Does God Answer My Prayers?

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    At the very heart of prayer, we pray because God commanded that we as Christians are to pray (1 Thessalonians 5:17). There are a lot of questions that arise with the aspect of prayer. We know that God hears our prayers (Proverbs 15:29). We know through the examples seen in the Bible that God will answer our prayers in one of three main ways. Either God will grant our petition, or He will answer with a “no”, or He will answer with a “not right now”.

    When we pray, are we trying to change God’s will? We are obviously asking for an answer, a change but what exactly are we asking God to change when we pray? Do our prayers move God to action in our world today? Do our prayers bring God to actually change things in our lives, in the lives of those around us, in the world...or is it the case that God’s plan for this world is rigidly set and cannot be changed?

    After Israel left Egypt, God in His disappointment talked to Moses. God had seen the disobedience of His people and He told Moses that He intended to consume them and make a great nation out of Moses (Exodus 32:9-10). God had made a promise to Abraham, yet God could fulfill that promise through Moses. God would not have been unjust in consuming the wicked nation of Israel and making a nation out of Moses. However, God did not consume the nation. Moses pleas with God in the next three verses (Exodus 32:11-13) and begs God not to destroy Israel. Upon Moses’ prayer, God chooses to not destroy Israel. God could accomplish His will in many different ways. God could have raised a nation from Moses to accomplish His will and fulfill His promises to Abraham. God also could spare the nation of Israel, punish them for their wickedness and accomplish His will and fulfill the promises He had made. In this example, Moses prayer didn’t change God’s promises, but it did change how God fulfilled His promises.

    Jesus was facing crucifixion. He knew it was coming and no doubt knew the pain and suffering that it would bring. This weighed heavy on Jesus and so Jesus turned to God in prayer in the garden (Matthew 26:39). Jesus knew the will of God and He knew that He was on earth to be the sacrifice for man, yet Jesus still prayed, “let this cup pass from me”. God had promised that the Messiah would come. God had promised that He would make a way for sins to be washed as white as snow. Jesus was the only way in which this could be accomplished. There was no one else who could be the sacrifice and no one else to take the place of Jesus. Even though Jesus pours His heart out in prayer, the “cup” did not pass from Him.

    When we pray, we are not trying to change God’s will. We are not asking Him to ignore His promises and just do what we want. When we pray, we are asking God to if at all possible find a different way in which to fulfill His will. We never do see God answering a prayer that violates His promises. Yet several times in the Bible God answers prayers by changing the way in which His will is accomplished. I am thankful for a God who listens to our requests. I am thankful for a God who answers our prayers. I am thankful that “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).

    1 Thessalonians 5:17, "Pray without ceasing"

    Proverbs 15:29, "The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous."

    Exodus 32:9-14, "And the LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people. [10] Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you.”[11] But Moses implored the LORD his God and said, “O LORD, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? [12] Why should the Egyptians say, ‘With evil intent did he bring them out, to kill them in the mountains and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your burning anger and relent from this disaster against your people. [13] Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your offspring, and they shall inherit it forever.’” [14] And the LORD relented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people."

    Matthew 26:39, "And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”"