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The Prayers God Will Always Answer
"If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you." John 15:7, NRSV
Do Prayers Go Unanswered?
God answers all prayers, but the answer might not be what you hoped it would be. You might ask God for something in prayer, and then He doesn’t seem to answer. But simply because He did not give you what you ask does not mean that He didn’t answer your prayer. Instead, see that He might have something else in store for you entirely.
God will always answer your prayer, but to recognize it, you have to be open to whatever the answer may be - it might come in a way you did not expect.
Just this week, I was praying for an opportunity to serve God more. By day, I run a small IT business, but my heart wants to work for God full-time. Part of that time will be writing and creating content, such as videos for YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram, and the rest of the time will be spiritual direction.
The reality is that making a living off that combination can be difficult, and with multiple mouths to feed, I assumed that I will always work in IT - at least part-time. But recently, God has put it on my heart to seek part-time work in ministry. Why not devote all of my time to God in some fashion?
So I started praying, and it didn’t take God long to answer.
Align Your Heart to God’s
St. Ignatius believed that the key to answered prayer was aligning your heart with God’s. He said,
“Our one desire and choice should be what is more conducive to the end for which we are created.” - St. Ignatius of Loyola, The Spiritual Exercises (23)
First, you must understand the “end for which we are created.” Simply put, to love and have a relationship with God, so your primary goal should be to focus on growing closer to Him.
Ignatius is simply reflecting what can be seen in Scripture. The Gospel of John tells us,
“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” - John 15:7, NRSV
If your desires are to grow closer to God, your prayers will reflect that, and they will then align with God’s will. Essentially, God’s will becomes your will, and when you pray, your prayers will be answered - because God’s will is always done.
The next day, after I gave my prayer to God - asking that His will be done in my life to serve Him in whatever way He chooses - I received an email. Someone I just recently met from church wrote, “We have an opening on staff here. Wondered if you might be interested?” It was the part-time position in ministry that I had prayed for.
Where Do His Answers Lead Us?
My immediate response to that email was excitement. I prayed, and God answered. But did He? Is it a definitive answer? Will this new position be the answer to that prayer I made just a day prior?
Time will tell.
There’s still a lot to discern. I have to figure out if the position being offered is a good fit financially and with my schedule. They still have to discern whether or not I am the right candidate for the job. So the answer may not be as simple as what I had first imagined from those initial feelings rushed over me.
But if nothing else, whether in this position or one I have yet to find, God did answer my prayer by showing me that a position like this is a real possiblity. That sense of joy I felt from the beginning helps me to know that I am on the right path, and by aligning my heart with His, I can feel that it is God’s will to continue seeking a position until I find one (although a part of me deeply hopes this might be the one).
Not my will, Lord, but yours.
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