How Do I Know if My Prayer Was Answered?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, September 1, 2014 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Last week we discussed whether God hears our prayers. God does hear our prayers, but sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. How do we know that He actually answered what we ask Him?

The truth is, we may not know right away how our prayer was answered. But we can be assured that we will get an answer. God may say yes; He may say no; or he may say not now.

Like Logan wrote about last week, if God answered yes to all of our prayers, chaos would break out. More importantly than that, God’s plan would not be fulfilled. We usually don’t know what God has planned for our lives, so we don’t necessarily know what’s best for us. We might think we do, but often times we’ll see in hindsight that we really had no clue.

The answer may not be what we want, but it will always be what God wants to fulfill His ultimate plan and to bring Him glory. We know from passages like John 16:24 and Matthew 6:33 that if we ask for something in Jesus’ name and are seeking God’s Kingdom, we will receive what we ask for. The important piece there is the motivation of our heart. If I ask God for a million dollars, will He give it to me? Probably not, because my motivation is selfish and not for God’s glory. If God sends me out as a missionary and I need to raise a million dollars of support, then the answer could be yes because it’s for God’s glory. See the difference?

Take a look at a story from the early Christian church in Acts 12:1-16. Look especially at verse 5: “So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.” Suddenly, an angel appears and basically gets Peter out of prison! Peter thought he was simply seeing a vision, but no, it actually happened, and he was freed. How’s that for an obvious answer to prayer?

But there are times that we don’t get the answer we want for prayer. The apostle Paul was given a “thorn in his flesh” and he earnestly prayed for it to be removed, but God did not grant that request. Why? So God could be glorified. See 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 for this. Sometimes God answers our prayer, but we don’t like the answer He gives us so we act like there was no answer.

Other times, God gives us an answer but we’re too busy to pay attention to it. How often do you just sit in silence, quieting your heart and listening to God? If we’re constantly distracted by the “noise” of our lives - smart phones, social media, music, TV, friends, etc - then we’re often too distracted to hear God’s answer.

Still other times, the hour has not yet come for us to get the answer that is perfectly aligned with God’s plan. In these instances, God’s answer for us may be to wait a while for whatever we’re asking to happen. Again, it’s all about God’s timing and God’s ultimate plan for our lives - not ours.

God does hear our prayers, and God does answer them. We may not know (or like) His answer, but because He is good, we know that His answer is what’s best for us and for His Kingdom.