God Hears, God Answers

J.R. Waller, MBA
Latest posts by J.R. Waller, MBA (see all)

Key Points

  • Believers in Jesus Christ (Christians) can be fully confident that God hears their prayers when their prayers are made in accordance with His will.
  • His will for us is to keep His commandments and do what is pleasing in His sight and praying serves to satisfy both of those purposes. Therefore prayers never go unheard or unanswered because prayer is a commandment we keep.
  • We do not always know the answers to all of our prayers in this life, however just because we do not perceive there to be an answer does not mean our prayers have not been answered. An answer to prayer can sometimes come in the form of silence.

Prayer can be a difficult concept for many Christians; I myself often struggle with it. In a previous lesson we learned that the Holy Spirit helps us with prayer by interceding for us, even when we do not know what to say.

In this lesson we will be looking at the nature of prayer.

What happens then when a Christian prays? What exactly does prayer do for us and for God? And how does prayer relate to God’s will? Lastly does God really hear and answer prayers?
Let’s look at some foundational truths of prayer to help us better understand the nature and purpose of prayer.

14) And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

15) And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.I John 5:14-15 (KJV)

Believers in Jesus Christ (Christians) can be fully confident that God hears their prayers when their prayers are made in accordance with His will.

When we make requests to God that align with His will He hears them and answers them one way or another (these are the petitions that we desired of Him).

Here then is the foundational truth – God hears prayers and answers them when prayers are made according to His will. It begs the question then: how do we know that our prayers align with His will?

We must ask then: what is God’s will for the Christian and how does it relate to prayer? We need to know what God’s will is for us so we can understand how praying relates to God’s will.

22) And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.I John 3:22 (KJV)

Here is the answer! We saw earlier that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us and we know we have the petitions that we desired of Him. Now we see that we receive whatsoever we ask because we keep His commandments and do what is pleasing in His sight.“[God’s] will for us is to keep His commandments and do what is pleasing in His sight.”

Therefore His will for us is to keep His commandments and do what is pleasing in His sight. Yet how do we keep His commandments and do what is pleasing in His sight?

To do this you must first and foremost become a Christian. You must accept Jesus’ gift of salvation for your sins through His death on the cross. You believe and repent through faith and are then transformed. That is where accomplishing His will for our lives begins for only Jesus can transform us.

9) The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.I Peter 3:9 (KJV)

When we cry out to Him to save and forgive us for salvation we are accomplishing His will for God wills that all should come to Him to be saved and be born again. Salvation is always in God’s will.

So to accomplish God’s will by keeping His commandments and by doing what is pleasing in His sight you have to become a Christian first, after that you are transformed by the renewing of your mind and are a new creature. Your new motivation is to prove God’s will and seek it out in your life.

2) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.Romans 12:2 (KJV)

You see you cannot follow God’s commands or do what is pleasing in His sight unless your mind is transformed through salvation. Additionally…

20) I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.Galatians 2:20 (KJV)

Once saved you are a new man in whose soul dwells God in the form of the Holy Spirit. What is more the Holy Spirit at all times is working to make us more like Jesus…

13) For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.Philippians 2:13 (KJV)

It is a thing to be most thankful for indeed that we do not have to rely on ourselves but on Him to help us live for Him.

It is evidently clear then that God works within us as Christians to do His good pleasure and His will. Therefore, the strength and power necessary to follow God’s commandments and do what is pleasing in His sight (to carry out His will for our lives) begins with Him and His strength in us.“Because of God we have the desire and intention to pray because we are a new creature in whom He works in us to make us more like Him.”

Christian here is an important point: our prayers by their very nature and intent are always heard by God for He is the one who enables us to pray through His working in us to accomplish His will. Because of God we have the desire and intention to pray because we are a new creature in whom He works in us to make us more like Him.

So what happens when a Christian prays? And what exactly does prayer do for us and for God? It makes us more like Him and carries out His will. However there is more…

17) Pray without ceasing.I Thessalonians 5:17 (KJV)

This simple verse is very important to understanding the nature of prayer as it relates to God’s will. We are commanded according to Paul here to always be in a continual state of prayer however much as possible.

Because God speaks through His Word to the authors of the Bible so Paul is speaking for God here, therefore this is a commandment and since it is a commandment from God we are entitled to follow it.

22) And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.I John 3:22 (KJV)

Here then is the heart of the message…

  • We receive answers to all prayers because we keep (follow) His commandments.
  • Prayer is a commandment from God.
  • Therefore prayers never go unheard or unanswered because prayer is a commandment we keep (follow).

Additionally this is how prayer relates to God’s will…

  • God hears all prayers that are in accordance with His will.
  • If we keep His commandments we are following His will for us.
  • Because prayer is a commandment we follow God hears all of our prayers.

Now reader you may be thinking about prayers that you think have not been heard or answered. It begs the question; are there some prayers God will not hear or answer? Does God really hear and answer all of our prayers?

The question to really ask is not whether God hears a Christian’s prayers or answers them for we have seen that He always does, but instead we should ask…what do we receive for our prayers? This question provides us with excellent insights in regards to unanswered prayers.

Now why would we ask this? We ask this because humans measure things by what they get in return and this causes us problems when it comes to prayer.

Think about it, we weigh the meaning of things by what we get in return. For our labor at work what will we get paid? For the time spent studying what grade will we get? And the list goes on.
Often we do this in our Christian walks as well which while not being wrong in every situation it can be dangerous.

For example the desire to do things for God is always commendable but when the desire is combined with a desire to also work for God to receive things from God or from the world we must be careful. Remember though we are saved and working out God’s will in our lives by serving Him we still battle the flesh and its selfish desires.

Do we want to work for God to store up treasures in Heaven? Certainly, but there is a point where desiring to work for God can be combined with selfish desires. This is where you must be careful.
For example the Christian who only works for God so he can attain great praise from others or so that he may accumulate a substantial fortune or the Christian who turns God’s work or prayer into a this-for-that mentality where if he prays or does this then he will get that.

The this-for-that attitude toward prayer manifests itself in any number of things (praise, money, etc.) it does not matter. What matters is that while it is not wrong to work for God because it makes us feel good to serve Him, there can be a point where emotional or physical blessings (or in our case rewards) become the central reason for us praying or working for God in the first place.

That dear reader is not the way to approach working for God or prayer. Now let me be clear, praying for something you desire is not wrong, however the motive can be. Simply search your heart continually and ask what you are really wanting from a prayer, if there are selfish motives you need to cast them aside. If you are praying just for accolades and things for their own sake that is not a purely motivated prayer.

Again, it is not wrong to pray for things if your heart’s motives are pure. God in fact wants us to enjoy our lives on earth but we need to always be mindful of our motives.“… sometimes His withholding or not providing us with an answer in this life is in fact the answer to our prayers that He wants us to have in the here and now…silence is also an answer.”

It is then prayers with selfish motives and/or prayers in which we selfishly expect something in return that cause us to complain when we see no answer to such prayers. Therefore are such prayers heard and answered by God? Yes because prayer is a commandment we follow and commandments are a part of His will however this does not mean God will answer them with an answer, instead we should not be surprised that He respond with silence for silence is also an answer.

Now then there are many meaningful prayers that are not at all selfish and yet we still find no answer and wonder if they were heard at all.

Again since we as humans in the flesh often measure the success of an endeavor or effort by what we get in return it makes us confused about whether our prayers are really heard or answered by God when we cannot discern an answer.

What this looks like is when we pray and receive nothing in return, when this happens we immediately feel our prayers have not gone anywhere. Reader do not fall into the trap of thinking and feeling this way.

First thoughts and feelings are not always facts, but knowing prayers are always answered and heard is a fact. Second we have to remember that God’s economy is not ours.

In fact when Jesus had His ministry in the flesh here on earth His teachings turned the worlds ideas upside down. We cannot be surprised then that God views prayer differently than we do.

While He always cares for us sometimes His withholding or not providing us with an answer in this life is in fact the answer to our prayers that He wants us to have in the here and now. No answer can be an acceptable answer even to a pure and purposeful prayer. Now while this sounds bad it’s not, lets understand why.

You see prayers left unanswered in this life are only perceived by us to be left unanswered. We do not always know in this life if our prayers are answered however the fact that a prayer appears to be unanswered to us might in fact be the answer that God has given and/or wants for us regarding a given matter in this life.

We must also consider again that silence is also an acceptable answer. Jesus in fact did this in His earthly ministry, He did not always give an instant reply. Again as humans in the flesh we always want or expect an answer and surely we should not feel bad for wanting an answer to a pure prayer (conversely we should not expect an answer from a solely selfish prayer) but remember once more that God’s economy is not ours. Remember that even a prayer left unanswered is done so for a reason that is in alignment with His will.

Even if we think a purely motivated prayer has not been answered the mere act of asking in prayer for something makes us more like Him because we are following His commandment to pray. Furthermore even if we do not know if God has answered a prayer of ours we know He is working things out according to His will simply by us praying in the first place.“Prayers are always heard and prayers, whether we realize it or not are always answered even if we do not know the answer.”

Also, perhaps the answer He has is just Him allowing us to be more confident in Him, more obedient and/or more prayerful.

Remember as Christians we are His, we are new creatures and He is always using prayer to help us. Whether we know the answer or not in this life we always know He hears and answers our prayers.

Reader, prayer is essential. Prayers are always heard and prayers, whether we realize it or not are always answered even if we do not know the answer. Therefore do not get caught in the snare of thinking your prayers are not heard or answered simply because you do not perceive that they have been. Also do not expect selfish prayers to always have an answer either.

Ultimately let us remember what Paul told the church at Philippi…

6) Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

7) And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6-7 (KJV)

We need to respond to life by not being anxious (be careful for nothing) and instead by praying in every thing. Only then we will heave true peace of mind.

Reader, know that your prayers are always heard and always answered and be not worried but pray and accept and enjoy the peace of mind from God that comes from letting your requests be made known unto Him. Amen.

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