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God answers prayers…right? Let’s look at the truth in this simple Bible study about God answering your prayers and how to speak to the God who answers prayer.
Two foundational ingredients in a successful Christian life are Bible reading and prayer. And yet, so many Christians want to know: Does God answer prayer?
And it’s a fair question.
When you talk to someone, you like to know they are listening. When you spend time pouring out your heart, it’s good to know they will respond.
So…is He really the God who answers prayers?
Does God answer prayers?
God’s Word is clear that He does, indeed, answer your prayers and you can trust in Him to do so.
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.
1 John 5:14-15, ESV
But this is just the starting point.
The 3 ways God answers prayers
It’s commonly said that God gives 3 answers to prayers: yes, no, or wait.
And this is true.
You can be confident His answer to your prayers is the best one for you and for His purposes in your life, whether it is a no, yes, or not yet.
The 2 ways God answers prayers
It’s also said that God answers prayers in two ways: provision or protection.
Either God provides what you asked for or protects you from it because He knows better than you do.
When God doesn’t answer prayers
When it comes to answering your prayers, God is capable of understanding the consequences of your requests – both positive and negative. And it is out of that knowledge that He determines what the best course of action should be.
You always have to keep in mind that God is sovereign over all things and omniscient.
Nothing happens without His permission and knowledge.
Thus, He alone knows not only what the future holds, but also the very depths of our hearts and souls.
Whatever He does in your life is for a specific purpose, whether it is to grow you in your faith, encourage you in times of desperation, or to confront sin in your heart and life.
Now, there are also some other considerations when it comes to prayer.
The Bible also tells us that there are certain situations in which God will not hear a person’s prayer nor answer it.
The prayers God does not answer
Are there prayers God doesn’t answer?
Yes, there are.
So what’s the difference between the prayers He does answer, and those He does not?
The state of your heart matters
God desires to answer the prayers of those who love and obey Him.
He responds to you similarly to the way a father grants requests from his children.
But, if you are unrepentant and living an unholy, evil life, then the chances of Him taking your prayers seriously are slim.
Why should He pay attention to the prayers of someone not paying attention to Him in the first place? There’s no way those prayers could be aligned with His will.
John 9:31 echoes these themes by making the point that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but He will listen to anyone who worships Him and does His will.
1 Peter 3:12 states that God hears the prayers of the righteous, but He is against anyone who does evil.
When you pray, God looks at your heart to determine whether you are genuine or not.
He is not like a genie in a lamp who will answer any master who rubs the lamp, whether good or evil. He pays careful attention to those who love Him and ignores those who simply ask for selfish and sinful reasons.
How to pray prayers God answers
There are two keys to effective prayer: the right heart and the right prayer.
Praying with the right heart
Jeremiah 29:12-13 says that God will hear you if we seek Him with all your heart.
You must approach God with a heart that desires relationship with Him.
He wants your whole heart for your whole life, not occasional transactions when you want something from Him.
I cried to him with my mouth,
and high praise was on my tongue.
If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
But truly God has listened;
he has attended to the voice of my prayer.
Blessed be God,
because he has not rejected my prayer
or removed his steadfast love from me!
Psalm 66:17-20, ESV
In this Psalm, the psalmist says that if he had treasured sin within his own heart, God would never have listened to him. But because he cried out with an attitude of worship and repentance, God heard his prayer.
The same is true for you today.
When you seek the Lord with your whole heart, and come before Him in worship and walk in obedience, He will answer your requests.
He will not reject your prayers, but will hear them and answer them in His time and His own way.
Praying the right prayer
And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.
1 John 5:14, ESV
When you have a humble heart that repents from sin, and you are reading the Bible, it’s likely you’re praying in accordance with His will.
As you make your requests known to God, use Scripture to support what you are asking Him. This will help you know you’re praying in accordance with His will.
God will never contradict Himself and will always be true to His character.
The God who answers prayers
But it’s not just about you or your prayers.
It’s also about God.
When you pray, you must believe you’re praying to the God who answers prayers. Paul gives great insight into this in his second letter to the Corinthian church.
In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.
2 Corinthians 1:9, NLT
Paul knew to whom he was praying, and when you pray, it’s important you do as well.
When you know who you are praying to, you can be confident God answers prayers…because that’s exactly who He is: the Father who hears His children, the God who answers prayers, the Beloved who bends down and listens to His Bride.
So check your heart, pray in alignment with His will, and believe in the One to whom you are praying…and God will answer your prayers.