Does God Really Answer Prayer?
Seekers and believers answer this question differently. There is great power in prayer and God’s power to answer prayers is unmatched and unchanging. A key difference between seekers and believers is the level of confidence that we bring forward with our prayer. We confidently ask for help when we believe help is available. There are times of desperation when we cry out for help whether we believe it’s available or not. There are also moments when we step out of our hiding place and expose ourselves to the Almighty moved by a glimmer of hope that perhaps, somehow, someway, it might be true. Can you remember a time when you wondered if there really was a great, awesome, and loving God who exists and answers prayer?
Even if our doubt about the existence of God is satisfied, our self-image and shame may stand in the way and demand we answer a second question: Could this all-knowing and all-powerful God love me? Put another way, what are the chances that God would even notice me and find me the least bit worthy of care?
Getting caught up in Christ impacts how we experience the world and how the world experiences us. It changes our relationship with people, ideas, God, and Jesus Christ, Himself. It also impacts the level of confidence with which we approach the throne of God in prayer. Getting caught up in Christ not only increases our confidence but also clarifies our understanding about how God answers prayer. When we pray, God gives us one of three answers: yes, no, or hold on for something better.
It’s important to understand these different outcomes. Without this understanding, we’re at risk of bad thinking. “If God really loved me, He would give me everything I ask for.” “God could never love me after everything I’ve done.” Without a truth-grounded understanding of how God answers prayer, we are likely to get frustrated, discouraged, angry, resentful, full of doubts, and maybe even give up to total disbelief. If this happens, we will most likely drift away from God and prayer will be uttered no more.
Getting caught up in Christ helps us develop a more accurate understanding of who we are and who God is, who Jesus is, why He came, and how He continues His ministry through the power of the Holy Spirit. Here is a metaphor I hope will help us capture a fuller understanding of prayer as part of a personal relationship with Christ.
In the skies over head, airline pilots are in communication with air-traffic controllers. Pilots count on them to know the final destination of the aircraft but also to know about any obstacles that lie in its path. There are times when dangers are such that pilots are directed to change flight paths. How much sense would it make for pilots to second-guess these directions or even turn off the radio all together? The input controllers provide to pilots is not criticism but points of correction. They have a perspective the pilots do not have access to. God loves us and has a perspective that we do not have access to. Reading Holy Scripture, studying God’s word, and listening for inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit provides us God’s perspective by which we can adjust our flight plan and make in-flight corrections, when needed.
My book, Caught Up in Christ, provides spiritual first aid and helps you think critically about what lies at the heart of your spirituality, your current relationship with Christ and the role that active prayer plays in the life of a believer. I invite you to join us as we get caught up in Christ!