We need to remember that when we pray to (talk to) (have a conversation with) God about something, asking Him to intervene to do something, to fill a need of whatever kind, that the reason we ask HIM to do something is that we realize that we (in and of ourselves as human beings) either can’t get it done, can’t see the WAY to get it done, or at least haven’t BEEN able to get it done.
Sometimes God will show us HOW to get it done, which I’ve found, many times, to be His most “instant” answers. Other times, God lets us know more about what His timing is for a physical answer.
There are MANY ways God answers prayer, but He ALWAYS answers.
Often, we haven’t renewed our souls (our minds, wills, and emotions) to listen to and make use of the answer(s) that God has already sent. Sometimes we simply don’t hear Him, because we haven’t LEARNED to listen to Him well. Learning those lessons takes time spent WITH God when you’re NOT petitioning Him for something. There’s really no way to learn HOW He answers, unless you DO spend significant time with Him, hearing His voice in general.
Years ago, I took the RHEMA Bible College correspondence course. I got to go through the same lessons that students at the actual school went through, but in my own home, and on my own time.
That was some of the best (very precious at the time) money I ever spent, and I learned some of the best lessons in my life.
One of the things I learned (which we were very specifically taught), is that once I ASK God for something (which I endeavor to keep scriptural in the first place), I make the DECISION to keep on talking to Him (praying to Him) (holding a similar conversation with Him) about the request, continuing to wait in faith, in the following manner.
I don’t ASK Him for the same thing over and over, and I don’t try to ALTER my prayer by changing my METHOD of prayer, or the time of day I pray, or by asking for less, etc., etc., etc.
I don’t go “squirming” to Him in the first place, and I don’t go “whining” to Him. If I have a need, I ask Him…EXPECTING TO EITHER HEAR THE ANSWER, OR RECEIVE IT PHYSICALLY, OR BOTH.
THEN…as time goes by (as sometimes it does), I will go back to Him to discuss the subject, but it is totally with the spirit of THANKFULNESS. I might say something like…
“Father God, I know I asked you about this a couple of days ago, and I know, that I know, that I know, that this is something that your Word says is OK to ask for, and is something that I need (or someone else needs–depending on whether or not I’m interceding for another person).
I haven’t heard an answer from you (that I know of…I know I may have missed it), and I haven’t seen any type of physical manifestation of the answer/item/event/etc.
I just want you to know, though, that I am continuing to THANK YOU for this, because I KNOW that your Word says, in 1 John 5:14-15 (New King James Version, punctuated by me):
This is the confidence that we have in you:
(A) If we ask anything, according to your will you [do] hear us.
(B) If we know that you [do] hear us–WHATEVER we ask–then we ALSO know that we [already] HAVE the petitions that we have asked of you.”
That’s called FAITH. Hebrews 11:1 says that Faith is the EVIDENCE of things we haven’t yet seen in the natural, but are still HOPING to see. Faith is something you have to bolster, sometimes. We do that by talking it out with God…not because we DON’T believe He already heard us, but because we believe He DID already hear us, and therefore, we set ourselves to TRUST Him.
James 1:2-8, says (paraphrased from the New King James Version):
…Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing (working out) (working through) of your faith produces patience. Remember to let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete–lacking nothing.
If any of you lacks wisdom (in other words, if you haven’t yet received the ANSWER to the ongoing dilemma, or the ITEM which you have been expecting to receive), let him ASK OF GOD–WHO GIVES TO ALL LIBERALLY AND WITHOUT REPROOF. It will [then] be given to him.
…BUT…let him ask IN FAITH (with no doubting) for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea–driven and tossed by the wind. Let not THAT man suppose that he will receive ANYTHING from the Lord, because he is a double-minded man–unstable in all his ways.
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In case you’re wondering about the “trials” in James 1:2, here’s a link that tells us what the Greek word really means, and puts it into context for the rest of James 1, and for 1 John 5.
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The point of all of this is…
(1) ASK God, who DOES hear you (He does live IN you, and He has ALREADY made you righteous–given you right-standing with Himself).
(2) Wait for the answer to manifest (either in your understanding or with an item or event).
(3) In FAITH, listen and watch for the answer to surface.
(4) If you feel that the answer (whichever way it should be manifesting) hasn’t yet been seen, after a time (remember…God’s timing is often quite different than our own), then feel free to THANK Him for the answer in another conversation on the same subject. There is NO NEED to ASK Him again (unless, perhaps, you have realized that you might have not been clear–from your heart–what it was you were requiring). He heard you the first time. Reveal and release your FAITH, by THANKING Him, and PRAISING Him. You WILL see the answer.
(5) DON’T give up! God is never late, whether we realize it or not.