Prayer is essential in the life of every Christian. The apostle Paul tells us to “pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17). I cannot think of how many times a simple prayer has helped me in my times of need. Not only has prayer helped me with what most would consider “big” situations, praying to God has also helped me with small matters as well.
For example, one winter we had a bit of a mouse issue in our house. We had set several traps in the house and had caught at least 6 mice overnight, which is highly unusual at our home. In times past, we would set out a mouse trap and only catch one mouse and then our mouse problem would be gone. However, this time was different. I was becoming concerned about the fact that we were catching so many mice in our house in such a short amount of time, namely because I know how quickly mice reproduce, and that this could become a major issue in the long run. I prayed unto God to help us get rid of these mice before more came and possibly caused an infestation in our home. After that prayer, we went on a vacation for about a week, and I had my mother check the traps periodically while we were gone. When we returned from our trip, not one mouse had been caught, and we never saw another mouse that year. Since that time, we have rarely seen a mouse in the house. It appeared that God heard my prayer and fixed the mouse problem for us before things got out of hand! Of course, this is just a small matter to deal with, but it is a reminder that we should pray to God for everything, no matter how big or small of a matter it may seem to us.
We, as Christians should have a very prayerful attitude at all times, and make time to pray to God many times in a day. With that said, does God hear all of our prayers, and if so, why do some prayers seem to go unanswered?
1. Before we pray, we have to have faith in God that He will give us what we are praying for. A lack of faith in God when we pray, may keep God from answering our prayers. “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.”(James 1:6).
2. We must be faithful to God before He will answer our prayers. “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” (I Peter 3:12). God hears everything, including everyone’s prayers. To say that God does not hear everyone’s prayers would mean that the person giving the unheard prayer knows something that God does not know, and that is impossible. What this verse means, however, is that God only hears the prayers of those who are righteous with the intent to answer those prayers! He does not have the intention to answer the prayers of those who are unfaithful and unrighteous. Being able to have your prayers heard by God, and for God to answer those prayers is one of the many perks of being a faithful child of God!
3. We must monitor what we are praying for. God’s thoughts are much greater than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9). If we are praying for something superficial (such as a brand new cherry red sports car), God may not answer this request in the way we expect. We must not ask for anything that would be wrong to obtain, such as winning the 1 million dollar lottery! “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:” (I John 5:14). Our prayers often go in the direction that our thoughts are in, so we must make sure that our thoughts are on spiritual things rather than worldly things. “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Colossians 3:2).
4. Sometimes the answer is “No.” Whenever we feel like God is not giving us what we have asked Him for in a prayer, it may be the case that He has answered our prayer with a “No.” God knows everything about us, and He knows all of our past, present, and future. He knows when we will die, how we will die, and what the rest of our life will be like. Based on that information, God will only give us what He knows is best for us, despite how much we want it or think that we need the thing for which we are praying for. Just because we have certain plans for ourselves and for others, this does not mean that God has the same plans. If we suspect that God has answered “No” to a request we have made to Him in prayer, we must always remember that He knows what is best for us. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11).
Please take all of the things mentioned in this article in consideration before asking God for something in prayer. Of course, it is always important to take time to pray and just thank God for all of your blessings. Also, remember to be patient. Not every prayer has to have a request in it. God loves to hear from His children at all times, and like our physical parents, He loves to hear how thankful and appreciative His children are for all that He has done for us. We can be at peace knowing that our Heavenly Father will take care of us no matter what situations this temporal world places us in!