When God Answers Prayer

Elisabeth and jim ElliotRecently on an atheist’s site, I think, or in the comments of another blog I follow, critics of Christianity—well, really, of God—brought up the idea that it is silly for Christians here in America to believe that God answers our every little insignificant prayer, especially in light of the fact that other Christians are in jail and have been beheaded or have had to flee their homes.

I understand that thinking, but in fact, it paralyzes the Christian so that we think we ought not pray for things. Because, the truth is, my needs are not as great as those in Indochina or in the Middle East or in Western Africa who are suffering for their faith.

But whose needs are “big enough” or “important enough” for God to hear and answer? I mean, is it only the Christian like Jim Elliot who is facing death that gets to cry out to Him? Or is it OK to pray if a friend or relative is facing death? Maybe we shouldn’t even bother about those things because what really matters is a person’s spiritual condition and eternal destiny. Maybe those are the only prayers that are “big enough.”

I think this is rather silly. God hearing our cry for help has nothing to do with the size of our problem but everything to do with Him being a loving God. He hears us and gives to us in our need because He’s delighted to provide for His children.

Do human parents only listen to their children if they’re bleeding and need to be rushed to the hospital? Hardly! They hear their child when she says, “Daddy, watch me!” Or, “Mommy, look what I can do.” Why? Because the child is so advanced, so capable? Not at all. They listen and respond because they love their son or their daughter.

God’s the same way.

But of course the critics will come back and say, So, your God doesn’t love those who are running for their lives in the Middle East?

That’s a wicked charge. God loves them and walks with them through the floods and through the fire. He’s with us in the valley of the shadow of death. Because he doesn’t swoop us away from the trials and suffering of this life doesn’t mean He’s abandoned us.

Corrie ten Boom and her sister Betsy may have seen God’s hand more clearly and felt His presence more unquestionably in the German concentration camp than they ever did in the comfort of their home in Holland.

Peter says those who suffer are blessed because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on them.

If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. (1 Peter 4:14)

Here in the US we have believers who have faced cancer and died, even as they praised God because His presence gave them comfort and peace. We have other believers who have faced cancer and lived, even as they praise God for His healing and sustaining power in their lives.

Are these Christians merely deluded, thinking that God is good no matter what the outcome? Well, not deluded. Actually Christians who see and understand and know that God does in fact keep His promise to work all things for the good of conforming us to the image of His Son, are able to see His hand at work in the trials as well as the joys.

God and sufferingThis little quote has been making the rounds on Facebook, and I think it’s one of the truest expressions of faith in God. We who know Him recognize that He’s not Santa Claus or Grandpa. And yet, He loves us, so we can ask for things that might seem trivial to other people.

To God they aren’t too insignificant to pay attention to because He loves us. What concerns us is of importance to Him.

Unless, of course, what concerns us is something we want to use selfishly or for our own aggrandizement at the expense of others. He’s not going to hear and answer prayer that takes us further from Him or is bad for us spiritually or will harm others.

The point is, God is good and not too busy for even a child’s request or an adult’s plea for something that may seem minor to others. If we’re being selfish, He’ll show us that in His time. And if what we ask for is something He’s going to say no to, He’ll still walk with us through the hardship. Because He doesn’t remove obstacles but helps us over them does not diminish His greatness or His goodness one iota.

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Published in: on August 3, 2015 at 6:20 pm  Comments (5)  
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5 Comments

  1. “God hearing our cry for help has nothing to do with the size of our problem but everything to do with Him being a loving God.”

    Amen to that! God is good all of the time.

    The older I get the more I question our ability to even understand the nature of suffering. Certainly there are people in the world going hungry, facing atrocities, but than again there are people with great wealth, fame, comfort, like Robin Williams and Whitney Houston, so tormented they eventually killed themselves. I myself have often realized some of the worst things I’ve experienced have actually turned out to be the best. We don’t always know what is in people’s hearts or how events are going to turn out.

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  2. Wonderful post here! I have to be honest. America has so much and that wealthy 1% seemingly never need anything and for the rest of us living paycheck to paycheck, I would rather our cries be heard over the wealthy few.

    But when I think like this, I feel bad because everyone has needs and problems and I must repent of these thoughts. Millionaires have unique problems too and many of them have mental issues and I pray for them as well.

    The bottom line is that we are all God’s children and prayer is universal for everyone. It is a powerful connector to our Creator. -Erica

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  3. I am reminded of this Don Moen’s song: “He never sleeps, He never slumbers, He never tires of hearing our prayers. When we are weak, He becomes stronger, so rest in His Love and Cast all of your cares on Him”. God is our father and i know he delights in hearing his children talk to him…Prayer is not just sending requests to God…its talking, chatting with our heavenly father. Prayer is so much more and i am learning everyday.

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  4. Loved this post! Thanks 🙂

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  5. Love this! It reminds me of Matthew 7:11…if our parents are good to us and they are sinners….how much better is our perfect God going to be to us! And he does answer little prayers. I have a friend that calls them God winks because He is winking at us saying, “I got you child.” For example, The other day I was headed to see my roommate in college. I had straightened my hair (which I hardly ever do), and I had on leather pants. I did not bring a rain jacket or umbrella because it was sunny when I left my house. However, it was a 5 hour drive, and it began to get dark. I know Guys probably don’t understand this, but rain does not go good with leather pants or straightened hair. So I prayed and asked God to please let there be a dollar general somewhere close so I could grab an umbrella for a buck before it started raining. I then pulled out my phone and asked siri where the nearest dollar general was. She said there is not one close to you. The nearest one is 50 miles away. This made me sad, BUT as soon as I looked up from my phone, I saw a dollar general with a huge sign that said GRAND OPENING JUNE 26 (It was June 28, which means it was open). I ran in and grabbed me an umbrella. It was a small prayer, but God saved the day…and my hair and pants. GLORY TO GOD!

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