Are prayers answered?

The two main disciplines of Christianity are reading your Bible and praying. Of those two, praying is by far the hardest to understand in how it relates to a relationship with God. Reading your Bible is straightforward since it is obvious that you need understanding in order to live how God wants you too, but how does praying fit in?

Praying is mysterious because it is a conversation where it seems there is only one direction. As Christians we know we must pray, but what is the point of it? Some people have no problems praying and could go on for hours, other find it difficult to pray for more than 5 minutes. Usually this is a difference in personality, not in spirituality. Just like there are people who talk very little in social situations, there are those who talk a lot. We must not compare ourselves to others because each person is different.

The reason it seems sometimes that prayer is a one-way conversation is because most prayers cannot be answered. Our prayers are so generic that almost any answer would do and they are never followed up on. Often I have found myself saying something like the following: "I pray for Jim." Who is Jim and what do I want the Lord to do? Is this a prayer of general blessing or is it to remind God that Jim is alive? As you can see this prayer has no answer because it is not really a request. When we pray we should be specific and follow-up. Do you ask the people you are praying for how they are doing?

Perhaps you are praying specifically but God still is not answering your prayers. It is not that He is not answering, but that you will only accept one answer or that your time frame is too short. To each request there are two answers, yes or no. Each time we are asked to pray in the Bible there is almost always a qualification that we have to ask in His name. The Lord is not going to answer yes to something that is not in His name, but would it not be nice if He did answer yes to everything that we are asking for?

The most amazing thing is that every answer to prayer is answered with Yes! But it is a yes to what you really want, not what you think you want.
For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory (2 Cor 1:20 ).
When we pray we are really asking God to remove the effects of sin in our lives. He did this on the cross! His death on the cross is the promise that one day all will be set right and so we can have confidence that our prayers will be answered! We can also tell others that there pain and trials will eventually be set right.

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