Have you met Jim Geyer? Jim is one of my pastor’s at my Church. Let’s show Jim our appreciation in the comments today. Have you ever wondered if God is hearing you when you pray? You think, well if He is listening why isn’t He answering?
Three Examples of God’s Answers to Prayers
by Jim Geyer
Here is how the conversation went…
“I am here to pick up an order for Allyson, please.”
“What did you order?”
“A large pizza.”
“Huuummm, I don’t see an order for Allyson…”
“Called in about 20 minutes ago.”
“Huuummm, still don’t see it. We have a large pizza here that was called in about 20 minutes ago, but it is for “Elephant”…”
After a brief pause, and much shaking of the head…”Uh, yeah, that is probably it…and the name is Allyson!”
Ever feel like when you pray God just doesn’t seem to hear you, or that somehow He has your “order” mixed up with someone else’s petition?
Prayer is conversation – a simple conversation between the children of God and their Father. Click To Tweet
Not unlike the conversations that are a part of our everyday lives, yet with someone who we cannot see and who doesn’t answer us audibly when we ask something of Him.
Yet, we sometimes confuse the nature of purpose of prayer. The only thing that the disciples ask of Christ to teach them was how to pray. So, He did. And we will return to that in a moment.
So what happens when we converse with God, and yet, despite all of our best of intentions and pleadings, He just doesn’t seem to answer? I mean, He asks us to ask Him (Phil 4:6-7), so why so distant?
Unlike our world, when people sometimes roll us over into their voicemail, ignore our texts, don’t favorite our Tweet or like our Facebook status, God always answers prayer, always. And He does so in three simple, yet much misunderstood ways; yes, no or silence. Wait, whoa, stop. You just said that He always answers prayer and then said that one of the ways ways He answers is to say nothing.
Let me give you three examples from scripture where this is played out in the real lives of real people with real requests of God just like you and me, and I think that you will see that these are truly ways in which God responds.
First, one of the best example of a God-given “yes” to prayer can be found in Joshua 10:13 when Israel was getting kicked by their enemies in battle and they needed a little more time, time they didn’t have due to the approaching darkness. So Joshua asked that the impossible be done, that the sun be made to stand still so that they could complete the battle with the extra daylight needed. God answered with a “yes” and the verse says “so the sun stood still and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies…”. Done. Israel won. A “yes”. Our Daddy sometimes very clearly says “yes”.
Sometimes, though, He is silent. Deafeningly silent. Job experience this. In the midst of all that he suffered (see Job, the whole book!), Job asked God many things. He pleaded with God for relief from all that was happening, yet God remained mysteriously silent. We read in Job 34:29 that Job actually acknowledges God’s silence toward him when he says “But if remains silent, who can condemn him? If he hides his face, who can see him?”
God answered Job, He answered with silence. Silence is usually God’s way of saying to us “”wait”. Click To Tweet
He is saying “in my timing and in my way, I will show you a yes or maybe even a no, but now is not the time. Now the time is for you to wait, and you may not hear from me immediately”. In the end, Job did get an answer, and boy, was it ever a resounding “yes”! But, first Job had to experience the wait; the silence. Sometimes He wants us to experience Psalm 46:10: be still.
The toughest answer to hear from God are the “no’s”. The yes’s are so easy. The waiting is inconvenient, but, oh, the no’s…sometimes unbearable in our hearts and minds. The answer to heal the loved one that was a “no”. The answer to the desired job was a “no”. The answer to return a wayward child is a “no”. Those are tough. And God knows that they are tough. That is why He answered His very own son with a resounding “no”.
When? In the garden. In the midst of tears and sweating of great drops of blood when the Son of God pleaded with His Daddy to “take this cup from me”. That bitter forthcoming cup of death.
And Jesus didn’t ask just once, He asked, went back to wake up His sleeping disciples (who were also supposed to be praying, but that is another story!), and then returned to the garden a second time to ask again that the Father spare the cross (Mark 14:32-40).
We all know the answer..it was a resounding, world-changing “no”. And aren’t we all glad it was? At the time, Christ wanted a “yes”, and if we were around, we would have all certainly asked for a yes on his behalf! But, now, oh, the joy that the “no” of the Father brought.
I told you we would get back to the request of the disciples that Jesus teach them to pray. When He taught them, the key to the entire prayer comes at the end: “Your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven”. Period. If we truly want what God wants, we will welcome not only the “yeses”, but we will embrace the silent, waiting, times and welcome the “no’s” knowing that His will has been done.
Oh, yeah, and in the garden when Christ asked for a “yes”, yet got a “no”? Note the conclusion to his prayer:
“Yet not what I want, but what you will”.
May that be our assurance that God answers prayer, and may that be our posture as we approach Him!
About Jim Geyer:
Jim has been in ministry for seventeen years, and for the last three years he has been the Campus Pastor at Summit Church in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Jim has been married for 31 years to Allyson and they have two children, Jordan and Reagan. You can contact Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org
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