Difficulties in listening to God from within
The Rev. Alan Estby, associate pastor and campus pastor, Immanuel Lutheran Church & University Student Center, 2104 Bob Billings Parkway:
The difficulty is in ourselves as to "do we always know when?"
We find it difficult to understand God's ways. God is faithful, and we can have confidence in him. As the apostle John tells us, "We have such confidence in him that we are certain that he hears every request that is made in accord with his own plan. And since we know that he invariably gives attention to our prayers, whatever they are, we can be quite sure that what we have asked for is already ours." (1 John 5:14-15)
Prayer is a conversation with our Father in heaven. Jesus, the son of God, who came on earth to do the Father's will for our salvation, is our advocate with the Father who hears our prayers and takes them to the Father.
Paul reminds us, "The Spirit helps us in our present limitations. For example, we do not know how to pray worthily, but his Spirit within us is actually praying for us in those agonizing longings which cannot find words. He who knows the heart's secrets understands the Spirit's intention as he prays according to God's will for those who love him." (Romans 8:26-27)
We do not always know when God answers, but we do know the "The Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him"? (Deuteronomy 4:7)
- Send e-mail to Alan Estby at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seek God's will and the answers will follow
The Rev. Pieter Willems, senior pastor, Mustard Seed Christian Fellowship, 700 Wakarusa Drive:
If we define "God answering our prayers" as getting what we have asked for, then no, we don't always know when God answers our prayers.
Some of our prayers may not be answered until after we die, while some prayers receive almost immediate answers. Prayer is not using God like a slot machine to get whatever we want from him. It is a relationship that should and can be personal and intimate.
I can be certain that God hears all my prayers. However, his answer to my request may be "no." If I cannot accept a no, then I may continue to wonder "when" God will answer my prayers.
Answers to prayer are contingent upon what God's will for my life is, not necessarily what I think it should be.
Many times I have looked back on my life and seen that God has answered my prayers, but not in the way I had envisioned.
Really effective prayer seeks to understand what God's will is and ask him for his will to be done (Matthew 6:10). Our prayers are frequently centered around our immediate comfort and gratification.
How do I know when God has answered my prayers? I don't always know, but I can be sure of this - as I seek his will for my life, I will see more answers than if I try to get God to conform to my will.
- Send e-mail to Pieter Willems at email@example.com.