Friday, April 01, 2005

How God Answers Prayer

by Russ Lawton

One of the very real problems in our world today is that we really don't understand how God answers prayer. I have to admit that most of the time I have no clue either, but every now and again I do get a glimmer of understanding.

I heard a great story that kind of gives us some insight into the answering of prayer. It seems an atheist professor was lecturing in a college class and made the statement: If there is a God, let him knock me off of this platform right now. The Christians in the class were speechless; they just didn't know what to say other than to offer a few quick prayers that God would handle the situation.

About that time a football player was walking by the door and heard the professor make the statement again. He rushed into the room and pushed the professor off of the platform. The professor was outraged and screamed, "What do you think you are doing?" To which the football player responded, "God was busy at the moment, so he sent me!"

Could that be one way in which God answers prayer, through the intervention of other people? Could it be that the answer doesn't have to be a lightening-bolt from heaven? I believe it just could be!

Another big problem we have is dealing with the timing of the answer. We live in an instant society and almost expect God to answer every request immediately. I don't believe that God works that way either.

I heard another story, which illustrates how we often confuse God's timing with ours. "A country newspaperhad been running a series of articles on the value of church attendance. One day, a letter to the editor was received in the newspaper office. It read, "Print this if you dare. I have been trying an experiment. I have a field of corn, which I plowed on Sunday. I planted it on Sunday. I did all the cultivating on Sunday. I gathered the harvest on Sunday and hauled it to my barn on Sunday. I find that my harvest this October is just as great as any of my neighbors' who went to church on Sunday. So where was God all this time?"

The editor printed the letter, but added his reply at the bottom. "Your mistake was in thinking that God always settles his accounts in October."

God's timetable is not the same as ours is it? His reasons for answering differently than we think he should are so far above our understanding, that we for the most part, will never be able to understand the 'why'. In Romans 11:33 the apostle Paul writes, "Oh, what a wonderful God we have! How great are his riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for usto understand his decisions and his methods!"

So, "how does God answer prayer?" I don't know! I just believe that he does! In Luke 18:1-8 Jesus tells a story with a point. It reads in verse one, "Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up." OK, what's the point? The point I am trying to make is simply, keep on praying even if you don't get the answer you want when you want! Just because you can't see the answer or it comes out differently than you think it should, doesn't mean that God is not still there listening. Keep on praying and don't give up!

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