If I were to take a poll asking people what they most want from prayer, I bet the number one response would be “answers.” When we pray, we are seeking a response from God.
Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you,
And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
How blessed are all those who long for Him.
There is both human responsibility and divine reassurance that work in tandem to accomplish answered prayer. We humbly come before the throne of grace with our petitions, and God answers by faithfully directing our steps. Knowing that God answers the prayers of those who love Him and are obedient to Him, it may be helpful to look at how He answers prayer: Sometimes God’s answer is immediate. We pray and receive a “green light” from God. Doors open, things change, and we are certain of His hand in the situation.
Sometimes the answer to prayer is delayed. We must always pray until God shows the way. It’s also important to not get ahead of God. I’ve tried that a few times, and it never ended well.
Sometimes our requests are denied. When I hear people talk of “unanswered prayer,” I want them to reconsider that phrase. Did God really not answer, or was His answer just, “no”? God always knows what is best for us, and we should be constantly thankful for His divine wisdom. Many of us have prayed for things in the past and now we’re saying, whew, I’m glad that didn’t happen!
If you have a pressing need today, know that God isn’t holding out on you. Pray and wait for His answer.