How does God answer prayer? We may find ourselves asking this question for many different reasons.
Maybe it feels like our prayers are being met with silence. Maybe it feels like we received an answer and yet God seems to be taking His time delivering on it. Or maybe we’re feeling confused because what we prayed for and what we’re seeing happening in our lives . . . are quite contradictory.
There are many ways God can answer our prayers. He is a loving Father who loves to give good gifts to us. And He is a creative God who loves to do things we wouldn’t expect.
But He is also our all-powerful Sovereign Lord whose knowledge is far beyond our wildest comprehension.
So, He knows the best way to answer our prayers.
- How does God speak to us when we pray?
- How long does it take for God to answer prayers?
- 4 Ways God Answers Prayers
- How do you know what God's answer is?
- How Does God Answer Prayers?
How does God speak to us when we pray?
God often speaks to us when we pray through His still small voice and the Bible.
As we pray, we may hear a word or thought we know is not our own. And while this may be a word from God, we have to remember as fallen humans, we are quite prone to self-deception.
Rather than relying on God to answer us directly through our thoughts, we would be wise to make sure what we’re hearing lines up with Scripture.
This is how God most often will speak to us . . . through the Bible.
God will never contradict His Word. So, if what we’re hearing in our prayer time lines up with the Bible, then we know we’re hearing from God.
And as we spend more and more time in prayer and reading Scripture it will get easier to hear His voice over all the noise.
“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”-1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT
How long does it take for God to answer prayers?
There is no real set timetable for God to answer our prayers. Some people see immediate results. Some wait a little while.
And some wait years and years.
It’s not about the way we pray. It’s about what God knows is best. He answers our prayers according to His perfect plan for our lives. This means He knows exactly the best time to give us His answer.
While it can be hard to wait, we can let those hard moments of waiting on God grow our faith.
We do this by remembering God’s promises:
- He loves us. (1 John 4:9)
- He is with us. (Deut. 31:8)
- And He has good plans for us. (Jer. 29:11)
So, keep believing even if you have to believe for a long time. Hold onto your faith . . . even when God makes you wait.
He knows what He’s doing. And He is right by your side the entire time.
“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”-Deuternomoy 31:8 NLT
4 Ways God Answers Prayers
So, in what ways does God answer our prayers?
Well, there are 4 answers God often gives to our prayers.
Sometimes God Answers Prayers with a “Yes”.
Sometimes God answers our prayers with a “yes”. The timing is right. Our request lines up with His will for our life. And He knows it’s what’s best for us at this time.
“I thank you for answering my prayer and giving me victory!”-Psalm 118:21 NLT
Sometimes God Answers Prayers with a “No”.
A “yes” answer to our prayer is the one we always want to hear. A “no” answer is a little more difficult to bear.
But we must remember God is our Heavenly Father and He passionately loves us. So, His no is either a protection or a provision.
He is either protecting us from what He knows is not best for us. Or He is going to use it to provide us with something better.
If we’re honest, many of the times we complain about unanswered prayers are when we’ve been given an answer by God . . . but we don’t like His answer.
God answers prayers according to His will.
While we may not like it, “no” is still an answer.
It may be hard to hear God say “no” to our request. And it may be difficult to realize it’s not God’s will to answer our prayer the way we want Him to . . . but we must remember He is our good Father.
And a loving Father only says “no” when He knows it’s not what’s best for His beloved child.
In those moments when God says “no” to us, we can keep in mind He sees things we cannot see. And He knows things we cannot know.
And we can choose to trust that our Heavenly Father will give us the answer that is perfect for us at this time in our lives.
Even if that answer is “no”.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”-Jeremiah 29:11 NLT
Sometimes God Answers Prayers with a “Maybe”.
Sometimes God answers our prayers with a “maybe”. This happens when God wants to answer our prayers, but He knows we aren’t ready yet.
A maybe answer simply means God has some stuff He needs to work out in us first.
- Maybe there are some sins we need to confess. Or things we need to get rid of.
- Maybe we have some growing to do before we can handle what He wants to give us.
- Or maybe we simply need to learn how to live in complete surrender to Him. And to seek Him more fervently over everything.
When we get a “maybe” it’s time to get still before the Lord and ask Him what He wants us to do next. To ask Him to show us why He isn’t answering our prayers. And what He wants us to do about it.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”-Philippians 4:6 NIV
Sometimes God Answers Prayers with a “Wait”.
Sometimes God answers our prayers with the dreaded word . . . “wait”. He wants to answer our prayers, but it’s just not the right time.
This can be a rather frustrating response. Especially when you’re asking for something you really want. And our culture doesn’t really help this with its obsession with busyness and instant gratification.
In God’s waiting room, we’re reminded that we can only see what is right in front of us. While God sees every single moment of our lives simultaneously.
We just have to trust Him and lean on Him in the waiting.
Knowing He will answer our prayer in His perfect way. And in His perfect time.
“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”-Colossians 4:2 ESV
How do you know what God’s answer is?
So, how do you know what God’s answer to your prayer is?
While this list is not exhaustive, here are a few things to look for as you watch for an answer from God.
1) You hear it in multiple places.
Often when we hear something from God, He will confirm it through multiple avenues.
Perhaps we read something in the Bible. Then our pastor brings it up in a sermon. Then you’re talking with a friend, and they bring it up.
And then suddenly a song comes on the radio that is talking about . . . well, you know what.
“Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.”-1 Chronicles 16:11 NIV
2) It’s nothing you could’ve done on your own.
God often provides answers that leave little question as to who was really behind it all.
Because this brings Him the most glory.
We know God has answered our prayer when something happens in our lives that is so amazing that all we can say in response is, “Yep, that was totally God!”
3) You have a sense of peace.
When you hear an answer from God to your prayer you may feel an immense sense of peace. You just know in your heart that He has answered you.
Even if He’s answered with a “no” or a “wait” answer, His Holy Spirit can bring us comfort and an unexplainable sense of peace. (Phil. 4:7)
This helps us to know that even though He gave us an answer we didn’t want to hear . . . He is always near. He is the strength we need to get through everything. (Phil 4:13)
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”-Philippians 4:7 NIV
How Does God Answer Prayers?
God answers prayers in His perfect way. At His perfect time. According to His perfect plan.
He already knows everything. About everyone. Everywhere.
Which is pretty amazing.
So, no matter how He chooses to answer our prayers . . . we know His answer is the perfect answer.
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