No this is not another article about how a trial changed a life. This is about a lesson from an actual storm from last night.
I got home last night in the late afternoon and right before I got out of the car I heard there were storms on the way. Normally this would not phase me too much except that it had been really hot and humid and the sun was shining. For those of you who are weather buffs like me, you know that that can be a recipe for a nasty storm.
So I went inside and checked the ‘net. Turns out they were right a long line of red on the radar and heading right for our house. I told my wife what was up then, I went to clean up all the toys in the yard and prepare for a lot of wind and rain. In the process I prayed, “Lord please protect us and keep us safe.” This same storm had done alot of damage in the Chicago area and was now headed our way. I was concerned.
As we sat down for dinner, I informed my kids that the storm was coming and it could be a big one. They were excited. The time the storm was projected to hit came and no storm. I went to check the news, which was talking all about the huge approaching storm, and when they showed the radar, I was shocked.
I ran back to the dinner table and had to tell everyone what had happened. I said, “The red on the radar has split and went around our house! God does answer our prayers!.” Turns out my wife said the same prayer as I did and when the storm hit it lasted maybe 5 minutes with about a minute of high winds, while north and south of us it was much worse.
The question that hit me shortly after this was, “Why am I surprised that God answered my and my wife’s prayer?”
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” – Matthew 7:7-8
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. – James 1:5-6
These two passage make it clear that when we are following God’s will for our lives and we ask for something in prayer God will grant it.
There are three stipulations to answering prayer in the passages/statement above. The first is clearly stated in the Matthew 7:7-8 passage, “Ask and You shall receive…For everyone who asks receives” You need to “ASK.” Yes God can read your thoughts but He wants you to ask him directly.
The second stipulation is found in the James 1:5-6 passage. “But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt.” We need to believe, with all our heart, that God can and wants to answer our prayers. Not only should we believe, we need to expect that God will answer our prayer. Matthew 7:11 says,
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
The third point is that we need to be living our lives in such a way that we are totally focused and (for lack of a better word) obsessed with God. I’m not just talking about living this way on Sunday but 24/7 and 365 days a year. Every breath we breathe, every thing we do needs to be in line with God’s will.
Our whole focus needs to be on “Fearing God and Keeping His commands” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). We need to always be doing, saying or thinking things that bring glory to God (even when no one is looking!!).
It is clear in scripture that God will always give us an answer for the things we ask in prayer. If we are living in line with His will, many times we will be granted what we ask for because it is good for us and God wants to give us good things.
Sometimes God answers with a “wait” and it is important to realize that this is not a “no”. This is His way of saying “the time is not right yet.”
God will not grant our requests if He determines that they are not good or not in line with His purpose or plan for our lives. He wants the best for us and sometimes getting the best means saying no to some of the good.
With the storm, I believe that God honored the prayers of my wife and I to protect our family. He wanted to give us that blessing because He loves us like a father loves His children. God will do the same for you when you ask for those things that are good.