Honest & Real Questions About Prayer
Prayer Questions Table of Contents
Q. Why does God answer some people’s prayers and not others?
(I am mostly in the non-answered category.)
A. Prayer is more about growing your relationship with the Living GOD than about you getting what you want from His hand. While He does give us good things, when we reduce Him to a cosmic vending machine He will not allow Himself to be treated as such. Also, understand, “no” is an answer as well. And, what may appear to be “no” answer may be “wait awhile” or “I have a better answer.” God is a good Father and like any good parent will say no for our own good or for a greater good in line with His loving purposes.
Q. Is God more likely to answer a prayer if more people are praying for the need?
Is God more impressed with 250 people praying than 98 people praying for the same thing?
A. God is not restricted by numbers. He says, “If two or three are gathered together in My name, I will be right there among them.” Matthew 18:20. In other words, God can answer any prayer, whether prayed by many or few. 1 Samuel 14:6 Classic Bible characters have proven that point well. Queen Esther alone saved her people. David fought the giant Goliath alone to save Israel. Noah built the ark alone to save the world. God can answer prayers offered by many or few, so don’t be surprised if He answers yours. It might be that you are the only one standing up for Him.
Q. I don’t use fancy religious words to talk to God. Will He still listen to me?
A. Sure. God is far more interested in our hearts than He is in our religious vocabularies. Besides, prayer is just talking with God, so we can tell Him what’s on our mind just like we would with our friends. No spiritual jargon is required. One more point. Jesus picked ordinary guys to be His disciples. For example, several were plain-spoken fishermen and another was a tax collector. Interestingly, religious sounding phrases must not have been very important to Jesus because none of them were priests. That’s one of the great things about Jesus. He enjoyed hanging out with normal talking people like us.
Q. Is prayer about my desires plus having enough faith, or about asking for God’s will to be done?
A. Prayer is all of the above with the emphasis on God’s will for our lives. God cares about the desires of our heart. Desiring God first will transform our earth-based desires. Personal faith matters. We ask-pray with faith believing that God will hear our prayer and answer what is best for us. The Bible’s best insight for prayer is that we know and experience the good, perfect and acceptable will of God. (Whatever that may be, whenever, wherever, with whoever, however God chooses and forever).
Q. My best friend had stage-four cancer. I prayed that God would heal him. He died. What gives?
A. Losing a best friend is painful. I hurt with you… God is compassionate. He is also just. His timing is perfect even though we may not see His perfection at work. He is all knowing and completely trustworthy. We see life (and death) from a limited perspective. God’s ways and understanding is complete from before time began to now and through out all eternity. Trusting God with our whole life (including losing a best friend) will require putting your complete faith in THE God who completely loves you. Tell God about your loss. Allow His peace (that surpasses all understanding) to grant you healing and wholeness. Seek God. You will find Him.
Q. Is prayer another version of positive thinking mumbo-jumbo? Have you heard back from God?
A. Maybe. Really it depends on the person praying. If God is a lucky symbol, like a rabbit’s foot to be rubbed in times of need, then prayer becomes just positive thinking or even wishful thinking. I don’t think that is how God wants to be treated. Yet, most of us lean into prayer more when we are in need than when life is going well. This is when we try to “use” prayer. Prayer isn’t about getting. It is about connecting. God is our loving Father. When I pray, I am a kid who tells his dad what he feels and what he wants but I count on Him to do what’s best for the big picture that I can’t even see. God sometimes answers my prayers with an unmistakable “Yes!” Sometimes He answers with a silent “No”. And sometimes His answer is “Not yet.” Regardless, I am not counting on the power of MY words or MY prayers. Rather, on the wisdom of my Father in Heaven. My faith is not in prayer. My faith is the God to whom I am praying.
Q. Is there more to prayer than asking for this and that?
Most of the time when I pray I feel like I am telling God my grocery list of needs and wants. I sometimes let Him know that I think He dropped the ball.
A. Thanks for your blunt honesty about your prayer life. You don’t have exclusive rights. The A.C.T.S description of prayer has helped many people grow their prayer life. A stands for Adoration. Praise and Worship are synonyms for adoration. “God, You are AWESOME and I praise you.” C is for Confession. “Today I missed the mark about (be specific). Will you forgive me?” T is for Thanksgiving. “Thanks for coming through when I really needed it.” S is for Supplication or asking. “God, I despise _____. Will you help my attitude towards them?”
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