When life feels hard, we need to remind ourselves that God hears our prayers and cares — and not just a little. A LOT.
Let’s look at prayer, and some truths about our response to God’s response to them.
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Trust That God is Good
We tend to view prayer as the vehicle for asking for stuff. And it’s okay to ask, as the Bible tells us to bring our needs and requests before God. We have permission to confidently approach Him, because He’s our loving Creator.
But sometimes we don’t get our prayers answered, or at least not the way we want. So does God like — love? — some of us more than others? No. And don’t you allow Satan to plant that lie in your heart.
The Bible promises us that God doesn’t play favorites. This is huge. God isn’t willy-nilly in answering our prayers. We didn’t happen to catch Him on a “bad” day. There is purpose behind His decisions. Some of our prayers simply don’t fit with His master plan. We hate that, right? We expect a “good” God to bless us.
But we have to choose to live without feeling offended at God. We have to trust that His plans are for good — if not for us this time around, then for others. So we don’t get to plaster a fake smile on our face as, through greeted teeth, we declare, “God is good!” just so others will think we’re super spiritual. God wants us to sincerely trust Him.
“Living an unoffended life,” writes Pastor Mark Batterson in his book The Circle Maker, “is not some Zen-like experience. It’s living a life surrendered to His sovereignty, His mystery, and His love.”
Prayers Plus Action
For sure. But pray without whining or demanding. Pray with an open hand and heart. Check your motivation. Then ask repeatedly, without fearing that you are bothering God.
If there’s some action you can go ahead and take to show God you’re serious, do it. God can act without your help, but your act of faith might just be what He’s waiting for.
There’s an old joke that a poor man prayed daily that God would bless him with a winning lottery ticket. When the man finally arrived in heaven, still penniless, he asked why God never honored his request. God’s reply: “You never bought a ticket.”
Batterson admits that he typically repeats a prayer, until God says no. This prayer “circling” included asking God to provide a drummer for his church. Batterson finally felt God ask, “Dude, have you thought about buying a drum set?”
Even though his church was financially strapped, Batterson immediately hunted down and purchased a used drum set.
Two days later, a professional drummer walked into his church, asking if there was a need for him to serve. BAM! Prayer answered. God knew all along how and when He was going to answer the prayer, but He was waiting for Batterson to act.
God is always stage right, adds Batterson, ready to make His grand entrance. God is listening!