prayers. Help us always to believe, to forgive, to abide in Your word, and to seek Your will in everything. In Jesus' name. Amen!


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