At work one day, a coworker told me she had her home for sale. After talking to her about it, I could tell she was very distressed about how long the house had been on the market with no interest shown. She and her husband had already committed to jobs in another state and needed to sell their home to move near their jobs. As we discussed this, I told her I would be praying for her to sell her house. The following week she came to me to tell me that the house had sold. It was at that point that she said, “Why does God answer your prayers?” I’m not exactly sure what I said at the time, but I do remember praising God. Since then I have spent a lot of time thinking about what I should have said. For starters, I could have told her that God answers the prayers of His children. John explains the blessing of becoming a child of God in John 1:12, But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.
Max Lucado, in Unshakable Hope, explains it this way – If you have taken on the name of Christ, you have clout with the most powerful being in the universe. When you speak, God listens. When you pray, heaven takes note. “When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action (Matthew 18:19, The Message).” Your prayers impact the actions of God.
The coworker I was praying for was not a Christian and I had been trying to show God’s love to her. As I reflect on this experience, I believe God WAS showing her his power and love. I also believe that God wants to be glorified and honored. As our prayers are answered, God gives us a great opportunity to tell others about His love and power. In 1 Kings, the prophet Elijah declares as he prays, Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again. Those words give us a wonderful incentive to follow Elijah’s example: going to God in faith-filled prayer, believing in Him, and then sharing what he is doing in our lives through His answers.
Again, we look at Elijah’s example of the power available to us as we pray in faith as we note James 5:16-18. James states that when a believing person prays, great things happen!
The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops (NLT).
I think of this verse often. Elijah was a person on this earth just like you and I. This is the same power WE have available to US as WE go to God in faith. Remember the injunction of Hebrews 11:6– without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
David, too, expressed this understanding. In faith, he knew that God would answer his prayers because God loved him, and because, by personal experience, he had seen God’s mighty power.
I am praying to You because I know You will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray. Show me Your unfailing love in wonderful ways. By Your mighty power You rescue those who seek refuge from their enemies. Guard me as You would guard Your own eyes. Hide me in the shadow of Your wings. (Psalms 17:6-8 NLT)
Dear Heavenly Father, I praise You and honor You. You are Almighty God, the creator of heaven and earth. You are able to do exceedingly and abundantly more than we ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20) I am thankful knowing that You hear and answer my prayers. I am humbled before You and glorify Your name. Never let me forget to give You all the glory for answered prayer and share Your love.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.