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My great grandfather was impatient for answered prayer in his horse and buggy day. He wanted and needed rain for his crops. I am impatient today and I want and need a new bass boat! I don't believe the timing of how quickly we expect a prayer to be answered has changed so much as the objects of our prayers. We have gadgets and apps for nearly everything and the advertisers know just how to push our need- it -now button. Our "human factor" has not changed a bit--just the availability of more material possessions and wealth and the belief that these things will give us true life. I recently watched a Hollywood starlet in angry tears when the court ruled that her divorce settlement would only give her $360,000.00 per year for the rest of her life. "Elijah was just as human as we are, and for three and a half years his prayers kept the rain from falling. But when he did pray for rain, it fell from the skies and made the crops grow." (James 5:17) "My friends, be patient until the Lord returns. Think of farmers who wait patiently for the spring and summer rains to make their valuable crops grow. Be patient like those farmers and don't give up." (James 5:7-8) Perhaps we Christians are impatient, more because of selfish ambition. Christians can be influenced and infected by greed too. "You want something you don't have, and you will do anything to get it. You will even kill! But you still cannot get what you want, and you won't get it by fighting and arguing. You should pray for it. Yet even when you do pray, your prayers are not answered, because you pray just for selfish reasons." (James 4:2-3) Often we are impatient because we think persistence is an ugly word. "Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened for you." (Matthew 7:7) Are we impatient because we miss the principle of "others"? "As bad as you are, you still know how to give good gifts to your children. But your heavenly Father is even more ready to give good things to people who ask. Treat others as you want them to treat you. This is what the Law and the Prophets are all about." (Matthew 7:11-12) Do we not know that our prayers must be perpetual, preceded by joy? "Always be joyful and never stop praying." Our prayers do not rely on any one result or preference but do require an attitude of thankfulness. "Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ." We often ask, "What is my part and what is God's part?" We just read our part: Be joyful, Be persistent, Be thankful no matter the outcome. "This is what God wants you to do." (I Thessalonians 5:16-18) Could it be that hatred and un-forgiveness is the clog in our prayer pipe? At the close of the Lord's model prayer he said, "If you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, your Father in heaven will forgive you. But if you don't forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins." (Matthew 5:14) Hey men, being thoughtful and showing honor are a must. "If you are a husband, you should be thoughtful of your wife. Treat her with honor, because she isn't as strong as you are, and she shared with you in the gift of life. Then nothing will stand in the way of your prayers." (I Peter 3-7) Finally, love and obedience are prerequisites that not only determine whether our prayers are answered or not, they actually form the legitimate requests we make by reforming and re defining our desires. God is always growing us to the place where we ask for what he wants to give! "He will give us whatever we ask, because we obey him and do what pleases him." (I John 3:22) --To walk with the Lord, to abide in him as friend with friend is to feel his heart (John 15:4-5) --To read his word daily is to grow by it and thus learn his heart (II Timothy 3:16) --To submit to the Lord as Master is to do his heart. (Luke 6:46-49) --To wait on the Lord is to know his peace, strength and song (Psalm 40 1-3) (Matthew 6:33) says it all. Peace to you.
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