Does God Really Answer Prayers?
Well, the Bible tells us so. Jesus said, “Ask and it shall be given unto you.” Many times, I have prayed fervently for something, and it felt as if God was busy somewhere else, or had turned off the phone. Friends have told me that God answers every prayer, it’s just that sometimes God says no. Others have said that God gives us what we need not what we want. I’m sure there is some truth to both answers, but neither is very satisfying.
I am convinced, however, that we often don’t recognize God’s answers to our prayers. We just take those answers as a part of life. During my prayers one morning, I was lamenting, “God, the world is a mess. The environment is crumbling. Violence, cruelty, hunger, poverty, homelessness are all never ending. Please help my friends and all those who are aging, even me. Growing old is hard. It’s time you did some fixing God. I’m worried, tired, afraid. Help.”
A small voice calling, “Bampa! Bampa!” interrupted my lament. I set down my pen and peeked in the open bathroom door. Our seventeen-month-old great grandson, Riley, was waving the shower curtain back and forth, playing peek-a-boo with great grandpa in the midst of his shower. Water streamed on the floor. Forgetting about my pain, I picked up Riley, our heaven-sent bundle of joy. “Great-grandpa will be out soon,” I said and carried him into my office.
We settled down on the couch. I handed him my lamb stuffie that was waiting there. As Riley cuddled the soft stuffie close, he laid his velvety warm cheek against mine. God’s peace descended around us. My tears gradually dried. “Thank you God,” I prayed. “thank you for hearing my lament and offering me Riley.”
God does answer prayers. Mostly we don’t recognize it happening. Every time we do notice, every time we hear or see God’s answer to our spoken and unspoken prayers, our burdens ease. We learn to trust, have more confidence in looking for those answers in the tough times. I believe God is our companion, walking with us through life. Whatever happens, we are not alone. Whatever happens God does take care of us. I am truly grateful.
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” (Romans 8:26 NIV)