Unanswered prayer

Image: Unanswered prayer

How to know, that your prayers have been heard.

First lets take a look at what prayer is. The definition is simple. Prayer is “talking with God.” It’s not talking to God. And it’s definitely not talking at God. Prayer is conversing with the King of the world. It involves both speaking and listening. In the same way that you write a letter, prayer involves sending a message and awaiting a response.

The topic of prayer can leave us with a lot of questions like:

  • How am I to know if God heard me?
  • When I don’t get what I want, did I say something wrong?
  • How can I be certain that my letter was delivered?

Through Jesus we have access to God

We can be sure that we have been heard, because it is through Jesus that we can pray to God, as our Father in heaven. When you write a letter, at the end of it, you sign your name, which means you wrote it. The words are yours and they are the words you want to say to the recipient. With prayer, the concept is the same. Like a doctor’s signature is needed to order and receive a prescription, Christ’s signature is needed to approve our prayers before God. Only with Jesus’ signature, can we be sure we are heard.

What about unanswered prayer?

We often ask for things that God doesn’t grant us. When this happens, don’t be tempted to believe that God didn’t hear you or He didn’t answer you.

1 John 5:14-15 says And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

All our prayers are heard. However even if you do pray what seems to be God’s will, this doesn’t mean God will positively answer your prayers. The verses above must be read and understood in light of other passages from the Bible.

Praying according to God’s will includes:

  • The need to pray in faith (Matthew 21:22; James 1:6)
  • The need to pray with patience (Psalm 66:18; 1 Peter 3:12)
  • Pray in submission to God’s will and purpose (Luke 22:42; Romans 8:28).

When we pray we must keep in mind that God will only answer prayers that give glory to His name. We cannot pray with our best interests at heart and expect God to approve our requests.

You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

                                                                                                                     James 4:3

The Spirit helps us in our weakness

God does hear our prayers, even in times when we are lost for words.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:26-27

Paul says to us that our weakness includes sometimes not knowing what the will of God is and how to pray. While we are called upon to know what the will of God is (Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 5:17), we are never expected to know it completely and perfectly. In our weak and sinful state, God is there for us.

In the times when:

  • We don’t know what we would like to know
  • We don’t know what we actually want to pray for
  • We don’t know what God’s will is

We can trust in God who promises to provide for us in our weakness, because the Spirit prays on our behalf.

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