Did you ever feel like your prayers never went any “further than the ceiling?” Does it sometimes “feel” like you are just not getting through to God?
Everyone has felt that way at one time or another. Even David and he was referred to as “a man after God’s own heart.” Psalms is full of times like this for David. Here are a few examples:
Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When You said, “Seek My face,” My heart said to You, “Your face, LORD, I will seek.” Do not hide Your face from me; Do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; Do not leave me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation.
Psalms 28: 1-2
To You I will cry, O LORD my Rock: Do not be silent to me, Lest, if You are silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit.
Psalm 39: 12
“Hear my prayer, O LORD, And give ear to my cry; Do not be silent at my tears; For I am a stranger with You, A sojourner, as all my fathers were.
We all have had the same “feeling” …but the word also promises us:
1 John 5:14 -15
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
No prayers are skipped over or ignored. He hears them all and all are answered. What we must remember is the answer is not always yes. Sometimes we think because we didn’t get what we wanted, we didn’t get an answer. Not true. Sometimes the answer is no or not right now.
Answers sometimes come quickly and, at other times, seem to take forever!
God is not the phone company or a business. He has no message that says “Your call will be answered in the order it was received.” He answers your prayers according to His priorities. He has not forgotten, ignored, or thrown away any prayer you have ever prayed.
It is not easy to wait on the answers to things we feel are so needful. When we don’t get what we want we tend to feel personally rejected. We think He doesn’t love us.
Compare these issues as a father (or mother) dealing with the pleading of their children. They think they need something so much, or they just want it so bad! When we tell them no (for whatever reason we have) their first response is that we don’t love them. If this is not what is best for them, no amount of pleading is going to (or should) change our mind. They may not understand at the time, but someday they will.
We need to apply the same understanding toward the Lord concerning our answers to prayer. He does know what’s best for us. His love for us is always the same whether the answer is “yes”, “no,” or “wait, I have a better plan.”
He does not always give “yes” answers, but He always gives “right” answers.
Did you ever have a time when you heart was so disturbed within you that you just could not seem to gather up the strength to pray? Have you ever felt that you have prayed so many times over something, in every way, and used all the formulas you could come up with, and you have no more ways of wording it? I have. There were times when I was sick of the sound of my own voice, and I thought surely God was too. He wasn’t, but I felt like He must be. I needed so badly to know that He had heard me.
One day while I was studying some reference material for a book I hope to write someday, I ran across a quotation from a book by James Durham. He was a man known for his insight into the word of God and his overwhelming commitment to live his life consumed by his relationship with God. The quotation was:
“Few words may be an effectual prayer to Christ; a breathing or a sigh will not be rejected where there is sincerity.”
What does that mean? You don’t need long “wordy” prayers. It’s not the “rightness” of your words that God responds to but the “realness” of your heart.
I was in a particularly rough situation where I had to live with some people for a while… I had four children at the time and it was especially rough for them. The conditions were hard and there seemed to be continuous confrontation between all of us living there.
It became so stressful that for two years all that I could pray was, “Lord, help them; help me; help us!” That’s all I could say! I knew the Lord expected me to pray and, quite honestly, I was afraid not to. I just didn’t know what to say anymore.
Believe it or not God answered that prayer! When all the situations were resolved I went before the Lord and asked Him,
“Lord, how could you have answered a prayer like that. I couldn’t even find the right words.”
Do you know what He said?
“I heard your heart cry out.”
Isn’t that amazing? What a wonderful God we have. How great is His love toward us and His understanding of us.
When the word tells us to “pray without ceasing,” it does not mean that we must pray every minute of our lives. (That would be great if you could do it but I don’t think any of us are there yet.) What it means is to never give up praying, or never give up on prayer. Don’t ever decide it’s not necessary, or it’s not working, or that God doesn’t hear you.
Take your situations and needs to the Lord in prayer. Do not make demands…ask. He is faithful. He, who knows your past and sees your future, has a wonderful plan for your life.
He doesn’t promise that you will never go through anything unpleasant. He only promises that He will go through it with you. Prayer makes it easier. He is always ready to listen. Just talk to Him. He knows you, understands you, and loves you more than anyone else can.
May God bless you as you grow in your knowledge of Him. And, remember, the Word says “draw nigh unto Him…and He will draw nigh unto you.” That is one of the greatest benefits of prayer! Relationship!