Does God Answer Prayer?
We may wonder, “Does God answer prayer?” Stephen March shows from Scripture that God does indeed hear and answer our prayers.
Does God Really Hear Our Prayers?
There are many places in the Bible where we are instructed to pray, but does God really hear our prayers? And more importantly, does He answer them? Let’s take a look at these questions and see what the Bible has to say about them.
Definition of Prayer
To start, it’s important that we define what prayer is, because there are some rather interesting ideas out there, some of which may only contain part of the truth. The basic answer is this; Prayer is communication with God. It can take on many forms, such as traditional, formal, on our knees, hands folded, audibly calling out to God, or even silent, conscious thought directed to God. Prayer can also have several different purposes, it can be praise, declaring the glory of God, or it can be intercessory, which means praying for others. Supplication is another purpose for prayer, which is making a humble request or asking for something. We can make prayers of confession, acknowledging wrong committed to God for the purpose of obtaining His forgiveness. These are just a few types of prayers but the essence of all of them is that we are talking with God.
Does God Hear Everyone?
Another good question would be who can pray, does God hear everyone? This is a bit more complicated, as God, being omniscient knows and sees all, and therefore is fully aware of the prayers every individual person on earth makes. That said, if we look to Hebrews 11:6, a passage that is dealing with faith, we get an indication about who can pray, the verse says
“And without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must first believe that He exists, and that he rewards those who seek Him.”
So with the idea of drawing near to God being approaching Him in prayer, logically there first must be a belief in His existence, otherwise why would someone pray to Him. Still, there are undoubtedly those who would pray, “just in case” there is a God that would hear, in which case the answer remains, yes, absolutely God hears them, and in His grace, God may even respond favorably to them, though always in accordance with His will and purpose.
What Does Jesus Have to do With Prayer?
Now, what does Jesus have to do with prayer? Quite a bit actually, Paul would write in 1 Timothy 2:5
“For there is one God, and one mediator between man and God, the man Jesus Christ”.
Jesus acts as our mediator of salvation through His work dying for our sins on the cross and rising again, but He also acts as our mediator in prayer. In John 14:6 He reminds us that no one can come to the Father except by, or through, Him. Understanding this goes a long way into answering the next question as to whether God answers prayer.
Psalm 17:6 says
“I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me, hear my words.”
Again in Psalm 102:17 we read
“He regards the prayer of the destitute, and does not despise their prayer.”
God Does Hear Our Prayers
There are many other passages that tell us God does hear our prayers and he does answer them. Where people sometimes get confused on the issue is that sometimes we expect a certain answer, and when we don’t receive that answer, we feel our prayers have gone unheard. For that I would point out 1 John 5:14-15 where it says
“And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And we know that if He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.”
There is an importance to praying for not just what we want, but for what is God’s will.
Our desires, no matter how noble and just they may be, will never supersede the will of God. This means that sometimes a person may pray for something, and God’s answer will be “no”. However, we also have a precious verse in James chapter one, verse five which states,
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
So, we may be going through a trial, and be praying for a way out, or an end to the trial in some form, and God’s answer is “no” to our thoughts. Instead of giving up or getting angry with God for not answering our prayer in our way, we can ask for understanding in what His will for the situation is.
Patience is Important
The other problem we see sometimes with prayer, especially in our “instamatic” culture, is that we simply don’t receive an answer fast enough for our liking. This doesn’t mean God isn’t answering our prayer, it just means that we have to be patient and wait. Habakkuk 2:3 is a great reminder of this when it says,
“For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end – it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.”
God’s will doesn’t just involve what will happen, it also includes when it will happen.
If you would like to know more about prayer, and communicating with God through Jesus Christ, please contact us. You can do so by email to [email protected], or by phone at 1-800-567-1218.
Stephen March is the President of FBH International and HopeStreamRadio. He graduated from the Broadcasting Program at Niagara College in 2001, and has previously worked in television production and post-production. Stephen lives in St. Catharines, Ontario, with his wife Corinne and their four children. He serves as an elder at Scottlea Gospel Chapel.
Read and hear more from Stephen Marchon his contributor’s page.
Stephen currently has 3 Programs on HopeStreamRadio: