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The term unanswered prayer has been having an unsettling effect on my soul. I have noticed that over the course of my Christian life I have heard that prayers can be answered by God with yes, no or maybe. So when I have prayed I was always uncertain as to whether God would answer with a yes. This made it hard for me to pray.  Often I would feel like the man who doubted in James 1. How can I pray with faith that God will answer if I don’t know that it is His will to answer with a yes? I felt my prayers were weak and powerless.

This led me to ask, what is God’s will? Inherently all of God’s will is written in the Bible. There is a verse for everything. So for every situation I began to search Scripture.

For example over the summer I knew a Christian couple who was getting married rather hurriedly.  To everyone it seemed rash. They didn’t seem ready and the intensity of their relationship caused them to act with disrespect towards others.  Some told me that I should pray they break up before the wedding. I found myself wondering how I knew it was God’s will they not get married. Maybe this marriage is what they both needed to grow. I began searching Scripture and found Ephesians 3:17 -19 – the verses about knowing the love of Christ. The actions of this couple demonstrated to me that they had issues and their hearts did not know the extent of Christ’s love. So this has become my prayer for them. They got married and I don’t know how they are doing but I know without a shadow of doubt that it is God’s will for them to know the love of Christ and that knowing this love will transform all their relationships.

Another situation is one that has been in my family for years – a certain saved person who is always full of negativity, whose life is just a mess. Always before I prayed for the outer situation; that this person would stop causing problems and stop being negative.  After so many years of praying this way I was tempted to say my prayers were unanswered. Once again I began searching Scripture. I know this person is saved so I pray Philippians 1:6 – knowing that God began the good work of salvation & that He is able to complete a good work in this person’s life.

Praying Scriptural promises over people gives strength to my prayer life. I no longer feel like I don’t know if I am praying God’s will, no longer do I question if or how He will answer. My focus has shifted because when I prayed without a Scriptural promise I was praying with my desired outcome behind the prayer. I wanted the couple not to get married because I thought that was best. I want the family member to stop being negative so my life will be less complicated. As I put God’s promises to these situations I took my human desires out of them.  I no longer think of prayers as being unanswered but wait on God who knows all things and works according to His timetable – whose ways are higher than my ways – who is able to bring His Word to pass!

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