How do I know when God has answered my prayer? This is a question I get frequently, and which is not unlike the question that many Biblical characters asked as well. The Bible makes it clear that there is not one way that God responds to our needs, but that we can be assured of one thing: that God will respond to each and every one of our needs.

The Biblical record shows that God puts no limits to the ways in which He will communicate with His creation. Here are a few examples. Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth had been unable to conceive. One evening while burning incense on the altar, God spoke to Zechariah in the form of an angel. The angel said, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, your prayer has been answered. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son." (Luke 1:13) In another well known example, the Apostle Paul had been facing threats due to his vigorous preaching of the gospel. God responded to Paul’s pleas for help in the form of a vision, in which He spoke the following words: "Do not be afraid, keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you." (Acts 18:9-10) The Bible also records times that God chose to write on a wall (Daniel 5:5-9), light a fire (Exodus 3:2), orchestrate dreams (Genesis 28:10-22; 37:5-10; 40:5; 41:7-8; Isaiah 1:1; Matthew 1:20; 2:12-13), or make a donkey speak (Numbers 22:21-35), to get our attention.

From this Biblical witness we can be sure of God’s commitment to communicate with you and me. We can also be assured that God will continue to speak to us, through his son Jesus Christ. As the author of Hebrews wrote, "In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son."(Hebrews 1:1-2) Jesus Christ will make His presence known to you, in this you can be assured. What form that will take for you or for me will only be known when it happens. Our job in the meantime is to focus our attention on the truth of God‘s Word and His ability to present Himself to us in ways that are outside the bounds of our rationalized world. This will make us ready to accept God’s communications with us in whatever form they may come and will enable us to honor the call of the Holy Spirit, who says: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts." (Hebrews 3:7-8)