Recognizing God’s, “Yes and Amen’s” to our prayers often happens around prayers of salvation. We know that if we ask God “Please let cousin George learn about you and see you for who you really are” that God wants this too. He wants to be known by all of mankind. So when our prayer request goes to heaven, God says, “Okay. I’m in agreement. Yes.” That puts God on the same side of the request wanting the same thing we do. We become partners at this point. Then God puts out several Action Plans on the heavenly White Board and begins to invite our loved one to get to know him. Our loved one can refuse to acknowledge God every day. But I believe each day brings a new invitation to get to know God for our loved one.
Because it is an invitation, our loved one may not respond to these invitations day after day. In the natural, it could be concluded that the answer to our request is “no,” because we see no change in the individual we are praying for. Of course, we don’t know what is going on in their head with all the questions and thoughts that may be coming to them.
We often judge God’s answers to prayer by the final results of a change. My view of God and the way He answers my prayers changed dramatically when I realized He had heard my request and wanted the same thing. With God as a partner, I knew with certainty that He was actively working on the situation. This brought great peace. With God developing a new way to introduce Himself every day, it was becoming a daily effort for my loved one to not think about God at some point during their day. With the awareness that God was working on my request, I didn’t need to say another word on the subject directly to the person. In time, they might ask a question. All I needed to do was love them.
God is at Work in all Things Photo by Benjamin Fiorello
Yes and Amen to Prayer photo by Aaron Burden
I found myself encouraging a friend the other day who thought she heard a “no” from God regarding her prayer request. Upon further inquiry, the request required a decision from another person. I asked her if it was possible that God has really said, “Yes?” The situation still required an individual at a school to approve a document under consideration.
I believe there are times when we pray and the answer is “Yes and Amen” from God. He has approved our request. Yet, we haven’t seen the answer come down the pike with a change in our circumstances. Why not? Because God has allowed an individual to respond. God may want something for us. He may be saying, “Yes and Amen.” But He may be allowing people to partner with Him and they may say, “no,” at least initially.
It doesn’t mean God isn’t powerful enough to “just make them do something.” It might mean that God is giving them an opportunity to cooperate with what is right, or what is best. If they don’t, then God is big enough to make a Plan B better than if Plan A had unfolded as originally requested.
He Makes Everything Beautiful
Photo by Pierce Brandley www.creationswap.com
Beyond every problem is an opportunity to learn a lesson. In 20/20 hindsight, we can look back and see things so clearly. Is there something to be done in the moment? Yes.
God is not surprised at what the problems are in our lives, even if we got ourselves into the predicament. He has solutions to every problem and He invites us to bring our cares to him, even if we missed the chance to do so at the beginning, or when things first go wrong, or when they go wrong again, or when they suddenly compound. We are welcome to take things to God at any, and every, point along the way. By doing so, we start to partner with God.
Some people talk to God daily, hourly. Some people talk to God only when there’s a crisis. It’s never too late to start the dialogue. One sentence prayers work as well as eloquent soliloquies. They Lord hears the heart. He never turns away a heart cry. So withere it’s a one word prayer of “HELP,” or a prayer that starts with, “Well Lord, here we are again. We haven’t talked in a long time, but there’s this issue…..” We immediately have God’s undivided attention. Let the dialogue begin.
Have you ever felt like your prayers never get answered? It’s true. Some prayers have no answer. More often, it could be that we do not ask questions God can answer at this time. This web site is about learning to ask a different question, hopefully one that God can answer and the dialogue with God can continue in your prayer life.
Questions that start with “why” are most likely to go unanswered. For example, I may never learn why my mother struggled with her illnesses. So asking God, “Why?” did not get any answers. When I asked, “How do I cope with this?” or “What do you want me to do about this?” I got answers. Which doctor to call became clear. How to transport her to the doctors’ offices became a problem I could solve. Figuring out the medications and getting prescriptions filled at which pharmacies got accomplished.
Even if the God of the universe who knows everything doesn’t explain Himself when I want him to, it is possible to receive help in the moment in dealing with the issue.
For me, the lesson was to start asking prayers that started with “How” or “What” as well as asking the “why” questions from time to time. The “How” and “What” questions got answered very directly and quickly. Over time and in God’s perfect time, even some of the “why” questions have gotten answers.
Growing Like Trees to Spiritual Maturity When God doesn’t answer all our questions, He is usually offering us a chance to grow up. Most parents don’t let their children pick what they want for dinner every night. This could lead to fast food dinners, lots of appetite-killing ice cream before dinner, few vegetables and lots of desserts. Later, as kids play sports, they start to take more of an interest in foods with protein to give them energy. As adults, kids respond to parents by asking for favorite home cooking. There’s a natural progression of choosing health with maturity.
Food knowledge does not necessarily match wisdom in other areas of life. Spiritual maturity comes at all ages and stages of life. God knows our spiritual maturity levels. He knows what to say to whoever is asking. If we ask him for direction in our lives, some people don’t know how to hear his voice. Others need for him to be very specific with dreams or a stranger speaking into their lives. Others may get more silence because multiple choices are good options and God wants the person to use the wisdom and maturity they have to be part of the selection process. If we were to pick a path that isn’t good for us, and we ask about it, doors usually slam in our faces. Such is a veto.
Garth Brooks sings a country song about being thankful for unanswered prayers. The lyrics tell about a man who is grateful his prayer to get back together with a girlfriend didn’t work out because he ended up meeting his wife, and they shared a lasting love. With the perspective of time, we can be grateful for difficult times in life.
Sometimes we get the privilege of a “redo” in life. If we get a bad grade on a test in school, we receive a grade that represents the average of many test scores, or a grade that weights what we test at the end of a semester rather than at the beginning. If we blunder in a job, we may have a boss who offers us mercy and realizes lessons are part of a learning curve and we are more valuable with a variety of learning experiences. Employees receive such mercies and offer loyalty to a boss and/or a company.
When screw-ups result in failures, change is inevitable. Students get expelled, employees get fired and lovers break up. Even from these experiences, we learn. In fact, statistics say we learn more from our failures than our successes. Failure causes analysis, and analysis causes education. As a good teacher, God may have a tutor come alongside and point out exactly what we did wrong and why. More often, the opportunity to grow is part of the redemption process.
Grateful for flowers that grow and grow