When we express the desires of our heart in prayer they do not fall on deaf ears. Yet, sometimes when we don’t get a quick response, or exactly what we desire, we huff and puff and say God isn’t listening. God sees the full picture even when we only see a small piece of the puzzle. We just have to keep the faith that God knows what’s best. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get an answer right away. Keep on asking until God answers, and when He does answer, pray that God prepares your heart so you can accept the outcome.
God answers our prayers in these 3 ways.
1. You are going to keep your trial
A. Thorn in the flesh (2 Cor. 12:7-10)
Paul prayed to remove his “thorn in the flesh” 3 times, Gods answer was “My grace is sufficient for you, My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Whatever this trial was that Paul struggled with, God decided to have him keep it, forcing him to stay humbled and dependent on God for his day to day journey.
Paul’s response: Delight
Although God did not answer Paul how he desired, Paul delighted in hearing from God, and boasted about the trials he once prayed to be removed.
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
2. I am going to grant you the desires of your heart
B. Jacob wrestles with God. (Gen. 32:23-34)
Brothers battling for the same goal, the blessings bestowed to the firstborn. Jacob was born second, yet through some conniving and trickery, Jacob stole Esau’s blessing. Clouded with the realization of an undeserved blessing, all Jacob desired was the acceptance and forgiveness of the brother he deceived.
Jacob begged and pleaded with God all night that He would grant him acceptance and forgiveness from his brother. God decided to grant him the desires of his heart. God has the capability to answer our prayers (Luke 18:27). So we can ask Him for anything and continue to ask until He answers. What an awesome feeling when His answer is yes!
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
Jacob’s response: A memorial
Jacob set up an altar called Peniel, meaning God’s face, as a reminder that he saw God face to face, and yet his life was spared.
3. I Love you, but no
C. David prays for his child (2 Sam 12)
King David stayed back from war. As he was on a roof top, he looked down and saw a maiden bathing. He took delight in her and sought after her. Although she was married, he continued to pursue her. As this familiar story goes, Bathsheba conceived. David tried to cover up his affair through deceit, and when that didn’t work he killed his faithful soldier Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband. Fast forward now to after the child was born.
The child eventually got sick. David fasted and prayed for his infant for 7 days, yet God did not heal the baby.
David’s response: Worship
David went into the house of the Lord and worshiped God. Even though God did not answer David how he desired he still worshiped God. To come to the place of realization that God doesn’t have to always answer our prayers how we desire is a beautiful thing. God is still deserving of our praise, whether or not He says yes to our requests.
These three prayers and scenarios will not happen exactly the same every time. Only God knows why He decides to be gracious in one situation and not in another.
I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.
Until God answers, continue praying. Pray to the God who hears, and can do something about it. But when God answers, we should be willing to accept His response, and be thankful, even if it isn’t the desire of our heart; because God’s ways are higher than our ways, and there is a purpose and a plan for His response even if we don’t see it right away.
Pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:17-18
Photo credit: by Unsplash.com