God gives us encouragement that all our prayers are heard. He tells us that with every prayer we send up, an answer comes down. We are given one of three answers; Go, No, or I’ll let you know. Within these three answers, there is a varying level of action that needs to take place. But to get to the point of receiving an answer, we must examine our prayer and determine our motives behind each of them.
When our prayers contain any of these three elements, they can never be answered the way God intended them to be answered.
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When There is no Follow Through
When we pray, we are putting God in the driver seat. We surrender ourselves and allow him to act in the situation, according to His will. Sometimes we can sit back and watch His hand move and be amazed at the miraculous power of prayer. Other times, we look at a situation and nothing happens. We pray more, still the water is not disturbed. We pray even more and sometimes get upset with God and ask Him why He isn’t doing anything. All the while, God is the one waiting; for us.
For instance. Maybe you are dissatisfied with your job. You pray to God for a new job; a new opportunity that will get you out of the frustration and rut you find yourself in with your current vocation. You wait, but no new job comes your way. You pray more, still nothing. Your frustration grows, and you become angry at God. But, how many job applications did you submit to other places of employment? How many job fairs did you attend? How many inquiries did you make to find another job? If the answer is zero, then God is not the problem, you are.
Prayer sometimes will require action on our part for the answer to come. The same goes for mending relationships. Sometimes we need to be the one to humble ourselves and act by approaching the other person. This is also applicable to asking God for patience or endurance. Heh, you know that when you pray for patience, you are not going to be given patience. You will be given opportunities to display patience. You will be put into positions that require endurance. We are the ones who need to choose to endure. We are the ones who need to choose to be patient.
When it is Half-hearted
This can show up in two forms. When we just don’t feel like praying, or when we have already determined that we don’t really want an answer for one reason or another.
When we don’t feel like praying, we throw words up in the air hoping they will fall somewhere near the feet of the Lord. There is no heart behind it. Token prayers are no prayers at all. One of the most popular token prayers is the prayer before a meal. We are so “Christian-minded” that we feel the need to pray but so hungry that we want to get through it as quickly as possible. So, we mumble something and even before the Amen, our mouth is full of food. I am guilty of this one. I do it all the time. And while this example is a little silly, there are many more where it becomes a bit more serious. Yes, God hears all prayers, half-hearted or not, but don’t you think that the God of all creation deserves more respect than a token prayer?
Another area where we can lack respect for prayer is when we are afraid of the answer. Better yet, knowing the answer is going to be the opposite of what we want it to be. We may give a well-worded prayer, but our heart is not in it because we have determined what we are going to do already. We do not wait for the yes, no, or maybe so. We just act; more often than not to our inevitable failure. Then what happens… Ya, we get upset with God for not helping us in our need. That takes us into the final element of not enough.
When it is Selfish
This goes back to the difference between our needs and wants. God has promised to provide all that we need in this life. He does not promise to give us all our wants. Again, He is not a genie-God. He does not live in a lamp to satisfy each one of our whims. Just because we may be Christian, does not give us permission to ask for, take, or require blessings to be bestowed upon us.
Remember, when we pray always ask one vital question; Who gets the glory if our prayer is answered? That is the end all of test questions when we are evaluating our requests of the Lord. If God is not the final answer, then our motives need to be examined as to why we are praying for this.
Prayer is the answer to any issue that arises in our lives. Are you struggling? -Pray about it. — Do you need guidance? -Ask the Lord for direction. — Are you looking for answers? -Seek God for the resolution. Any and every situation you and I face, good or bad, can be taken to the Lord in prayer. Whether we are praying for an answer or praying to glorify Him for the answer, our knees is the best place to be. His comforting arms are waiting for us. To hold us in comfort or in celebration.
When you do pray, seek him wholeheartedly without an iota of selfishness. Always consider what His desire is for your life and accept the answer regardless of its popularity. Then be ready to act if needed. God desires the best for you, when you allow laziness, pride, and selfishness rule your prayer life, you miss out. Don’t let stubbornness be the reason a blessing passes you up.