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John 15:7-8 – If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
God answers prayer. The word of God encourages, and sometimes even demands, that Christians pray. Prayer releases faith, combats the enemy, aligns our minds with the mind of God, releases spiritual promises, and removes mountains. God is sovereign; however, there are some issues in our lives that will never be resolved until we pray. The Bible also tells us that God answers prayers that are aligned with his will and prayed in faith. Effective prayer does have obstacles.
Unanswered prayer is devastating to the heart of the Believer. There are a few reasons for unanswered prayer: lack of faith, lack of consistent faith, praying against God’s will, and praying based on fleshly lusts. Unanswered prayer can contribute to a vicious cycle, “I don’t get my prayers answered because I do not have enough faith, and I don’t have enough faith because my prayers do not get answered.” But there is another dilemma that Christians face that seems like unanswered prayer.
Sometimes God answers our prayers but not in the way that we requested. God will sometimes answer the “heart” of our prayer but not according to our exact specifications. Why is this the case? “Now in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God,” (Romans 8:26-27, NASB). Christians many times do not have the foresight or wisdom to know exactly what it is that they want. The “gist” of their prayer could be genuine; however, getting the exact details of our requests could sometimes be disastrous. The Lord knows this, so when the Holy Spirit intercedes for us, he cleans up and purifies our petitions. If the Believer is not wise, they will consider this type of answered prayer to be unanswered prayer. But we must trust in God.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight,” (Proverbs 3:5-6, NASB). When we bring our prayer requests before God, we must trust him to answer them his way. Giving God timeframes and exact details is fine, but we need to understand that God may not abide by them. God does things his way, the perfect way, and he does not answer prayer according to our limited understanding of the prayer issue. Discernment is required in prayer.
Christians must understand when God has answered our prayers according to his wisdom. We should not be disgruntled because the answer to our prayer did not turn out exactly as we hoped. We must trust that God has more wisdom and knowledge than we do. And we can be thankful that God purifies our prayers for the greater good.