Need to be reminded
Many of you may already know this or maybe not. I guess that is one of the reasons I write. Those that have knowledge on a particular subject, including me, often need to be reminded. Those that don’t might just learn something new or get a new perspective on what they already know. Come to think of it, that is one of the reasons I read too. I like to learn new things and often need to be reminded.
Today’s post is about a topic I have known to be true for many years. I remember hearing a sermon on this subject when we lived in Birmingham in the late 1980’s and have heard it many times since then in other sermons, bible studies, and in conversations with others, which is who I normally have my conversations with.
God, Not Listening?
Many people claim they have been praying for something for years and God is not listening to them or must not care about them because He hasn’t answered their prayers. You might be wondering to yourself,
“I wonder what Garth Brooks has to say about this?”
Well, he did have a song several years ago on the subject of thanking God for unanswered prayer. I couldn’t help it because of my peculiar mind but every time I heard this song I either said to myself or to anyone who might be with me at the time, “there is no such thing as unanswered prayer” as that is what I believe.
Could our interpretation be wrong?
The prayers of God’s children, those who have accepted His gift of salvation and eternal life, are always heard by our Heavenly Father and always answered. However, we are often not perceptive enough or wise enough to understand the answer.
Often, we will get a no answer and believe it can’t be true because we “know” God wouldn’t do that to us so we ignore the answer and continue following our own plan.
Sometimes we get a yes answer and have a similar reaction. “God couldn’t really want me to do that” so, again, we ignore the answer we didn’t want to hear and forge our own path. That is called free will, which we all have, but along with that we have to accept the consequences of those free will choices we all make.
Probably the hardest answer to accept is the not now answer. This is because we all live in the “gotta have it and gotta have it now” world. This could be God trying to teach us patience, which is often a hard and painful lesson to learn or He could just be saying we are not ready yet or He has something better in mind.
How do I know what God is saying?
The way I understand this is our prayers are us talking to God and God’s Word, the Bible, is Him talking to us. Yes, He still speaks to us today every day through His Word. Of course the catch there is you have to be spending time in His Word to be able to hear and discern what He is saying to you. One of the benefits of my new Early to Rise challenge is helping me be much more consistent spending time in God’s Word reading my Bible every day.
Don’t be anxious
It Philippians 4:6-7 we are told,
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” ESV
The peace that is mentioned here is one way I believe prayers are answered. You will not get an audible yes or no from God but He will give you a peace about a decision you are struggling with or praying about. I have trouble with the not being anxious part from time to time but when the peace comes it is obvious.
I have received all three answers to different prayers in my journey through life so far. What you might see too is sometimes when you are praying and hoping for a yes from God He will give you a not now and you keep praying and the not now will become a no. At that moment it is often hard to understand but when we get past this experience and look back on it we can see how God has directed us to the best path for us – not just a good path – and it might not look anything like our original plan.
Sometimes our prayers change
You might also see that request you were asking for change to a different request as you pray and listen (read His word). This happened for me when my mother was battling cancer, which she did valiantly for 17 years. My prayers went from removing the cancer and healing her, which He did for a time, to removing the pain and cancer permanently by taking her home to be with Him, which He did as well.
Don’t take my word for it. Find out for yourself.
Don’t take my word for whether this is true or not. My words will not always be accurate, not because I am intentionally trying to say anything not true, but just because I am human.
His Word, on the other hand, IS The Gospel Truth. Take His Word for it.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” John 1:1 ESV
Until next time…
Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 03/25/2013