Give me a word, Lord: EXPECTING ANSWERS

James 1:5-7 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

John 15:7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

John 16:24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.

When you pray, do you pray expecting an answer from God? I hope that you do because if you’re not expecting a response, what is the point of praying? When I have a conversation with my husband, I expect him to hear what I am saying, and I expect that he will respond. I may not always get the response that I wanted, but I get a response. Our conversations with God should be similar to this. It should be a two-sided conversation, but we too often make it one-sided. We go to Christ in prayer with a laundry list of items that we call out to Him in prayer. We may be asking for healing, health, help managing finances, praying for a lost loved one’s heart to be softened so that that person can come to Christ, and so many more things. We spill our hearts, give Him the list, and then we patiently wait for an answer, right? Most of the time, if we are honest, the answer is no. We get busy trying to answer our prayers on our own accord. We try to solve our own problems. We may even say that we don’t hear from God.

I’m here to tell you that I know that God answers prayers. I’ve seen Him answer more prayers than I can count. He may not answer in a loud, audible voice, but He answers. In my experience, it is usually that still small voice that I hear. It may be a strong feeling or a gut instinct that guides us. Sometimes, it’s the voice of another. Christ may put someone in our path to answer our prayers. Christ works in mysterious ways, and He is always working behind the scenes. He knows our needs. He loves us, and He is always listening.

So why then, do we sometimes feel that He isn’t answering us? As I said earlier, prayer should be a two sided conversation. When we don’t hear from God, it’s likely that we aren’t listening. When we go to the Father in prayer and we want an answer, then we have to be ready to hear His response. We need to remove distractions. Turn the television and the radio off. Turn down the noise. Go to a quiet place and talk to Him. People that are hard of hearing have great difficulty hearing what others are saying when they are talking in a noisy room with lots of background noise. If we’re not hearing God, maybe there is too much background noise. It may not be a noise issue, however. It may be a problem of busyness. We may give God our laundry list, and then get so involved with the busyness of the day, that we can’t hear God because we are too busy to hear Him. Perhaps we aren’t hearing from God because what we are praying for isn’t withing the will of God. “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” John 16:24. But maybe, just maybe, we aren’t hearing from God because we’re not expecting an answer. If we aren’t expecting an answer from God, we probably won’t get an answer. We have to have faith and confidence that He hears our prayers and know that He will answer. We may not always get the answer we want, when we want it, or how we want it, but rest assured. We will get the answer we need just when we need it and always right on time.

I don’t know what your situation is, but I can tell you that God has definitely answered many prayers in my life. I’ve not always been a prayer warrior. I’ve had a pretty weak prayer life at times. When I was younger, I had a memorized prayer that I prayed each night. It was a laundry list in which I asked God to watch over my family. I would name them off one by one. I would ask for forgiveness of sins, and I would thank Him for His blessings. My prayer didn’t vary much from night to night. As I grew older and closer in my walk with God, my prayer life changed. It was a gradual change, but I went from reciting an almost identical prayer nightly to a continual conversation with God that goes on 24 hours a day. I’m not kidding, y’all. As soon as I wake up in the morning, I start talking to God, praising Him, thanking Him, and telling Him that I love Him. On my drive to work, I sing praise songs very loud and proud (with my windows rolled up to protect the general public LOL), and I talk to God. While I’m working and seeing patients, running here and there, sometimes feeling like I can’t keep up, I stop and pray. On my drive home, I pray and thank God for getting me through another day. I pray before I go to sleep. If I wake up during the night, I pray. I’m telling you that I have learned that prayer is not just for meals and bedtime. Prayer for me is a way of life.

I’ve felt the peace of Christ during a harrowing, hectic day at work. I felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit encouraging me to think about something or pointing me in the direction that He wants to go. I’ve seen my marriage strengthened in a way I never dreamed possible. I’ve seen lost loved ones come to Christ after what seemed like years of praying. I’ve witnessed miracles first hand. I’ve felt the love of Christ. I’ve experienced His mercy and grace a million times over. So does He answer prayers? Yes! All day long, every day He is listening. He is answering. He is there.

Go to the Savior today. Pray. Expect and answer. Listen. Watch. Learn. Our heavenly Father yearns for closeness with his kids. Why don’t you call Him up today?

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