God Answers Prayer...Really

03.12.10 | Cecil Van Houten | Comments[6]

Have you ever had the experience of taking a very specific prayer request to the Lord because you needed an answer that was very exact?  A confirmation of something?  A ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ on a path of action?  Something that you’d prayed and wrestled with day and night?  And God answered?  Clearly.  Specifically.  Gave you assurance and the peace that only comes from knowing that you’ve heard from him?

That happened to me yesterday.  I’d been wrestling with something for days; a situation that was really bothering me, something I wasn’t able to share with many people to gain counsel, but an issue of serious importance.  You know the kind.  It was one of those things that really mattered in a big way.  God hadn’t been silent in the days leading up to yesterday.  In fact, he’d been quite clear.  The verses that came to me over and over were Proverbs 3:5-6:  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.  So I was trusting; still this was a situation that needed a clear answer.  

In the days leading up to yesterday it’s as though I could hear his voice whispering in my ear, “Trust me.”  Just that.  I did.  I’ve learned that lesson several times over in the last year, given the heart attack and near-lethal arrhythmia I suffered last July.  There but for the grace of God…  So trust has become a recurring theme in my life.  And on the one hand, it’s very easy to do.  It doesn’t usually take a big step of faith for me to trust God.  But sometimes, even in the trusting, you need to hear something more; a word or some type of supernatural assurance that things really are ok and whether or not you're on the right path.  I’ve learned to be prepared for either outcome.  Yes.  No.  Go this way.  Don't go that way.  I’m no theologian but I don’t think 'maybe' is in God’s vocabulary.  He speaks clearly and if we know his voice, the reassurance or conviction that comes is unmistakable and calming beyond belief. 

Even in that period of trusting though, on a human level, we can agonize over the situation.  I don’t think it shows a lack of faith to feel unsure of how things are going to end up; I trust God but I still don’t know what his answer will be or what the outcome will be.  That's why it's his will we pray for.  I have to recognize that it could go either way and be prepared for that.  Because either way, yes or no, God is still God.  He doesn’t change.  His purposes will be accomplished in our lives regardless of how we may view the situation we find ourselves in.  That’s the assurance that comes from knowing him:  For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God [Col. 3:3].   

So the answer came.  That pre-dawn prayer, that crying out to God for direction, was answered.  Just hours later.  (I must have inadvertently gotten in the prayer express lane.)  The answer was very specific.  And in this case, in the affirmative.  He confirmed what I had hoped for and let me know that things were going to be ok.  There’s still the ‘working out’ to do; he doesn’t often present answers like birthday presents, neatly wrapped and tied in a pretty bow.  But knowing that he has spoken and that I have heard his voice is enough.  As April, one of the women in our front office often says, “Yeah, God!” 

What have you struggled with?  What’s been burdening your heart?  What is the thing that makes you break and causes you to weep before the Lord?  We all have something.  Whatever it is, seek the Lord with your whole heart.  Trust him for the answer.  Be specific in your prayer and he’ll be specific in his response.  It may take some time for him to speak but he’s never late.  He’s always on time. 

In the words of Annie Flint’s great hymn of the last century:

He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again. 


Your Comments(please keep them on topic and polite)

on 03.13.10 June Brandes commented

Yes, I have many times asked for specific prayers, and, sometimes God makes you wait, but, these are times that the only thing you can do,is wait.

It's harder when you cannot go to a friend, but, that brings you closer to Him. Trust and obey for there is no other way.

I was so happy when I heard prayer had been answered when you had the heart attack, etc. God is good and he does love us.

Keep up the job well done and TRUSTING.

on 03.18.10 Ronald T. commented

God can answer our specific prayers when we have the courage to pray them. Sometime I know I've hesitated to pray too specifically because I thought it was selfish or too self serving. Then I realized God really does want to answer my prayers and if I'm not specific He may not answer them. So I've changed my thinking of how to pray. Your blog says it all well - that if we trust in Him He will always come through for us. Thanks.

on 03.18.10 Bill Kamberg commented

I once heard that God always answers prayer. Sometimes "Yes" - Sometimes "No" - Sometimes "Slow" - but all are answers.

You, Cecil, and Connie are among those in my daily prayers.

Hope all goes well as you follow your "Answers".

on 03.20.10 Theresa commented

Thanks, Cecil. I needed to read this. I was in the car for two 5 minute trips today and I just happened to hear someone on FLN mention this blog. I woke up so discouraged this morning because God spoke to me clearly a few months back and has done nothing but confirm what He said, but the situation in my life right now looks NOTHING like the promise He has made. And, like your situation, it's not something I can talk to many people about. Thanks for reminding me that when God makes a promise He fulfills it, and that I'm not the only one going through this.

on 03.30.10 Diane H. commented

Thanks for this. I need to continually remind myself that God is always right on time. Even in the small things. I get so anxious sometimes and worry about whether the Lord really heard my prayer and whether He's going to answer it and then before I know it I think I'm doubting. Thanks for helping me put it in perspective. God will always give us a specific answer for a specific prayer. God bless.

on 03.31.10 Den commented

Interesting. We agree that "God is God no matter what". But how does God specifically "answer". What is different if you prayed and know that God, who is not bound by time or place, has heard, BUT nothing changes. You do not define "answer". Are you not describing that you experienced what you experienced and that was the "answer". I believe we too much expect God to be our "friend" and "buddy" and that "he will answer me". He is God, and does as he pleases. What am I missing ?