Does God answer prayer? Absolutely!
The Prayer Request
I meet with a good friend to pray every Friday morning. We spend time praying about everything from personal life, church matters, family, ministry, and many other things.
My friend asked me if I had any prayer requests. I said that I had one particular thing in mind. I told him that it might seem like a small thing, but for my family and me, it would mean a lot.
“I would like us to pray to God and ask him to help Fabi and I to find out what to do during our Christmas vacation,” I said. “It has been a good and fruitful year of ministry. But it has also been a very intense year. So, I would like to go on a getaway with Fabi and the kids where we can enjoy each other’s fellowship and build some good memories while recharging and getting ready for 2020.”
Trivial? Maybe. It wasn’t a prayer for great revival, the salvation of a certain person, protection for persecuted Christians in India, healing for some major disease, or something we might typically consider serious and important. However, it was a heart-filled prayer request from an exhausted young man. It meant a lot to me.
But You Live in California
“Well, you live in California, so it must not be that hard to find something to do.”
It depends. There are myriad of places to go: ski resorts, fun parks, hikes, hotels. You name it. But all these options are expensive, especially during the Christmas season.
We had thought of many different places: Big Bear, Lake Arrowhead, Ventura, and San Francisco, to name a few. All these places were just too expensive.
A Crazy but God-led Idea
Then I got a crazy idea. I decided to write to a place where pastors and full-time ministry workers can come and rest for a couple of days. You can bring your spouse, but not your kids. Why? Because kids doesn’t equal rest (Parents, you understand. Singles, you have no clue YET!).
The place has lots of activities available. It would be a nice place to go with the kids. I found my computer, began hitting the keys and wrote an email to the office. I asked if they had anything for my family. I honestly didn’t expect a positive answer since that isn’t the purpose of the place. The lady from the office was very kind. She replied, telling me they would be willing to offer me a family option. I thought, “Really? Wow! That’s amazing.” I asked her for the price. I was expecting it would be hundreds of dollars per night. Her answer shocked me, considering the place and time of the year.
“It will be $25/night, which includes food (for my whole family),” she said.
The price was out-of-this-world and the place was perfect for us as a family, so it blew me away.
As I reread the lady’s email, my heart warmed. I smiled and couldn’t do anything else but burst out praising God saying, “FATHER, THANK YOU!”
God’s Goodness Never Ends
I’ve been a Christian for 15 years and I’m just blown away by God’s goodness over and over and over and over and over again. It never ceases to amaze me that the awesome God who “in the beginning created the heavens and the earth” is the same God to whom we intimately pray, “Our father hallowed be your name.” God is so infinitely big yet so immensely near.
I don’t deserve anything from God, but His wrath. Yet in his grace and goodness, I find my heavenly Father lavishes His love on me again and again (1 John 3:1).
We find the answer in one person: Jesus!
- Only because of Jesus, do we have eternal loving fellowship with God (John 14:6).
- Only because of Jesus work on the cross can we pray to our Father in heaven (1 John 5:14-15).
- Only because of Jesus are we adopted into God’s family and thus experiencing the privileges as His children (John 1:12-13).
- Only because of Jesus can we come to our Heavenly Father with all our needs (and even wants) knowing that he will answer us according to His good will in His perfect time. God’s goodness never ends (Matt 7:11)!
I’m by no means saying that God doesn’t allow and use trials and suffering in my life. However just because the “name-it and claim-it movement” has twisted the reality of what it means to be a Christian doesn’t mean that we can’t testify to God’s goodness and provision. Just as we should see God’s blessings in our trials, it is also important we speak of God’s goodness day in and day out as an encouraging testimony to our brothers and sisters in Christ. Doing so serves as a witness to a world that keeps denying the His existence—the God who daily shows them His mercy (Luke 6:35-36).
Jesus’ Teaching on Prayer
When speaking about prayer, Jesus said, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matt 7:11). Our Father in heaven wants us to ask Him about our needs (and wants).
Jesus taught his disciples to pray to their heavenly Father, saying, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Jesus teaches us to lay our needs before… Before who? How does he start this prayer in Matt 6:9-10? “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.'” He was really saying, “When you pray. Go to your Father. Do it with respect but also familiarity and intimacy you have with Him.” God will provide for our needs and, at times, our wants according to His perfect will.
What have you been praying for lately? If you are in Christ, God listens to all your prayers. Sometimes he answers according to your prayers. Sometimes He answer differently. And at times, He doesn’t answer at all, which is also an answer in and of itself. But even that should make us rejoice because He knows what is best for us as Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones remarks:
“I am profoundly grateful to God that He did not grant me certain things for which I asked, and that He shut certain doors in my face.”
God knows what is best for His children in all circumstances. We should never lose sight of that.
I’m eternally grateful for God’s provision for my family this Christmas season.
Pray to Your Father in Heaven
Dear friend, never see prayer as a burden. Instead, see it as a wonderful privilege of communion with your heavenly Father, which is provided to you in Christ.
I encourage you to seek God in prayer today. Praise Him. Exalt Him. Glorify Him. Boldly lay your needs and even your wants before His feet. Expect Him to answer.
Please comment below when He answers your prayer, whether in the way you hoped, or in some other way.