Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How Prayers Are Answered

“When we pray, God hears more than we say, answers more than we ask, gives more than we imagine—in His own time and in His own way.”
—Nicky Gumbel
We are most apt to quietly disparage God for not answering our prayers, when, in fact, God is in the business of answering prayers. It is God’s eternal nature to answer prayers, and the answers are always superior to our human intellect or what we deserve or what we can conceive at the time.
We have such limited vision for what is truly the vision of God.
But God has the whole of our lives in his hand, and our lives are definitely working out in accordance with the days marked out for us. Yet, each of us must work out our lives. Each of us must make our moment-by-moment decisions and live with the consequences. By those decisions and consequences many prayers are answered.
Whether prayers are answered in the affirmative or negative is generally irrelevant.
The reasons for this are the enormous scope of the outcomes of life. We see only one, two, or three options. There are in reality a myriad of discrete options. It’s not only what we decide to do that counts, but how we decide to live our lives, including ‘the when’ and ‘the why’.
Whether We Like It Or Not, Prayers Are Answered
When we come at life with this perspective—that our prayers are always answered—because they are—in the ‘not now’, or ‘okay’, or ‘no, not for you’, or ‘yes, but’ sort of ways, and many more—we are not disarmed by the control God has over our lives. Instead, we see our relationships with the Lord as dynamic. We see God communicating with us constantly about his will and what we can do in response.
God is constantly communicating with us via our prayer life.
Given the fact that our supplication (requesting) prayers, correctly ordered, come after our prayers of adoration, confession, and thanksgiving, we are more in the mood to receive God’s will for our lives, rather than if we simply hopped into our requests at the beginning.
The truth of prayer, in the context of our relationships with God, is it is a dynamic arrangement. Never does God ignore our requests. Never really are we left unanswered.
When we feel unanswered God is still communicating to us, and it is our opportunity to discern what God is saying within the context of our lives.
It is God’s nature to answer all prayer, in all sorts of ways. When we are only looking for positive responses from God it will appear many prayers are left unanswered. But God is responding to each of our prayers. Our opportunity is to discern what God is saying within the context of our present lives.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

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