Every person of faith calls on the name of the Lord for every kind of reason- because He said we could! (“…in everything, by prayer and supplication with gratitude, make your requests known to God,”) Paul wrote. (Phil. 4:6) He said He would answer- and He does! “When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.” (Psalm 91:15) But one of the hardest things about prayer is that we don’t always get the answers we want, or they don’t come in the manner in which we were hoping. And then? We struggle in our faith and wonder if God really does answer prayer, or we wonder if He heard us, or cares or even if He said “no”.
Here’s the thing: The only expectation that we should have when we come into prayer is that God will answer, not with an expectation of how. Another issue we all face is that when we have a need, we tend to look outside of ourselves instead of within, and we miss the answer entirely! Why? Because sometimes getting answers to prayer means being willing to look at yourself, first. Have you ever thought that, perhaps, God’s answer to the situation you’re praying about might be you?
Getting Answers to Prayer – From Within Yourself
God hears and answers prayers, of course– but sometimes the answer or solution you’re looking for is you. What does that mean? He sees, (Gen. 16:13) and He knows (Luke 12:7) and He understands (Heb. 4:15-16) and He knows that there is something you need to learn and that there is something another person needs to learn through you. You are the answer to the prayer that Jesus prayed in Matthew 6:10 when He said, “Your kingdom come; Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven…” Everywhere you set your foot on earth, you are not just a “representative” of the Kingdom, you are the Kingdom— you carry the Spirit of the Living God within you! His Kingdom advances through you, not “answers”, through your prayers, your actions, your commitment, your love. Here are some example in which the answer to the prayers you prayed might be within you, not outside of you:
- We cry out to the Lord for rescue from an awful work situation, but we don’t see quitting out jobs as an option
- We cry out to Him to change someone who is oppressive or ignorant, but we don’t ask the Lord to change us, instead of them.
- We cry out to the Lord about our finances, but we won’t deny our desires or stop spending or even lending.
- We cry out to God for direction or wisdom, but we don’t devote ourselves to seeking Him in His Word or setting aside intentional, daily time to spend in worship.
- We cry out to God about a mess in our marriage, but we won’t stop criticizing or watching sexually-charged movies, or we won’t temper our mouths or we withhold ourselves emotionally.
- We cry out to the Lord for our sinful children, but condemn and judge them “for Christ” and forget to lead with His love.
- We ask the Lord for miracles, but cannot ask our brother for forgiveness, or humble ourselves after a fight with someone and seek to create peace, even when we are not at fault.
The only expectation that we should have when we come into prayer is that God will answer, not with an expectation of how.~Alicia Purdy
When you pray, be open to the idea that the strategy for victory in your battle might be you! Don’t question it. Don’t qualify it. Don’t try to peer into the future to guess what might happen. Just obey if the Lord prompts your spirit to act as part of your own answer to prayer or the solution to your problem. No, it probably won’t be easy to humble yourself and reach out to the person who has hurt you or even sinned against you and extend mercy, forgiveness or an olive branch, but if the Lord wants to use you as the answer, it means He’s going to use you for the miracle too! Getting answers to prayer isn’t overcoming reluctance in God! He wants to answer your prayer, He promised He would- and maybe He already has! Are you willing to look for the answer within yourself, first?
Thought for today: Answers to Prayer Are God’s Desires
Some of the most powerful things worship brings to the life of the believer are peace and release. Why? Because those are some of the many residual effects of being in the presence of God. David refused to wear Saul’s armor when he had to face Goliath because he knew that you cannot borrow the armor or the faith of another person. Your relationship with the Lord is yours alone and it should be built upon the most raw, honest version of who you are- and a willingness to let Him make adjustments as needed. That is the secret key to getting answers to prayer!
Worship is exclusively God-centered- and that, in and of itself, often causes people to stumble upon it. because being God-centered means that we have to be willing to release control of ourselves to Him. James wrote, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend on your pleasures.” (James 4:3) What that means is this: It’s easy to ask God to make things happen, or to make them go away for “your pleasures” – or to make things easier for you, but it’s hard to ask the Lord to show you how you can help in a situation that you really struggle with in your life. If you’re not getting answers to prayer, one real possibility may be that you’ve been expecting something God may not plan to give- because He put the answer within you!. If you’re not first placing yourself before Him, willing to be an active part of your own miracle, you might miss the answer!
Explore More About Your Role in the Breakthrough God Has for You
- “Are You that Mountain?”
- “The Secret Place and the Hidden Power of Praise”
- LIVE Devotion: “Real People, REAL Worship!”