Has God answered all your prayers?
Before you respond, think about it. Like really- has he answered all? Okay, what percentage would you say He handled as you’d please? Think about it.
As kids in Sunday school, we had this cute little song:
Sometimes God answers ‘yes’ when I pray,
Sometimes God answers ‘wait’ when I pray,
Sometimes God answers ‘no’,
Just because He loves me so,
But I know He always answers when I pray
Cute song. Simple enough for any child to relate with- yes, wait, no. three possible responses all from the loving heart of the heavenly Father.
However, as I’ve put on a few years, I’ve discovered that sometimes, it’s neither yes, no or wait. I’ve found three ways God does answer our prayers today and I’d love to share them with you. Hopefully, they’d better position you to know what to expect when you pray.
When you pray, wouldn’t you love to know with absolute certainty when the answer shows up? Wouldn’t you love to eliminate the hit-and-miss experiences many have become accustomed to in prayer? I’m sure you would. So the next time you pray, look out for these things- here’s how He answers us.
- Opportunities: When we were growing up (shouldn’t we still be doing that?), whatever we needed, we just told mum or dad and they provided. No hassles. Ask. Get. End of story. As we grew older though, that simplistic model was gradually replaced. We stopped having things handed directly to us. So the ice cream was no longer handed to you- they gave you some money and expected you to go get it. You had a choice- sit and wait, grumbling that you asked for an ice cream cone and got money instead, or you could take that money as your opportunity to get the specific flavor you wanted.
Many times, when we ask God for things, we expect him to just toss it onto our laps. But he rarely does that- instead, he gives us an opportunity. So you ask God for that mega job and guess what he hands you? An opportunity- to compete for it against 30 other intimidating candidates. How do you see that interview? A panic button or an incredible answer to prayer? Opportunities are the doors of life- without them, we’d never make progress. They take us from one phase to the next- only if we recognize them for what they really are(i.e. answers to prayers) and stop looking for cheap, zero-personal-responsibility ways to get where we desire to be.
How are you using the opportunities around you? Can you see them for what they really are? Or are you still hoping for something else? Someone once said the opportunity for success is missed by many because it is dressed in coveralls and looks like work. That leads to the next way God answers our prayers.
- Challenges: Strange right? We tend to think of challenges or problems as bad things. But sometimes, the answer to your prayer will be in the form of a challenge or problem that needs to be resolved. How do you view problems? They are simply the scary packages in which our desires are concealed. Virtually every place worth getting to in life will be found on the other side of a challenge.
Challenges do not mean you’re on the wrong path. Surprisingly, neither do they show that you’re on the right path! Challenges simply prove one thing and one thing only- that you’re a functioning member of the human race. If we seek to make progress in life, we cannot keep running away from challenges- we have to face them. Recall the story of David? He was anointed to be king of Israel but on his way to the throne, he had to bring down a nine-feet-tall challenge in the shape of Goliath (can you see how this story presents both the opportunity and challenge together?). Challenges toughen us up and prepare us for the demands of the next level we desire to break into. Stop running from challenging situations- you’re probably running from the answers to your prayers. Face them head on and win.
- Ideas: This answer mode has several names. Some call it ‘revelation’, ‘divine instruction’, ‘insight’, ‘light’, ‘a flash of inspiration’, ‘a divine wave of thoughts’ etc. It’s all the same- God answers our prayers by placing specific thoughts/words/pictures in our hearts. And when we take those thoughts/pictures and develop them, we become co-creators of miracles. Such divineideas are our license to become co-creators with God.
Jacob was bothered about providing for his family (by the way, I strongly recommend that every young man reads that last question in Genesis 30:30). His father-in-law responded by drafting an unfair contract, designed to keep Jacob a permanent labourer in his house.
How did Jacob break free? By an idea- an inspired thought on how to rear animals having specific skin colours and patterns. That singular idea turned Laban’s contract right on its head and triggered a massive transfer of assets from father-in-law to son-in-law. That’s the power of ideas. They are the seeds of our incredible future.
I recently heard Pastor Sam Adeyemi (one of my dearest teachers) share a very powerful illustration on this subject. He said when believers ask God for money, they somehow expect him to give them currency notes. They probably expect him to ‘minister to someone’ to ‘sow a seed’ into their lives. But that’s the elementary level. We are called onto something higher.
Those currencies don’t exist in heaven- and heaven cannot give what it doesn’t have- so no dollars or naira notes can come from there because it was never there to begin with. What heaven does though, is to give you what it has. And what does heaven have in excess? Revelation; or simply put, ideas. It is now left for the petitioner to take those ideas and convert them to financial resources.
Imagine if Jacob had refused to act on the idea he received about rearing animals with specific colours? Imagine if he had sat down waiting for God to ‘supernaturally bless him’. He’d have died a slave!
So the next time you pray, be on the lookout for an idea, for a flash of inspired thought. Expect it. Train yourself to pray with a notepad nearby. Look out for it in the course of your day. Be alert for it; and when it comes, quickly grab it (most of the best ideas are EXTREMELY slippery so you want to document them on the spot!). Treasure ideas and learn to develop them into what you desire. That’s the way it works.
Opportunities. Challenges. Ideas. Look out for these when you pray.
God bless you.
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