The following is an excerpt from Becoming a Woman of the Word.
Do you want to know how to pray more effectively? Silly question, right? Who doesn’t want to see their prayers answered? A Newsweek poll titled “Is God Listening?” showed that of those who do pray, 87 percent believed that God answers their prayers at least some of the time. We have all had times when we prayed for something and didn’t seem to get the answer that we were hoping for, making us question, did I pray the right way? Is God mad at me? Did He really hear me? Why does He answer some of my prayers and not others?
The Bible is our guidebook for prayer. In His Word we not only see powerful examples of answered prayer, but we also find the teachings of Jesus on how to pray effectively. In the Scriptures we discover God’s invitation to prayer and His desire for us to cast our cares on Him. We also learn some of the reasons why prayers may not be answered exactly how we had wished. We learn to view prayer from a heavenly perspective, not an earthly one. I find it humbling to think that Almighty God invites us to pray. He loves us and cares about the details of our lives. From Genesis to Revelation we find examples of God listening to His people and answering their prayers.
The apostle John wrote, “If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” How do we know we are praying according to God’s will? His will is revealed in His Word, so if we are going to pray according to His will, we must pray according to His Word. Certainly we don’t find a listing of His will for every detail or every circumstance of our lives, yet the more we know of His Word, the more we come to understand His heart of love. We learn who He is and how He works. We want to approach God’s throne with confidence, and we can do that as we get to know His heart through His Word.
Honestly, I can look back at my life and thank the Lord for the prayers He didn’t answer exactly as I asked. Why does God answer some prayers and seemingly leave others unanswered? Because He loves us and sees things from an eternal perspective. Can we trust the God of love, the God who sees all things, the God who sees the beginning and the end? In His time and in His way, He is at work beyond what we can see. As the apostle Paul wrote, For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror;then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
How has prayer changed your life?