3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure. – James 4:3 NLT
God always answers our prayers. He answers us in one of four different ways.
1. Do it now–and of course that is the answer we want so we recognize it right away.
2. Delay–It wasn’t what we wanted to hear so we assume God didn’t answer our prayer.
3. Don’t do it – I’m not hearing that so God must not have answered
4. Dynamically Different–He answers in such a better and highly effective way than what we anticipated that we don’t recognize it as His answer.
When our prayers are from wrong motives and for selfish reason, His answer is always no. Then, because of our pride, we get angry with God and accuse Him of all sorts of things. God understands that anger and when you get through pouting and ask Him, He will forgive you. God is not bound by our desires or our timetable. Even the “yes” answers are not always immediate. We have to wait on His timing. Do we really want our answer or would we prefer God’s answer? Remember in
1 Kings 19:3-5 when Elijah prayed “I have had enough, Lord, just take my life.”? Then think of how God answered that prayer in 2 Kings 2:9-12 when God took him up in a chariot of fire! If God had taken Elijah’s life when Elijah wanted him to, Elisha would not have been trained to become Elijah’s replacement and Elisha would never have seen all the great miracles. God answered Elijah’s prayer in a way far better than Elijah could have thought of or dared to ask. So when we don’t get the answer we want or it is not in the time frame we wanted relax, God is still in control.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
18 The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. — Psalm 145:18, 19 NIV
Psalm 145 NIV
Have you ever felt frustrated and exasperated because you had prayed and prayed about something and it seemed as if God didn’t hear or worse yet, that He didn’t care? Have you ever just wanted to scream at God and tell Him to answer you right now?
David felt that very same thing when he wrote Psalm 143.
God is big enough to handle our frustrations with Him and He loves us enough to allow us to be frustrated. We aren’t the first of His kids to throw a temper tantrum. I am not saying that He likes it, but He can deal with it and still love us. He is always there to carry us through it. Again, not because of our faithfulness but because of His faithfulness. That is why David could write Psalm 143 and Psalm 145.
14 And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. 15 And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for. — 1 John 5:14, 15 NLT
I believe God has obligated Himself to answer every prayer that a Christian prays. I also believe that He does answer every prayer in one of four ways: Yes, No, Wait or gives a completely different answer than we expected and we don’t recognize the event(s) as the answer. It would be foolish to think that God would give a positive answer to any request that required Him to violate His own Word or to give us something that would not be the best for us. Just as parents, we realize that our kids often ask for things that aren’t good for them and we have to say “no”, how much better does our heavenly Father understand and know what is best for us. His great love for us requires Him to only give us His best. The words we use or the format of the prayer are not the important things. What is important is whether or not we have un-confessed sin in our lives. Sin separates us from God and moves us from His umbrella of protection. How much faith is required? I believe that if we have enough faith to ask God for something, that is enough faith. God has made precious promises to His children and He has never failed in doing exactly what He said He would do. The fulfillment of those promises is based on His faithfulness, not ours.
32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? — Romans 8:32 NIV
22 “How great you are, O Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you. We have never even heard of another God like you! — 2 Samuel 7:22 NLT
Nathan, the prophet has told David that God will not allow David to build a permanent temple for God. Nathan also tells David that God will establish David’s house as a dynasty. There would never be a time when someone from David’s lineage would not rule in Israel. Instead of being upset that his idea was rejected, David rejoices in the better plan that God has for he and his family. David then prays this prayer of thanksgiving to God. Then David goes on to be obedient to God and God gives him victory after victory on the battlefield. David collects all the materials necessary for Solomon to build the temple. Though God rejected David’s request, He gave David something better. God always hears and answers our prayers. When God says no to our request, it is usually for our benefit, so that He can give us something better. Either the plan is wrong or the timing is wrong. But, like David, we should accept God’s answer and praise Him for all the things He has brought us through. We should realize, as David did, that there is no God like our God. David had never even heard of a God that could do what our God does and neither have we. Our God fulfills every promise He has ever made. He does this in His timing, not in ours. Too often, we are willing to settle for good things and not wait on God to give us the better things He wants for us. This is true, spiritually, physically and financially. Don’t rebel against God when He doesn’t answer yes to every request exactly when we want him to do so. Wait on the Lord, He has a better plan. Praise Him for Who He is, not what He does for us. He has already given us His Son, why would He withhold any good thing from us?