Is There A Secret Formula for Answered Prayer?

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God is a merciful God who listens to His children. He wants them to be productive, healthy and living to their full potential. And so, He calls us to pray. He invites us to bring our needs, our desires, and our wants to Him. He especially loves when we bring the needs of others into His throne room. He lavishes good gifts upon us. He rejoices with us as we share testimonies of answered prayer with others.

However, not every prayer we pray or every need we bring to our loving Father is always answered in the way we would want, and this can be confusing. How could a loving God refuse His children anything that they would ask?

I have the blessing of overseeing an Internet ministry since 1996 and for many years, I invited people to submit prayer requests from around the world. I rejoiced with those who gave thanks for miraculously changed circumstances, healings, and salvations as a result of their prayer requests. I have witnessed amazing miracles in my local church through prayer. I am the first to testify of the goodness of God and regularly share stories of answered prayer in my local church and over Social Media.

However, I must make it clear that I have yet to find a money-back guaranteed method or a step by step guide on how to pray the magic-bullet type of prayer that sees instantaneous results every time.

I suspect God has a good reason for not giving us a fool-proof prayer instructional manual, and I suspect that reason is God desires a personal relationship with His children. He wants them to be dependent on Him and not a method. God longs for a heart to heart relationship with His children. From Genesis to Revelation, He demonstrated His undying passion and fierce determination to woo our hearts to His. God knew that if He were to place a “Dummies Guide to Getting What You Want From God.” into our hands, our focus would be on the formula and not on Him.

God ALWAYS has our best interests at heart. He wants us whole and healed. He longs for us to know His love and to spread that love in practical ways to the world around us. It is never His will that we go hungry or become entangled in the chains of mind-numbing debt. It is never His will that we would be homeless or live without the necessities of life. Because He created us, He knows every dream, longing, and desire that is in our hearts. His heart breaks at our heartbreak. His ultimate aim is to see captives of injustice, addictions, bitterness, and loneliness walk in freedom. He finds no pleasure in seeing anyone suffer.

God created us to be in fellowship with Him, and He knows that prayer is the most effective way that we commune with Him. Contrary to some beliefs, God doesn’t find much joy from seeing His children beg, plead, and bend over backward in hopes of getting an answer from Him. It tears His heart to see His children reach about in the dark, hoping that somehow they stumble across the right combination of words that will finally open the door to answered prayer. Prayer was never meant to be a stab in the dark.

I have learned a few things as I’ve walked with the Lord for 40 years, but I still have much to learn, and I don’t have all the answers. However, I do know this: when I stand on the foundational truths that God is good, God cares, and God’s hopes and dreams for myself, my loved ones and the world around me are better than anything I could dream or imagine, I am on the right track.

If I may, I would like to offer some insights about prayer that I learned over the years.

Keys to Answered Prayer

1. Surrender to this truth: God’s ways are not always our ways.

Isaiah 55:9 – “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

God has a unique advantage over us. He is infinite, and we are not. He knows our past better than we do, He understands our present circumstances, and He sees our potential future. In contrast, we view the past, present, and future with our finite minds and broken hearts. When we are in crisis mode, we barely see beyond our nose. The deeper our emotional, physical, or spiritual pain, the less we see through an objective lens. When we trust that God’s ways are perfect, we don’t have to rely on our limited understanding.

The best way to know God’s ways is to know His Heart. And just like any relationship, the best way to get to know God is to spend time with Him. Dedicate daily time set aside in prayer and Bible study, find a Bible-believing church, and stay in fellowship with other Christians.

Is there some sort of secret code or formula that will guarantee consistently answered prayer if the steps are followed correctly?It is of no use to ask God to do something that would go against His character. He does not hide His character from us; it is written on the pages of the Bible. Yes, He freely gives us many avenues to know His heart. And if we pray in agreement with His character and heart, how could He not answer!

For example. A young woman desperately wants Mr. Right to notice her and to fall in love with her. She believes he is ‘the one’ but he doesn’t seem to know that she is ‘his one.’ And so she goes before the Lord, demanding that He makes ‘the one’ fall in love with her. After all, she’s SURE she’s meant to be the one for him, and she’s positive he’ll make her the happiest girl on the planet. Every time she sees that young man in church, her heart just goes all a flutter, and that has to be God, right?

God rarely answers such a prayer in the way that the girl might want. He can see, just by her prayer, that this girl needs to mature before she’s ready to commit to a loving  relationship. If the girl were to ask for God’s highest ideal for this young man, even if that good holds the possibility of leading that young man away from her, God would delight in responding to a prayer born from such unselfish love.

Another example: A wife walks away from an abusive marriage, seeking separation. The husband complains to God that divorce is sinful, and therefore, it is in his right to demand that God brings his wife back to him. God sees the overall picture and knows that a work must take place in the husband’s heart before he would be able to cherish the gift God originally intended her to be to him.

2 Be patient and trust that the Lord will bring forth His highest good into the situations that we bring to Him. While God does bring instant and immediate responses to many of our prayers, I have found that persistent, consistent prayer is needed more times than not. Surrender anxiety to Him. Often, God needs to bring about a heart change in an person or situation that can only be brought forth through a longer process than we would like. There are times He will call us to fast for a situation, but fasting should never be used to ‘twist God’s arm.’ Fasting helps us to remember that at our weakest, He is strongest. Fasting is a powerful tool in spiritual warfare and often will provide that nudge to see breakthrough and answered prayer.

3. Be willing to do your part. If you are in debt because of poor spending habits, credit card addictions and poor financial planning, humble yourself and seek professional help and counsel from those who manage their money well. If you have sinned, admit your sin, accept the Lord’s forgiveness, then do what you can do to bring restitution. It is not our place to expect others to forgive us; we can only offer a heartfelt apology. However, our God is the God of second chances. He can bring healing to our hearts even when there is no hope of reconciliation with those we have offended. God is more than willing to come alongside us and help us as we reach out to Him for help. He only asks us to ask.

4. Remain in a position of trust and be diligent to keep up a healthy relationship with the Lord even when your prayer request is met by silence, ‘no’ or ‘wait’. Deep disappointment, frustration, and confusion are natural responses when situations become worse; lives are still shattered, and prayers seem to go unheard. However, those who learn to press on through doubt see the most victory. They know His heart and declare His goodness, despite their circumstances.

If you are looking for a guaranteed formula that will result in consistently answered prayer, you will be sorely disappointed. God wants your heart, and He will do anything to capture it, including rejecting your attempts to manipulate Him by quoting scriptures, naming it and claiming it and any other method that does away with spending time seeking God’s heart in the matter.

God delights in blessing His children. Bring the burdens of your heart without manipulation or selfish expectation and He will work miracles on your behalf.

Further Resources:

Encouraging Bible Verses
Another website I created that is home to hundreds of Bible verses organized by subject.

Daily Christian Quotes
Examples of prayers written or spoken by modern-day Christians and by our brothers and sisters in Christ who went before us.

BibleGateway.Com Find dozens of Bible translations, a search engine, bible reading plans and study aids here.

Bible Verses on Remaining Steadfast

© 2016 Katherine Walden
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