Answered Prayer?

A retired couple had been praying as to whether the husband should seek part-time employment. He and his wife had adequate retirement, but the work would allow for more financial breathing room, as well as provide a means of “getting out of the house.” As it turned out; the man did not get the job despite the fact that he was over-qualified for the position. They began to question why he was unable to secure the employment…what could possibly be interfering with getting this hourly work? Why was God not answering their simple prayer?

The question arises: Do we recognize God’s answer to prayer, if His answer is not the one we were seeking in our heart? To put another way, are we really imploring the Lord to make a way for what we think we want and need; and, when we do not get it, we assume God has not heard our prayers?

Although there is voluminous biblical instruction regarding prayer, several key points help with understanding what may appear to be unanswered prayer:

First, we need to pray! Perhaps we have expected something without diligently seeking the Lord about it. Another point made in James 4:2-3 is that when we do ask in prayer, we may not be hearing from the Lord, or receiving answers because we asked amiss (not in the will of God, or according to what is good and proper for a believer to request). It follows that, as 1 John 5:14-15 teaches, we must ask according to the will of God, and then we can be assured that we will have our petition. Therefore, if our prayers appear to go unanswered, can we accept the fact that the Lord’s will in the situation was not in line with what we asked for—and furthermore, that we might have asked “amiss”, or the timing and methods God had chosen were above our understanding (see Isaiah 55:9)?

But, perhaps most important of all, may we pray with unwavering faith (James 1:5) and remember to look for and recognize the goodness of God, no matter what His answer might be; for He is always faithful!

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