The first post I ever posted on this blog was how to pray. It wasn’t a ‘mistake’ that I chose to give a guideline on how to conduct personal prayers when clearly my blog is all about memoirs and personal opinions (the way I see it). It is something I did, to honour the presence of God in my life, because my life-who I am-revolves around Him. My thoughts; the essence of who I am is based on my faith. So when all’s said and done, everything comes down to my relationship with God.
In ‘how to pray’, I mentioned that one shouldn’t expect immediate results as that could dampen one’s faith if a prayer isn’t answered immediately. One crucial fact a person should always have in mind is that God’s answer to our prayers could be YES, WAIT or NO.
In Luke 11: 1-4, Jesus taught His disciples how to pray- The Our Father Prayer. It is basically a prayer that’s short and precise. Then Jesus went ahead to tell them how they should be persistent in their prayer; in Luke 11:5-13 He says to them, “Suppose one of you should go to a friend’s house at midnight and say to him, ‘friend let me borrow three loaves of bread. A friend of mine who is on a trip has just come to my house and I don’t have food for him!’
And I suppose your friend should answer from inside, ‘Don’t bother me!’ The door is already locked and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ Well, what then? I tell you that even if he will not get up and give you the bread because you are his friend, he will get up and give you everything you need because you are not ashamed to keep on asking.
And so I say to you: Ask, and you will receive; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks will receive, and he who seeks will find, and the door will be opened to anyone who knocks.
Would any of you who are fathers give your son a snake when he asks for fish? Or would you give him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? As bad as you are, you know how to give good things to your children. How much more, then, will the Father in Heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”
Jesus teaches us to pray with persistence and with hope. Our prayers will be answered; that’s His promise. One would wonder then, why even after all this-Jesus encouraging people to ask, and they shall receive… would God the Father still deny us some of the things we ask for? Why would God say NO?
God is infinitely wise; He’s omniscient; if He knows whatever one is asking for will bring them harm, He will say NO. He loves us too much to give us things He knows would hurt us.
If one is asking for a problem e.g. an illness, anxiety, financial problems, etc. to be taken away and God knows that in His mysterious ways the particular problem will help one achieve salvation. For instance, in Matthew 26: 39 when Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane praying, shortly before He was arrested He threw Himself face downward on the ground, and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, take this cup of suffering from me! Yet not what I want, but what You want”.
He was asking God not to allow Him to go through the intense pain and torture He knew awaited Him-it had been written in the scriptures. But even though He is God’s only begotten Son, The Father didn’t grant Him that prayer; because He knew His Son would achieve so much more in death. To date, we celebrate the fact He conquered death; it gives us hope. If He didn’t die, we would be telling an entirely different story.
God will say NO, if one isn’t doing much to make the situation better. If a student is praying for success in their examinations, they should revise; if a farmer is praying for an abundant harvest, he must sow…one should give God something to work with. Our faith must be in sync with our actions.
God will say NO, if one isn’t being persistent in prayer. Jesus teaches us to pray without ceasing; the prayer might not be answered instantly, but eventually it will be. If one wants something, they should pray for it in faith, believing that they will find what they seek. Sometimes it is difficult to hold on, but one should keep the faith. In the bible, the story of Isaac’s birth, Samuel’s birth, Jacob’s marriage to Rachel… this stories are all about faith and persistence…