God Answers Prayers!

Have you ever prayed repeatedly to God about a matter dear to your heart; something over which you suffered much anxiety for a prolonged period of time until you made a decision about it? Such is the case with any matter that immensely impacts your life. Perhaps it is entering a marital relationship, a move to a different locality, or a job change. The uncertainty causes this anxiety, stress, and fear. We want it, but we want it to be a “good” want, not a selfish desire. So we “take it to the Lord in prayer.”

How will God answer our prayer? Consider a parallel example. One may earnestly desire and pray about a job. God may grant that request in that an offer for employment with that company may forth come. But does the prayer make you an employee of that company? Do you begin to receive any benefits from that company, any compensation? While I may possess many of the requirements for that job (CDL license, drive a standard shift), I could not drive their vehicle until I was hired by the company. M y prayer did not entitle me to drive their vehicle, or to any other company benefits. There is a hiring process to go through. Once hired, you are accountable, and compensated, per the company.

The answer to the prayer involves God and you. You must accept the offer. You must meet any requirements beforehand (i.e., obtain a CDL). Are you an employee before or after you meet the requirements? Understanding how the answer came explains when the answer came. God answers prayer, but there is a process.

Similarly, one who desires to be a child of Go may pray fervently for it and God may grant that prayer, but the prayer for a relationship does not put you in that relationship any more than it would make you an employee of a company. There is a process by which God answers prayer. 

A blind man, healed by Jesus, recognized that Jesus could not have healed him unless it was doing the will of God. The reason? “God hearth not sinners” (John 9.31). Jesus was a worshiper of God, and was doing God’s will, thus God “heard” him.

Prayer is essential to the salvation of those lost in sin. “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2.1-4).

A lost person may pray fervently about his sins, but the process involves learning God’s will for him or her, and doing it. God provides circumstances whereby the petitioner can respond. A sinner must have something in which to believe or trust…What will that be? It is God’s Word (Romans 10.17). How will man respond if he has faith in God’s word? He will do as God spoke. 

Cornelius (Acts 10) and Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9; 22; 26) were two honest, sincere men who prayed fervently, and who lived with good consciences prior to learning of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. However, the prayer of both men did not put them into Christ. They were given instructions and had to comply as instructed in regard to entering into fellowship with Christ. Once they obeyed the commands given them, they were in a covenant relationship with the Lord. Their salvation rests not on the prayer, bu tin their faith and obedience to the God who offered his Son for their sins. In this way, God answers prayer!

Notice from 1 Timothy 2.1-4 who was to pray, who was to be prayed for, and why. The reason for prayers on behalf of those in authority was so that God’s people might “lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” God’s people are the “we.” These prayers are “good and acceptable” because God desires all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of truth. In this way, prayer is essential to salvation. Those in need of salvation need prayers! Even those in need of salvation, upon recognizing their need, with pray. Realizing their lost condition, they too may suffer from anxiety, stress, and fear until they make their decision to receive God’s pardoning. However, it is important that we understand how God answers prayers for those in need of salvation. 

Every example of conversion to Jesus in the New Testament parallels this pattern.

The conversion of the 3,000 (Acts 2), the Samaritans and the eunuch (Acts 8), Lydia and the jailer (Acts 16), and the Corinthians (Acts 18) were identical. They were all lost in sin, they learned of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, and accepted the terms of forgiveness offered by God in Christ (Matthew 28.19-20; Mark 16.16; Luke 24.47; John 17.8). After they accepted these terms, they were forgiven of their sins. This exact point at which they entered into a relationship with Christ can be identified, for it was determined as Jesus taught the twelve.

God’s answer to any prayer for salvation is in a risen Savior who grants us repentance and forgiveness of sins according to his word (Acts 5.31). Let us worship and do his will.