God’s Method Of Answering Prayer
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But let’s start off right by laying the foundation you’ll need for recognizing signs that God is answering your prayers.
How Does God Answer Prayers?
You may be re-praying an already answered prayer because you’re missing what God says. This is usually because nobody’s told you—or reminded you lately—that God answers prayers in 3 ways.
–When God says yes in unexpected ways
If you’re like me, once you’ve decided you want something, you latch onto what you think is the best way it should happen for you. So when God chooses a different method of unfolding His plan, you completely miss it as an answer to your prayers. Simply because it came in a way you didn’t expect.
The solution here is to attach yourself like a barnacle to the goal God’s given you but stay flexible about the route to get there.
–When God says no and you’re not trying to hear that
On the other hand, you may be ignoring God’s answer because He’s saying no and you don’t want to accept it. So you willfully go spiritually deaf and blind, blocking out anything He says that you don’t want to hear.
–When the answer requires waiting on God
Behind door number 3 is God’s answer of “not yet”. In this impatient age of instant gratification, no one wants to wait for what they want. Everyone thinks they should have it all right now. Which sucks if this is you because God doesn’t work on anyone’s timetable except His.
If you’re in a “no” or “not yet” situation, you may find yourself muting God through sin or stubbornly seeking what’s outside of His will for you.
–If you are, remind yourself of how His plans compare to yours.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21 (NLT)
Now you know the 3 ways God answers prayers. But how do you know for sure when God is answering your prayers?
Let’s explore some signs that He’s answering you, so you can start hearing Him.
Signs God Is Answering Your Prayers
Before we dive into the signs, please know that God can answer your prayers however He wants. He’s our all-powerful God of the universe. He’s not limited in any way.
However, these are three common ways God may be talking to you. Plus one less common way, which we’ll leave for last.
–God Is Answering Your Prayers through Scripture
God always speaks through His word.
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
Romans 15:4 (ESV)
Often when you’re praying about something specific, God will answer by repeatedly bringing similar scriptures to your attention.
For example, as I spiraled into feeling more and more unworthy and unloved in my toxic relationship, I kept praying for my partner to love me. Do you know what God gave me for an answer? He kept leading me to scriptures about true love.
God was showing me that I already had the love I was desperately seeking from my partner…from God Himself. I already had the love I needed in Him. But I read all those scriptures He showed me and completely missed His answer.
So you see, God may answer your prayers through His word. But you need to stay sharp and pay attention if you’re going to hear Him.
–God Is Answering Your Prayers through Your Desires
God may also answer your prayers by planting a new desire in your heart. Or He may give you a vision or dream in answer to your request. Like He did for Cornelius—a God-fearing, praying man (Acts 10:1-2).
We don’t know the specifics of what Cornelius prayed for, but God sure answered him.
About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, “Cornelius.” And he stared at him in terror and said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa and bring one Simon who is called Peter.
Acts 10:1-5 (ESV)
Not to bum you out, but God probably won’t answer your prayers with a dramatic angelic visitation the way He did for Cornelius.
Of course, He totally can if He wants to. But the deep inner knowing He gives you through the power of His Holy Spirit—who indwells you as a born-again believer in Jesus Christ—is just as valid.
So, for example, if you’re praying for God to help you stop hating your well-paying job, He may answer by planting a new desire in you. A desire where praise, promotions, and money don’t motivate you anymore. But where instead you care more about changing people’s lives in ways you never thought of or wanted to before.
A new desire like this can be a sign of God answering your prayers.
Be warned, though: Don’t mistake your desire for God’s will.
Test your desire against God’s word. If they don’t line up, the desire is from you, not from God.
–God Is Answering Your Prayers through Others
God may also answer your prayers through godly wisdom and counsel.
Take good counsel and accept correction—that’s the way to live wisely and well.
Proverbs 19:20 (MSG)
Spoiler alert: you can only get godly counsel if you ask for it.
Nothing’s wrong with trying to figure things out on your own sometimes. But God gave you a community of believers for a reason.
Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.
As with your new desires, check the counsel you receive against God’s word to be sure they line up.
If they don’t and you find yourself wondering which way to go, remember this rule of thumb: God’s word always beats opposing “wise” human counsel.
–God May Answer Your Prayers Audibly
Less commonly, God can answer your prayers by speaking to you audibly. Jesus did this with Saul on the Damascus road.
And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one.
Acts 9:4, 7 (ESV)
This encounter radically changed Saul’s life. After it was over he became Paul, the main bearer of the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles.
In my experience, any time God speaks to you audibly, you’re in for a massive, life-changing pivot, like Saul-Paul.
And like me.
This was exactly how God answered my prayer one night after five years of desperate, futile begging over the unhealthy, no-good relationship I felt trapped in.
Yep, even after I’d ignored His warnings and answers for those entire five years, our gracious God answered me yet again when I was finally ready to hear Him.
This time, God caught me off-guard by answering me audibly. On top of which, what He had to say surprised me. But the moment I heard Him, the rightness of His answer settled into my heart. And peace washed over me like a wave of comfort.
In the split second after God answered me, I finally—thankfully—dared to listen to Him. I accepted His invitation to transform my life forever, which He’s been doing ever since.
How Do I Know When My Prayer Is Answered?
Know this truth: God will answer your prayer. But He’ll do it in His way and timing, which is always the right time, even when it feels long in coming.
Your job is to keep praying and seeking Him for an answer, whether or not it’s the one you want.
The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.
Lamentations 3:25 (ESV)
As for how you’ll know when He’s answered your prayer. It’s your job to learn how to recognize His voice so you’ll know it when you hear it. This means you need to get up close and personal with God.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
John 10:27 (ESV)
It’s also your job to do what He tells you, when He tells you.
And if you’re still not sure you’re hearing Him, stop overthinking things and take the next best step in faith, knowing:
–He’ll catch you if you fall.
–He’ll open a door if it’s the way He wants you to go.
–You’ll meet a closed door if God doesn’t want you to go that way.
So how can you recognize signs that God is answering your prayers?
The answer’s easy but the doing of it requires you to bulk up your faith and trust muscles: Become an expert at staying flexible, tuning in to Him, and keeping your eyes peeled.
In Jesus Name Amen!!!
For God speaks in one way, and in two, though man does not perceive it.
Original Prayer By “Kristine Bolt”