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Tuesday, 26 April 2016

How God answers prayer.

I confess to getting annoyed when someone informs me that: "God answered/didn't answer my/our prayer!"  You see, Father God always, without exception, answers every prayer that is brought to Him in the strong Name of the Lord Jesus.  The illustration that I learned, many years ago, is of UK-style traffic lights. When the light is green, the message is that one may move forward safely.  However, there are times when the light is red - and that means "Stop"!  In that case, one goes forward at one's own risk - and will be held responsible for any accident that may occur as a result of having disobeyed the clear signal.  Then again, the red and amber lights may be displayed together.  This means "Wait" until the green light shows.  "Yes", "No", and "Wait".  And these are the three answers to prayer.

Allow me to illustrate further.  When my children were very young, I can imagine (just!) one of them coming to me and asking me if I would provide her with a sports car.  Now, regardless of the financial aspect of such a request, my answer would have been "Not just now.  Perhaps when you are older".  I would not have been refusing her request; merely telling her that the time was not right.  Then again, she might have come to me and asked if I would provide her with some dangerous, addictive, mind-transforming, illegal drug.  As a loving and, I trust, responsible father, my answer would, of course, have been "No!"  This would not have been a temporary delay, but a final and definite decision. There were, quite naturally, many times when my answer was, "Of course", and the request was granted as quickly as possible.  However, on no occasion was there no answer!

The apostle Peter prayed, and Dorcas was raised from death (Acts 9:36ff).  Yet, three times Paul asked the Lord to remove a physical affliction, but He didn't do so (II Cor.12:7ff).   Just these two incidents are a Biblical reminder to us that the Lord doesn't always give us what we would like to receive; other times He seems to make us wait a long time before He responds.

I have listened to amazing testimonies of the way in which Father God has positively answered prayer.  I have many such testimonies from my own experience.  However, very often, I have not received the answer that I wanted, and expected.   In many such cases, I have later realised exactly why my heavenly Father denied me my request; or made me wait.

Contrary to the apparent belief of so many, prayer is not some kind of 'magic wand' by which we may always secure healing, or success, or a new relationship, or whatever.  The little printed and laminated 'plaque' that is on my study wall, reminds me on a daily basis that: "Sincere prayer is not an attempt to influence the Will of God; but a genuine desire to bring my will into line with His."

When you pray, acknowledge that God's will is best.  If you are discouraged because He doesn't seem to be answering, tell Him about it.  Never despair; never doubt. He will either give you the desires of your heart (Ps.37:4[b] - but be sure to read in context!!), or He will uphold you with His supernatural power so that, with Paul, you will be able to experience the truth of His promise: "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness." (II Cor 12:9).

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