One day, an atheist asked me, “Do you really believe God answers prayers?” I replied, “I know God answers prayers.” Then I gave him an example of how God answered my prayer when I was a child. “That could have been a coincidence” he said. I gave him another example. “Oh!” he exclaimed. Then he was quiet for a long time.
You may have read in the Bible where God answered prayers and hopefully you can recall instances when he answered your own prayers. To pray is to communicate with God and you can do so whenever you want and wherever you are. When you pray, thank God for who he is and for all his blessings, praise him, tell him your needs and wants, and or have a conversation with him about anything. God is always with us and he hears and answers prayers. God answers prayers – yes, no, or wait.
When God says yes
God says “yes” to our prayers if what we pray for is good for us and in accordance with his will. He knows everything, including what is best for us. If we pray according to his will, we will almost always get what we pray for. I say “almost always” because I cannot tell you that God will always grant you the desires of your heart. He has the final say. However, you can learn about the will of God from the Bible, pray in faith according to his will, and claim his promises. Then, I believe, he will answer “yes” to more of your prayers.
When God says no
God says “no” to our prayers for various reasons. Some examples are when (a) we have asked for something else before that conflicts with our subsequent requests, (b) we ask for something that someone else has already asked for and it is being granted to that person, (c) we change our requests, (d) we ask for the wrong things, and (e) he has something better in store for us. You can read more about this in my book, Transform Your Life: 7 Steps to a Better Life.
When God says wait
God says “wait” when we pray for reasons such as (a) he has to put things in place first, (b) he has to prepare us for what we ask for, (c) to teach us patience, and (d) to strengthen our faith in him. Waiting can be a challenge because we do not know if God will answer “yes,” “no,” or “wait” when we pray. We just need to remember that he knows what is best for us, be patient, and do our best in the interim.
Biblical examples of how God answers prayers
There are many instances in the Bible where God answered prayers. For example, in 1 King 17, we read about Elijah and the widow whose son died. Elijah prayed that the boy may live again. “The LORD heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived” (1 King 17:22).
While God answered “yes” in the above example, there are also instances in the Bible when he said “no.” For example, in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9, Paul said, “In order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’”
In the book of Daniel chapter 10, we read how the answer to Daniel’s prayer was delayed. There are also others in the Bible who had to wait on God to do what he planned. For example, in 1 Samuel 16, we also read that Samuel anointed David as king when he a youth. However, David had to wait for many years before becoming king of Israel at the age of thirty (2 Samuel 5). These are two examples where both Daniel and David had to wait on God.
God answered my prayer
One day someone asked me who I wanted to marry. I told him I wanted to marry a man with God in his surname because I absolutely love God and his name. I even said the man’s name and a few things about him, and I did not even know the man existed. It was just a name that came to mind. I forgot about the incident and went on with my life.
Many years later, I met the man I said I wanted to marry. I was shocked when I remembered what I had said so many years ago. I could not believe that there was actually someone with that name, and I really liked him. Even more shocking, was the fact that everything I had said about the man was true. We dated and fell in love with each other.
A few years later, I asked God to let me marry this man with God in his surname. I prayed in faith, knowing that God answers prayers. God answered, and Dr. Thomas Godfryd and I got married recently. I thanked God for hearing and answering my prayer and that I am now Dr. Nella Godfryd. This is just one example of how God answers my prayers.
Although God answers yes, no, or wait, we need to remember that he may not answer every prayer. When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he instructed them to pray that God’s will be done (Matt. 6:10). Jesus also demonstrated how to pray according to God’s will during his anguished prayer in the garden of Gethsemane (Matt. 29:39).
Always remember to put God first (because he deserves it), focus more on love (of God and others – which is the core of the two greatest commandments), and pray according to the will of God. When you do this, God will hear and answer more of your prayers.
What about you?
What have you prayed for? Has God answered your prayers? Did he say “yes,” “no,” or “wait”? If you are still waiting, remember that God does things his way in his time. I would love to hear about your experience. I invite you to share a brief summary of your experience with prayer or your comments in the comments section below.
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