Most of us reading this blog will readily pluck from our memory boxes the unanswered prayers of our lives. We can tend to dwell on those prayers more than we think on the answered ones.
Jesus said in Mark 11:23-25 "Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go throw yourself into the sea, and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive their sins."
There are some people who read this passage and think that they can snap their finger and make demands of God, who they perceive to be much like Santa. And so their prayers will often go along these lines: I want a Mercedes...I claim it in Jesus Name. I am your child, you will not withhold anything from me. I want a swimming pool... God is not Santa Claus sitting in the sky waiting to shower all their wants on them.
Then there are the people who believe that God is a type of Scrooge—a Killjoy who wants them to learn to suffer and do without. So their prayer is more along the lines of—God I need new lounge furniture, but I know the orphans in Africa are suffering and I should not be thinking of myself and my family, so please help me to find a reasonably good discarded one.
I don't believe that either perspective of God or prayer is correct.
There is another verse we need to consider and it is found in 1 John 5:14 "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, He hears us."
So how do we know what God's will is so that we can pray with confidence?
Well, I think these verses firstly exhort us into a relationship with our heavenly Father. Prayer is much more than asking for things—it is developing a relationship with God. Most of us, for the large majority of our lives, do not instantly know what God's will for our lives is. We pray about His plans and purposes for our lives and we seek to discover what those plans are.
So how do we pray?
I believe we should bring our request to God with boldness. There are times when we have no real clarity about His will. For example, we are not sure if the job we applied for is the right one, or the house we have put an offer on is the one we should buy... and so on. So we seek God, we speak to Him and ask Him to lead us in our prayers. Our prayer should be prayed with confidence and we should ask God to have His way. We trust and believe that He is a sovereign God and that ultimately what He wills, shall come to pass. So we always align our prayers with the will of our Father in heaven.
Friends, I do believe God hears every one of our prayers. Sometimes His answer is yes. And then we rejoice. Sometimes the answer is no, and we are disappointed, saddened or even devastated. We may not understand the reason, but perhaps in His time He will reveal why the answer was no, or we must be patient and wait for eternity to reveal why He gave us that answer. Then there are times the answer is not yet. That is when we have to wait patiently.
God does hear and answer prayer. Keep building a relationship with Him. Talk to Him on a daily basis. More than anything else our heavenly Father wants us to draw near to Him so that our lives will be strengthened. That is my prayer for each one of you today.
I am and always will be,
recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,