An important part of prayer is listening to God’s answers. Often, we think our prayers go unanswered or God says ‘no’ to them. This can make us lose faith and stop praying altogether.
But in most cases, the problem is that we don’t know how to discern God’s answers. We are so busy with our lives that we don’t even take time to listen to God.
In this post, I discuss the three main ways God answers prayers, and how to recognize God’s answers to your prayer requests.
What You'll Learn Today
What Does The Bible Say About God Answering Prayers?
One of the doubts you may be having is whether God even answers prayers at all. Sometimes, it can feel like you are praying to a brick wall, like your prayers scatter into the wind with no one to answer them.
But that’s not true at all. We know that because the Bible has so many instances of God answering prayers both in the Old and New Testament.
In 1 Samuel 1, Hannah prays to God for a child, and God opened her womb and she bore a son whom she named Samuel.
In 2 Kings 20, the Bible says that Hezekiah got ill and God sent Isaiah to tell him to get ready to die. If it were me, I’d have probably accepted my fate. But Hezekiah did not.
He turns his face to the wall and weeps bitterly as he prays. Here’s what God tells Isaiah just before he leaves the palace.
2 Kings 20:5 Go back and tell Hezekiah, the ruler of my people, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you.’
Hezekia is given fifteen more years to live.
The New Testament is also full of verses about God answering prayers. Here are two of them.
1 John 5:14-15 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.
Mark 11:24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
There are some instances when God doesn’t answer our prayers, usually because of our sin. I’ll talk about that shortly. First lets see the different ways God answers prayers.
How God Answers Prayers?
Here are the three main ways God answers prayers.
If what you are praying for is right for you at this particular moment, then God will say yes. You’ll often recognize God’s answer through a breakthrough in your life.
It could be a healing you’ve been praying for, a prayer for a job, or a prayer for financial success. But remember you don’t always have to pray for material things.
In fact, prayers for more grace, a stronger faith, or to be a kinder person can have a bigger impact on your life and that of other people around you.
When God answers your prayers with a ‘yes’, remember to give thanks and share your blessings with others.
Yes, But Not Yet
What you are praying for may be right for you, but not now. God’s answers to our prayers are not just about the prayer requests but also timing.
Maybe this is not the right time for you to make that career move, buy a house or get into a relationship. But at the right time, God will give you what you asked for.
This answer requires a lot of patience and faith. It’s easy to give up and conclude that God has said no or He has not answered your prayers. But you just need to wait a while longer.
This is the last thing we want to hear from God, but if God says no to your prayer requests, believe that it’s because He loves you so much.
Sometimes we will unknowingly ask God for things that are not good for us. By saying no, God is protecting you.
Probably one of the hardest things as a believer is accepting when God says no without bitterness or losing our faith.
But when you believe that God refuses to grant all your requests out of love, it’s easier to be grateful whether God says yes or no.
Remember God’s promise in Jeremiah 29:11.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Sometimes, those plans involve God saying no to some of the things you want.
Does God Answer All Prayers?
No, God doesn’t answer all prayers. If your prayers go answered, it is probably because you are living in sin.
Isaiah 59:1-2 Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.
Sin can separate us from God, keeping our prayers from reaching Him. Stop sinning and seek forgiveness for your prayers to reach God. This requirement is repeated in 2 Chronicles 7:14.
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
Sometimes, God doesn’t answer our prayers because we ask with the wrong intentions. If you are praying for a car so that you can boast to your friends, God will likely not answer you.
James 4:3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
The other reason your prayers may be going unanswered is because you are praying without faith. If you ask from God but you are still filled with doubts, don’t be surprised when you get no response.
Here’s what the bible says about prayer and faith.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
How To Listen To God’s Voice
You might think your prayers are not being answered, but it’s probably because you don’t listen to God’s voice.
Sometimes, it will be clear as day what answer God has given you. If you pray for something and you get it, then that was a yes.
But other answers to our prayers require that we carefully listen to God’s voice. Here are some ways to do that.
- God can directly talk to our hearts or minds. Every day, spend some time in silence. I like to do this during prayer, either before or after. You can also do this at any time of the day. Find a quiet place and meditate for a few minutes.
- Read the scripture. God can answer prayers through the Bible. He might lead you to reading a specific verse that answers your prayers.
- Keep a diary of thoughts, songs or verses that cross your mind during the day. There’s a way journaling helps us discern what’s in our hearts and minds. You just might discover God’s answer that way.
- Spend time with other believers. Sometimes, God answers us through our brethren. That’s why spending time in fellowship with other believers (e.g. going to church) is so important.