Are you waiting for God to do something in your life? Is God providing in your time of need? Is He intervening in your relational problems? Has He brought healing to your life?
You have probably heard of various reasons why your prayers are not being answered. Some typical answers from Christians are, “It just isn’t God’s time,” or, “God is waiting to see if you continue to trust Him, praying until you receive.” Some harsher reasons might be, “You don’t have enough faith; you have to really believe,” or “There is sin in your life and you have to get rid of it first.” We also hear more biblical reasons such, “You aren’t asking for the right things.”
Jesus told His disciples about one key to answered prayer. If we are crying out to God and aren’t seeing results, we take a moment to see if this key is part of our lives.
We know about the Last Supper that Jesus ate with the Disciples on the night He was arrested. We hear about the Disciples who went with Him to pray in the Garden but fell asleep instead. We read about Jesus’ betrayal in the Garden. But between the meal and the Garden, Jesus walked and talked with His Disciples.
The Gospel of John records some of Jesus’ words in this time gap that is often forgotten. “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you” (John 15:7 NIV). What is Jesus saying? Before God will answer our prayers, we have to remain or abide in Jesus Christ.
I am amazed by the number of people who want God to work in their lives but give Him very little of themselves. They avoid going to church, choosing instead to carry a book full of excuses and reasons why they do not have to be there. They do not read their Bibles, or they skip over the stuff that does not fall into the category of a promise. They avoid Christian fellowship outside of church, choosing to fill their time with personal pursuits.
But how quickly do they expect God to answer their every prayer, to fulfill their every need? And when God does not answer their prayers, they come to the conclusion that He is not real or that He does not care about them. They believe that God has to earn their devotion, that He has to fulfill some great work before they will enter into a relationship with Him.
This is not the plan that God has set for relationship and provision. Our relationship should not be based on His provision because His provision is based on our relationship. Jesus said in another place, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:33 NLT).
Do you think it unfair that God requires you to be in Him before He will answer your prayers? Do you believe that He should do some great thing before you will take that step? Do not forget two things. (1) God is God, and He makes the rules. He is greater than us, and we live by the rules, because only He is worthy to make the rules. (2) God already a greater work than you could ever expect of Him. “But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him” (Romans 5:8 MSG).
Are you waiting for God to work in your life? Do you desperately need Him to intervene in the situation you are facing? God wants to provide for you, He wants to work His power in your need. But when we are unwilling to give Him our lives, refusing to seek after His Kingdom and really know Him, are we limiting His ability to touch us. We hold Him at arm’s length and He cannot act on our behalf like He wants to. Only the life that is surrendered to Him is eligible for God to work unhindered to its benefit.
“If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7 AMP).