Sunday, July 14, 2013

Finding & Understanding Answers to Prayer

Finding & Understanding Answers to Prayer

Recently we have been talking about Prayer:  "The Ultimate Spiritual Weapon" (click HERE to view) where we learned about the full armor of God and "By Prayer & Petition" (click HERE to view) where we learned how to pray.  Today we will be studying how to find God's answers to our prayers.

Below is a sign that appeared on my dad's church sign - my dad's priest came up with this very catchy slogan:

 photo Prayer_zpsc6b8d9b6.jpg

The following are 8 ways to find and understand God's answers to our prayers:

1.  God's Word - The Bible

"For the word of God is living and active." Hebrews 4:12
There have been many times when I have been praying intently and decide to read my Bible.  I'll take my Bible in hand and just open it without looking for any certain verse or book and then I'll read wherever my eyes land  - and lo & behold that place where my eyes landed is the answer to my prayer!!  This has happened a few times but most of the time I need to meditate on God's word  - a little bit each day before finding an answer.

2.  Urgings from the Holy Spirit

"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him."  Psalm 62:5

This is that "gut feeling" found deep down in our being.  You might find yourself at a crossroads in your life and pray about what direction to turn.  You decide upon a pathway but when you start down that road you get a very uneasy feeling that can't be ignored - this is the kind of urging that I'm talking about - this is the Holy Spirit telling you that you've made the wrong decision.  When something like this happens - STOP and PRAY some more before you turn around and go back the way you came.  (This "pathway" of course is a symbol for whatever it is that you're praying for - it might be guidance on a job or decision on where to move etc). 

3.  Through others around us

"Make plans by seeking advice" 
Proverbs 20:18

After praying about a certain concern or question - go to your clergy, family member, friend and ask their opinion.  Sometimes God might even send you an answer through a neighbor or even a stranger.

4.  Quiet time

"Be still and know that I am God" 
Psalm 46:10

"Quiet time" can be different for all of us - it might be sitting on a beach watching the waves, or sitting in your house watching the traffic go by or maybe a walk around the neighborhood at night with nobody else around.  During these "quiet times" you are not praying but just listening - God might pop an idea in your head or even speak to you through your thoughts.  Try it - you might be surprised at the result!

5.  Deal with sin

"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?"  Matthew 7:3

This verse talks more about judging others but the other point of this verse is to clear up your own sin and change your ways.  Sin is blinding - you can pray and seek until you are blue in the face but if there is still an area of sin in your life then you won't be able to see or hear what God is telling you.  Clean up your life first.

6.  Timing

" 'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord."  Isaiah 55:8

God's thoughts & ways are not the same as ours and His timing is also different.  We might feel that we need the answer right away or else.......or else what?  What if you are waiting to hear if your loan went through to be able to buy that dream house - you wait so long and eventually lose that house to a different buyer.  Maybe through that wait and loss God was saying that you were not supposed to buy that house.  God's timing is the only clock to live by. 

7.  Trust & accept "no" as an answer

"....for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him."  Matthew 6:8

We might not understand why the answer is "no" at the time - but later (maybe even years later) - something will happen and then you'll say to yourself: "That's why the answer was 'no' ".  God knows better than we do - just trust Him.

8.  Pay attention

"We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we
do not drift away."  Hebrews 2:1

This verse of course is talking about drifting away from our Christian walk but I also believe that it applies here.  When we are waiting for an answer to prayer we must pay attention to everything until we receive that answer.  It might take longer than we are comfortable with but there is a reason even for that wait.

pray Pray PRAY everyday & everywhere! 

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