I think everyone asks this at one time or another probably quite often and not just Christians, everyone. Even people who think themselves atheists often pray in times of trouble though they may not know to who.
As I said last time I was struggling to get this balance between trying to be persistent in prayer (Col 4:2) and trusting that God has heard me and will answer in his own timing (because it is always right). I mean no one likes it when someone just keeps bugging you and you have to convince them that yes you have heard so they can be quiet now. So I’m going on the principle that after I have prayed for something initially, say healing, then I can continue to pray regularly into my faith that God has heard and I will receive and thanking Him for it. This faith, this trust comes from God fulfilling his promises in the Bible. You can have faith in him because he is reliable. This got me thinking to when God has moved in my life and answered prayers (whether that be before or after I became a Christian (1 year today since I was officially baptised YAY!!!) so I could build my faith on his reliability. The examples he had already used to show me he hears and he acts.
There is no hard and fast rule to when and how your prayers are answered. In this day and age we want everything now and often we can get it. Praying to God doesn’t mean you wait 3-5 business days and then you get an answer like ordering off Amazon (or the next day if you have Prime). What has become so wrong with waiting. None of us have patience any more because true patience is enjoying and understanding the wait, not tolerating it.
Sometimes we don’t even realise that God has answered our prayer whether that be because we’ve waited so long for it or it may be because he answered it in a way we weren’t expecting. Sometimes it’s really obvious.
So through my Veterinary work I am really interested in animal behaviour and training and we have two fluffy monsters Dilly and Bee.
They’re pretty good but have no impulse control when it comes to chasing cats and Bee isn’t the most confident so has been known to sometimes react to bikes, joggers, children (are absolutely terrifying) and what he deems suspicious looking people. When he does he sounds scary because he is a big dog. Now we all know he’s just a big pudding and most people are quite understanding but if he reacts to the wrong person there could be trouble. So the other week I had a dream that he had done just that and been accused of being dangerous and out of control (which he really isn’t) and I woke up in the middle of the night quite distressed. Most people love their dogs as they would their children, they are part of the family and no one wants anything bad to happen to them. So I prayed. I prayed that it wouldn’t happen again, that Bee wouldn’t be scared (because that’s why he does it) and that if I could do something to help him with this for God to let me know what it is. The next day I was on Facebook and an add popped up that I’ve seen before and have shown some interest in but I always just bypass it. I really felt God saying I knew this was on your mind which is why I have been showing you this for weeks but you’ve just ignored it. So I looked at it and it was a training program from a company called Absolute Dogs. It was all about getting reliable recall and attention from your dogs when they are off the lead regardless of distractions, which they could both use. When I went to order it there was an offer for a second DVD called Naughty But Nice, about getting to know your dogs and why and how they react to things, so you can make them more comfortable and less likely to do it. Bingo! So I know this seems a little off piste from what I usually talk about but the point is that God cares about what I care about and he answered my prayer for help. I don’t think I’ve ever had a prayer answered so fast or maybe I just noticed because I was more in tune (I’d managed to do a lot of bible study that week). And I know you can analyse it and say it’s just a coincidence but it felt different to all the other times I’d seen it but not paid attention, it was that feeling you get when God gives you a poke to make to wake up and pay attention. It’s not abracadabra it’s fixed but God has given me the tools to help and I’ll have to work at it, but he heard and he answered.
So if he can hear and answer something that most of us would think was so menial to him (you don’t have to always as for something you think is really spiritual or move mountains) what else can he do. Often we don’t hear or see God’s answers because we’re so busy, we’re not in tune. It’s often a week later that I have that lightbulb moment that I realise ‘hey that’s what I asked you for’ and then I thank him. Sometimes these things take time. Days, months, even years not because God’s not listening but because things need to be put into place and he knows the right timing. I first felt called to God when I was fourteen but the timing wasn’t right and I wasn’t in the right place (and I ran in the opposite direction). Now when I look back I feel like I can see the pieces falling into place. Three years later we moved to Hawkinge unexpectedly (especially when mum was adamant we weren’t going to live there) which put me in the right place that when the time was right I was brought to the Lighthouse church and the family I needed at that time. I may not have prayed for it directly but my spirit was yearning for it.
So my long winded point is…He WILL answer, have faith that He WILL answer, keep an open mind to how He WILL answer and thank Him when He does.
I can honestly say that I enjoy the waiting for a package to arrive, pouncing on the postman in anticipation everyday because I truly know it is coming. Let that be your reality of waiting for God to answer your prayers.