Why God answers our prayers
Dear BPCWAians, We thank God for the people who have been coming to the weekly Tuesday night prayer meetings. It is encouraging to see adults coming after a long day of toil, be it at work or at home, families bringing their children although there is school the next day, students coming even though it is exam time, and some grandparents coming as well, making 3 generations present. But what has been the result of prayer meetings?
Will God really answer our prayers? The church makes a prayer list of things to pray for the church and for each other since God exhorts us to be “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Eph 6:18). Sometimes, I wonder if and fear that people get tired and wonder why they are repeating the same prayers week after week in the prayer list given out. Some prayers have been there for months. Yet I know that as a church, we cannot falter in obeying Ephesians 6:18. And then, we get news about God having answered the prayers which our prayer meetings have been bringing before God. Sometimes, God answers after a long wait, but in some instances, quite soon. Recently, we have been hearing testimonies of God answering prayers we raise to Him at our prayer meetings in marvellous ways. For example, jobless ones get jobs, visas get approved even while others are rejected in these tight times, and the job situation at work improves. When we were at the crossroads and did not know how to choose and we prayed, God even caused one of the architects to back out from our church extension project. God chose for us in answer to prayers. We prayed for months regarding Rev Paul’s father who had 4th stage lung cancer and he is now in remission.
These are truly very encouraging testimonies of God’s answers at our prayer meetings. But should we be encouraged and be glad only when we see and hear how God has answered our prayers based upon what we pray? If that is the case, then we need to understand better why God answers our prayers.
Why does God answer prayer? We should come to prayer meetings to pray for BPCWA and for each other because our Lord is a God who answers prayers and He invites us to come to Him, “O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come” (Ps 65:2). But we must come with the right understanding and correct attitude about why we want God to answer our prayers, and why God answers our prayers. There is a church in Singapore which causes massive traffic jams on Saturdays, requiring the traffic police to be present to regulate flow before and after their church sessions. The reason is the belief of some that if they were to go and pray consecutively for a number of weeks for whatever they wanted, it will surely be answered. So people go there repeatedly because of this. Yes, God answers prayers, but we need to understand why He answers, and hence why you come to prayer meetings. God answers prayers because of His own glory. The chief end of all that happens in our lives is meant for His glory. So God answers prayers for that end purpose. Our Lord Jesus explained this in John 14:13-14 , “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (14) If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it”. The purpose is “that the Father may be glorified in the Son”. We cannot read the first part of verse 13 and ignore the rest.
The aim of His Son is to glorify Him. Hence whatever we ask in Jesus’ Name that will glorify the Father, Jesus will definitely do it. That is what it means to end our prayers in Jesus Name. We come only through His Son Jesus Christ, and ask only that which is congruent with what the Lord Jesus desires.
Why do you want God to answer your prayers? Why should we be glad when God answers our prayers and hence be encouraged to come for prayer meetings even more consistently? Our rejoicing when prayers are answered must be in line with the purpose of answers to prayer in Christ’s High Priestly prayer to His Father in John 17. He taught us to pray “Hallowed be thy name” (Matt 6:9). Our rejoicing and coming to pray must not be for our own selfish end. Why do you pray for anything regarding BPCWA or each other? Why do you pray for your own life, for a job, for your spouse or children, for your studies, for your health, to obtain any physical possessions? It must be first and foremost and ultimately for His glory. Hence whether or not we obtain the answers we hoped for in prayer, we should rejoice as long as God is glorified in how He chose to respond to our prayers.
So how should we pray when we bring up any item for prayer to God before His Throne? God willing, we shall consider this next week.
Yours in our Lord’s service