Does God answer your prayers? Of course He isn’t a genie who has to obey your every command, but does He hear when you ask–and does He really answer? So many times we pray and nothing seems to happen that we might be tempted to come to the conclusion that we are imagining that He is there or that hears us, yet the truth of the matter is, yes, He is there, and yes, He answers the prayers of His people!
“Surely the LORD’s power is enough to save you. He can hear you when you ask Him for help.” (Isaiah 59:1 NCV)
I never cease to be amazed when God answers my prayers. Not because I don’t believe He exists–because I do. Neither is it because I don’t think He is powerful enough to do what I ask–because I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that He is. It is just that I am not always certain what I’m asking for is really His will. I don’t think I ask for sinful things; it’s just that many of my prayers have to do with alleviating suffering and physical healing for myself and others. Even though I may really want the healing, sometimes it might actually serve His purposes more for there to not be a miraculous and instant healing, because suffering can turn our thoughts toward Him, and handled correctly can be a powerful witness for His kingdom. Yet sometimes, when my prayer aligns with His purposes, He does act instantaneously–and that never ceases to amaze me!
Our family has had dad home because of a work-related injury–the recovery from which can be both painful and extended–since just around the time summer vacation started. And while for many, summer is typically a time of relative inactivity, rest, recreation or just plain fun, for us it hasn’t been so this year. Typically, when daddy is at work, we can structure our time as we see fit, but when he’s home we’re called on to do whatever it is he thinks needs doing. It is, in part, how our family functions–there is usually a mover and shaker within each family and he is the one who gets us moving to clean up and get other necessary tasks accomplished.
Yet this summer was particularly hard for our youngest daughter. Her older two siblings have flown the coop and are no longer here to share the burden of availability for dad’s projects, and my bilateral hip replacement surgery at the end of June limited my ability to share the load. She’s had to grow up–quickly–yet I felt sorry that she hadn’t really had any real down time. So, I prayed. I’m not sure what, exactly, I was hoping for–I just called out to God.
Then–barely a day or so later–my husband’s supervisor called telling him that he has been released to go back to work! Granted, it is not yet certain whether he will actually be going back because, not having completed therapy on his injured arm, he would be on light duty. But God’s response–His timing–was so “cause and effect,” so immediate–that it totally dumbfounded me! And, it reminded me some very important truths. “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness…” (2 Peter 3:9 NIV) and “Surely the LORD’s power is enough to save you. He can hear you when you ask Him for help.” (Isaiah 59:1 NCV) God is neither slow to answer, nor is He unable to help–and He hears when we pray!
This is important for us to remember, because there will always be prayers we consider “unanswered”–in my case, prayers for my husband’s conversion, prayers for the healing of a faithful paralyzed servant of God, prayers for the healing for another suffering man of God, and others like it. We want these prayers answered–and surely we cannot understand why God would not grant them. Yet we do not understand all of God’s purposes! How can we? We are human but He is God–we see and perceive what immediately affects us and the lives of those we know, yet we do not fully comprehend God’s greater plans. And we become discouraged when He doesn’t respond instantaneously to grant us our every request.
This, I believe, is why He does occasionally allow what we desire–simply so we don’t forget that HE CAN. So we don’t lose faith, while we wait on Him and His purposes in the lives of the many people we care about.
So, does God answer your prayers? Does He hear? Although we will not always get the answer we hope for because God knows better than we what He is accomplishing through a difficult circumstance, the answer is nonetheless an unequivocal resounding, YES!
Help me remember that You DO HEAR when I ask for help! Amen.