We’re racing towards the end of January, 2018! The declarations that were made propelling us into a new and more profitable year are beginning to dissipate. Let’s face it, it’s easy to make a decision to change, it’s a lot harder to bring it into fruition. It’s even like that with our prayers. We get inspired by hearing stirring testimonies of what God did for someone else and we determine that we are going to engage in a fresh, new prayer life – believing God for those far away goals and dormant dreams. We get a prayer list, begin on our prayer journey and then when nothing happens after a couple of weeks, we lose our faith. Do we really believe that prayer changes things, or is it because we don’t understand the nature of prayer:
"Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better? Matthew 7:7-8 (MSG)
God does answer prayer. The question becomes not "if" He will answer, but "how". In the above passage, we see our prayers offered to God likened to the requests that a child asks of his father. It is clear that a father wouldn’t give his child something totally contrary to what the child asks. Likewise when we enter into prayer with the God who loves us, will He give us something totally contrary to what we ask. Yet, those of us who are parents have the wisdom to know when our child asks us for something, the right time and the right response to give their child. A wise father would not give a five year old a motorcycle, even if he asked for one!
God is aware of our stages of our life, even more than our earthly fathers are aware. He will not give us an incorrect response to prayer. He knows what we need at every stage of our development and He will respond to our prayers every time, yet every response may not be "yes". Effective prayer cannot be a monologue, where we just spill out our requests, and never listen for the Father’s response. God does answer prayer. Fortunately, He who knows the end from the beginning will lovingly watch out not just for our todays, but for our tomorrows with the wise guidance and direction of a Father.