Have you ever had the experience of your prayers being unexpectedly answered? Having my prayers answered is an incredible feeling in which my faith is affirmed in such a tangible way. Whether it’s immediate answer, long-awaited answer, or a different answer than I expected all together, God truly does answer prayer.
Patterns of prayer
Here’s a pattern that I have seen occur in my life in the recent past:
- Something urgent will enter my prayer life
- I’ll fervently pray about it for a few weeks or months
- The urgency of the prayer request will fade with time
- (Sometimes) I forget about the prayer request altogether
- All of a sudden, when I’m least thinking about it, something unexpected will happen and I’ll be reminded of that now-answered prayer request.
- (Without fail) I’m convicted about my prayer life…
After realizing that my prayers have just been answered and I’m sitting in the presence of our God who really does listen and act, I am convicted by the same question every time:
What if I lived my life expecting God to answer prayer?
Promises about prayer
1 John 5:14-15, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”
This is just one of many examples from scripture illustrating God’s desire to answer our prayers and His faithfulness in doing so as well. Obviously, God isn’t a magic genie in a lamp that we can rub whenever we want him to grant our wishes. But, He is a Loving Father who desires to have a relationship with His children and who wants us to communicate our hearts with Him.
Fear prevents true prayer
I think that, for the most part, my lackluster prayer life stems from fear: fear that God won’t answer my prayers. I’m scared of truly believing He will do something and then, if He doesn’t, having my faith dashed upon the rocks.
But that’s not how we ought to pray.
Lately, I’ve been convicted that praying with the expectation of answer doesn’t mean expecting that God is going to do exactly what you want Him to. Rather, praying with expectation means believing that God is going to bring goodness and growth out of whatever situation you find yourself in—whether it’s the exact outcome you’re hoping for or not. It doesn’t mean that it will be quick or easy or seem like a good thing at first, but the only way to be confident in our prayer lives is to trust that God is good, that He loves us, and that His will is ultimately going to be accomplished.
During this holiday season, I’m sure that we all have many heavy prayer requests on our hearts. The next time you bring your requests before God, have the confidence to believe that He will answer and that He will move, because He loves you and He is in control.