Does God really answer our prayers? Yes. No. Wait.
I have had these answers during the whole of my Christian life. But yes, he does answer prayer. He always answers the prayers of those that are his.
The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry. Psalm 34:15
He answers our prayers in the way that will ultimately be good for us; as God’s ultimate aim is to conform us to the image of his Son. Conforming us to the image of his Son is never not a part of our ongoing sanctification. God always answers our prayers according to the purposes of his will, and for his glory.
There have been times when the answers to my prayers have been Yes, like when I prayed that I would get the position for which I just interviewed. Then there have been times when the answer has been No, when I did not get the position. The noes are definite closed doors; and it is at that point, there is no need to continue to pray on that particular issue. However, sometimes the answer has been Wait; and I still wait.
Believers can be assured that he will answer our prayers, every single prayer.
For all the promises of God find there Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory of God. II Corinthians 1:20 ESV
And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us; 15 And if we know that he hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions desired of him. I John 5:14, 15 KJV
The Bible is replete with so many examples of each, and I would like to cite at least one of each.
God had observed the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah, and was determined to destroy the city, but Abraham interceded in the book of Genesis 18:23-32. Abraham was afraid that God would destroy the righteous along with the wicked, so he asked God if there were found 50 righteous people, would he spare the city for the 50. God said that he would not destroy the city for the sake of the righteous.
Abraham went from forty, all the way down to ten, and God agreed not to destroy the city for the sake of ten righteous people. However, because ten could not be found, God warned Lot, Abraham’s nephew through the angels to get out of the city because he would destroy it. Lot tells his son-in-laws who married his daughters that they had to leave. But they took him lightly, and Lot was not moving fast enough, so the angels laid hold of Lot, his wife, and two daughters and set them outside of the city. Only four made it out of the city.
In this account, the answer was yes, but the condition for that prayer was not met.
Hannah was married to Elkanah, who also had a second wife. (Permitted in those days.) His second wife had children and would taunt Hannah because she had none. Hannah prayed, and prayed. Hannah prayed to have a baby boy.(She was specific.) She even promised God that she would give him back to Lord for service.
The priest Eli observed Hannah praying, thinking she was intoxicated. When she shared that she was praying out of the abundance of her complaint and grief, Eli advised her to go in peace, and that God has answered her petition.
And they rose up in the morning early, and worshiped before the LORD, and returned, and came to their house at Ramah; and Elkanah knew Hannah, his wife, and the LORD remembered her. 20 Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bore a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the LORD. I Samuel 1:19,20
These are just a couple of examples of God answering prayers with yes. It warms my heart that God cares about the cares of our heart.
The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me. Psalm 138:8a
David, after having sinned against the LORD with Bathsheba, repented. Nathan the prophet, let him know that LORD has forgiven him, but the son he had with Bathsheba would die. So, the LORD struck the child with sickness.
David prayed and fasted with the hopes that God would not take his son. However, on the seventh day, his son died. Although, he exhausted much prayer, the answer was no.
But the beautiful thing in this prayer account is David’s response, as to why pray so hard and then upon learning his son died, he got up and ate:
And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live? II Samuel 12:22 KJV
What hope this gives to us to pray? We can always, and should always lay out our requests before God. God will answer according to his will. Here, David had to suffer the consequence of his sin, although, he was forgiven.
Joseph was hated by his brothers, and favored by his father. Joseph had the gift to interpret dreams. He had been thrown into prison after being falsely accused of raping his master, Potiphar’s wife. Potiphar had earlier made him overseer over all he had. While in prison, Joseph is given responsibility for all the prisoners. Two new prisoners were put in his charge, a baker and a butler.
Both had dreams, and Joseph inquired of them why they seemed to be down. They each stated that they had a dream and did not know what the dreams meant. Joseph interprets their dreams, the butler would be restored, and the baker would be hanged. Joseph made his prayer known that the butler would remember his kindness when he is restored in the three days.
The baker is hanged, and the butler is restored, but he does not remember Joseph for two years. He only remembered Joseph when the Pharaoh had a dream two years later, and needed interpretation. So, Joseph had to wait two years before he was released from prison. But God had a purpose. His ultimate purpose was to save his family from the famine by exalting Joseph as governor. This account can be found in Genesis 37, 39 -50.
Waiting on God is never easy. I used to pray some of David’s prayers early in my Christian life.
Hear me speedily, O LORD; my spirit faileth. Hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit. Psalm 143:7 KJV
That really used to be my prayer in those “it has to be right now” moments, but I have since learned through his grace, that he knows what’s best for me. I’ve learned that like in Joseph’s case, he will work out my situation for my good. God has perfect timing. His timing accomplishes something in me as I learn to wait, and I believe working out something in the situation or individual that will bring about his purposes.
These are just some prayer accounts from the Bible. I’m sure that you have your record of answered prayers. I have my record of answered prayers too. Yes, I have had many answered prayers; many yeses, many noes, and some waits. There are some prayers that I have been praying for more than 15 years. I haven’t received a NO; so I keep praying. I don’t give up.
Men ought always pray. Don’t give up.
Does God answer prayer? Yes, he does answer the prayers of every believer when we align our wills to his.