Prayer is hard. Well…in all reality, the actual act of prayer is quite simple. There is nothing in the Bible that says speaking with God has to be difficult. As humans, we tend to make prayer difficult because we have not made sense of it. We lack the understanding or experience necessary to grasp the different aspects of prayer. Having a conversation with God does not require much from us. Knowing what to do with God’s answers is another thing.
Once you get past the actual act of prayer, knowing what to do with God’s answers is what is truly hard. A large part of understanding prayer has less to do with the actual act and more of understanding how God works. And while a lot of people get hung up on the actual act of prayer, here I want to discuss the aspects surrounding prayer. What I hope to address in this series is what to do when God responds to our prayers.
Here I hope to cover what I believe are the most common type of responses one can receive when praying to God. God’s responses to our prayers come in various forms, but from what I have experienced there are three common ways God responds to our requests. When we pray, God will often respond with a “yes”, “no”, or “wait.”
As we look at God’s responses to our requests, the answer which seemingly needs the least explanation is “yes.” My initial thought surrounding God answering “yes” is at how ridiculous it might be to actually address when God says… ”yes.” However, as I start to think about times when God says “yes,” it is not as simple as it first appears. This is the answer we all hope for when we ask something of God, but in my experience, it is the answer I receive least often.
Looking through these responses and reflecting on past answers from God, I rarely have a hard time when God says…”no.” Let me rephrase that. At first, when I receive a “no” from God, I might be a little frustrated or cranky. Let’s face it, as humans, we want what we want when we want it. But the longer I reflect on God’s answer, the more I remember how good God is. And as much as I want him to say “yes”, I realize that when God says no, it is usually because He has something better in mind. The hard part with this answer is having the faith to believe in God’s something better when you have no idea what it might be.
Perhaps one of the most difficult responses to handle in this series of answers is when God says… “wait.” Truthfully, I do not like this response. And while a “wait” is not necessarily a “no” it often proves to be more difficult to handle than a simple “no.” Many times when God says “wait” it is merely a “not yet, or not now.” When He tells me to “wait,” I usually have about a dozen follow-up questions for God. Probably not the most faith-filled, bold-believing response God hopes for, but let’s face it…we like details. When God says… ”wait” it leaves us with more unanswered questions than when we began asking. A “wait” requires more from us than we would like.
My hope with this series is that by looking at some of the common answers we receive from God, we will gain a little more understanding in dealing with God’s answers. I also hope to put away some of the common myths surrounding prayer which seem so prevalent in our culture. I also believe that by understanding how God works, we might be a little more inclined to pray throughout our day-to-day. And as we bring our requests to Him, we will be a little more prepared when God says… “yes”, “no”, or “wait.”