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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Can Christians Expect God to Answer Prayer?

You have probably heard people ask for prayers for safety on a journey they are about to take. Often the journey doesn't seem that arduous. It is more than across town but less than traveling to a war zone. The group nods and someone may even voice this as a prayer. Will it do any good?

The natural reaction to this prayer is that everything will be okay even if the prayer is not offered. People make journeys to other countries without any prayers issued with no incidences every day. We cannot judge from the safety of this person's trip whether or not prayer made any difference at all.

There will be those whom we have prayed to live who will die. There will be those whom we pray for healing who will be healed. The family of the former will thank everyone for their prayers just as the family of the latter gives its thanks. Would events have been the same if no prayers were issued?

Prayer is a matter of faith. Faith believes when there is no evidence other than God's word. Many times prayers are issued without a direct word from God. The person praying does so simply because this is a concern. There is a desired outcome but not a word from God on what that outcome will be. The result becomes God's answer. It is therefore God's communication to them. He says, "No," by letting the loved one die.

There are other times when it is a totally different story. God speaks to you as you pray. You know that He will answer the prayer just as you have asked because of this "word" He has given you. You continue to pray because this is an act of faith and your prayers are more confident even if the circumstances appear negative.

Prayer is not merely people talking to God. It is also God talking to people. It is a sweet communion between Father and child. The child trusts that the Father will answer with love, knowledge and power. The best possible solution is fully expected.

Many people stop praying when there is no apparent answer. God is not obligated to answer on our timescale. He does so when it is right. He develops faith and perseverance during these times. He shows that He is still in control even when it appears that "all hell has broken lose."

The key to answered prayer is perseverance, patience and praying with His glory in mind. We continue to pray as an act of true faith. There is no fast food faith. Waiting for an answer is an act of humility. It says that we can't do this for ourselves and depend upon our Father to respond when He knows it is the right time. His glory is always the result of answered prayer. We should put ourselves in a position to give Him glory.

Prayer is not a bell to ring which starts and stops meetings at church. It is at the very core of our faith.

Yes, we can expect God to answer prayer, though not always like we want.

We can expect God to answer prayer always like we need.

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