“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” – Mark 11:24.
The power of prayer is God. The power of prayer relies on the assurance that God is listening to you and what’s more wants to answer you. Since prayer is a two-way communication between you and God, you will always receive an answer to your prayers. It just may not be the answer you were looking for or even the answer that makes the most sense. Sometimes, we feel like God has not answered. But you will get an answer. It might be yes, no, or not yet, but there will be an answer because unanswered prayer does not exist.
The perception that we don’t receive an answer to prayer or the answer that we were not expecting often leads to the conclusion that prayer doesn’t work or that prayer only works sometimes. In other words, the outcome of prayer can seem unpredictable. After all, what is the point of praying with great conviction, believing with all our might, only to see our prayers go unanswered. Our faith takes a hit and from then on we are a little more reserved in what we ask God for. The issue is not in the power of prayer or receiving an answer as it is that God chose to answer what we prayed for differently.
Let me give you an analogy. Some pain you are experiencing prompts you to see a doctor. After examining and talking to you, the doctor prescribes a medication. The doctor assures you the medication should take care of it in several days. You go home and take the medication as instructed. A few days pass and you see little or no improvement. You begin to have doubts about the efficacy of the medicine. You abandon taking it three times a day as prescribed and then soon after stop taking it all together. When you return to the doctor for a check-up, you say, “That medicine did not work.” Is that accurate? The medicine did not have a chance to cure your pain because you gave up on it too early. You became your own doctor, setting your own rules. The failing is not in the medicine, but in your method of applying the medicine.
This is a picture of how we have come to think of prayer. We can come to the conclusion that prayer doesn’t work like the Bible says it will work. Could it be because we have tried to make prayer work on our terms and that the failure is not with prayer itself but with our way of praying? Remember that God’s word clearly states that God’s power produces results on the earth when a righteous person prays. (James 5:16)
God sees the bigger picture of our lives. He might know that what you are asking is not the best thing for you or someone you are praying for or He sees the negative things that could occur if He were to give you what you are asking. Or maybe He simply has something better in mind. If God doesn’t give us what we are asking for, we have to remember that He has a good plan and a purpose for everything in our lives and He only wants the very best for us. This is where knowing God’s character and knowing His promises are so important. When we have faith and trust in Him, then we can rest knowing that He hears our prayers, sees our needs and He is faithful to answer according to His will.
- Do you believe that God answers all prayers? Yes or no and why?
- What should our reaction be if God does not answer our prayer in the way we want?
- Do you have any lingering doubts/questions about prayer? How can you best get those questions or concerns answered?