But how will we know if God is requiring a specific step of obedience as part of His answer to prayer? Many times, it will already be written in the Word of God. There are thousands of verses in Scripture that begin with “if you will…”, followed with “then I will…”. God has already made His pathways known to us in many instances (for example, read Leviticus 26 or Deuteronomy 28).
At other times, we may “hear” within our heart the Lord prompting us to take a certain action after we have prayed. This will ALWAYS be in agreement with the Word of God. God will never contradict Himself, and say something different than what He has already revealed through His Word.
At these times we must step carefully and submit our direction to God, patiently allowing His peace and provision to lead us. We can also submit our situation to godly counselors and ask for their help.
There may be times when we pray, and it seems that God is asking us simply to wait for Him and do nothing. That can be the hardest thing of all!
WAIT UPON THE LORD
The most important thing to remember is that we are to remain humble and submitted to God in all matters of prayer. We are never to try and force situations or people to change by our own strength or impatience. We should be willing to wait upon the Lord, and trust His timing for the answer. We must also be willing to obey if God asks us to take an action as part of His answer.
PARTNERSHIP WITH GOD
There may be times when we have prayed earnestly for a person, and yet we have not seen any change. We may be tempted to think our prayers are not making a difference.
Be assured that God does respond to prayer. However, God will never violate a person’s free will or force them to do what He desires. He has not created people to be puppets or robots. We are created with the ability to make choices.
So, although you may be praying for someone according to the will of God, the person you are praying for may still choose to reject God and His attempts to draw them to Himself.
For example, you may be praying every day for someone to get saved. You know this is the will of God, for “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2Pet 3:9).
As you pray, God will go into action to draw the person to Himself. But the person can still choose to reject God and His love, or to reject the laborers God directs to their path. However, keep praying for them!
God has made it clear in His Word that He desires us to come to Him regularly in prayer. He has also given us clear warnings about the things that can block the effectiveness of our prayers: sin, unforgiveness, ungodly motives, doubt, and fleshly actions.