“Pay attention, God, to my prayer; bend down and listen to my cry for help. Every time I’m in trouble I call on you, confident that you’ll answer.”
Psalm 86: 6, 7
“Answer” – A correct response. A spoken or written solution to a problem.
Is there a specific request in my life that I am asking God to answer?
“We must understand, that even though God doesn’t always give us what we want, He gives us what we need for our salvation.”
Augustine of Hippo
No prayer unanswered is,
If He say ‘yes’, ‘tis well,
Or He answer ‘wait’
Rest suppliant at his gate.
He never answers ‘no’,
But that in time,
Some richer fuller gift is thine.
Many years ago, when my husband and I had not been married very long and we knew for certain we could not have children of our own, I was having a discussion with my dad one day. It was one of those conversations you remember years later even knowing exactly where you were and what you were doing.
I was lamenting the fact we couldn’t have children and my father was being extremely sympathetic and then he said, “Dorothy, never forget that God NEVER shuts one door without opening another that is so much better for us.”
I didn’t appreciate what he meant by that statement. But now, time has passed and looking back, I recognize how very right my father was. What I had seen as a tragedy in my life became God’s opportunity for my husband and me to step into the gap throughout the years and help other children who needed our time and love.
This is why I find the quotation at the beginning of the “Inspiration” section today so enlightening.
Sometimes when we pray, it is as if an answer comes from Heaven and it’s distinct and immediate. No clarification is needed. We know exactly what God wants us to do. This reminds me of the children of Israel and the way God responded in giving answers by the Urim and Thummim - unspecified articles used when the high priest asked God for His counsel for all of Israel. The answer of what God’s will for the people was would be shown by the illumination of one or the other of these symbolic objects. Have you ever wished you had your own special sign from God to clear up any questions as to how you should proceed regarding a certain matter? I know I have!
Especially when what you are praying for doesn’t receive a “yes” or “no” answer. As our “Inspirational” quote says, though, God may answer “yes.” But, as often in the case of David, He says, “Wait, this is going to take some time.” Eighteen times in the Psalms David says, “I wait upon the Lord.” I’ve learned that God always, yes always, has a good reason for letting me wait for His answer. Sometimes it just takes time for plans to work in God’s time and way. Let me explain. Have you ever tried to bake something faster by turning the oven temperature higher than the recipe calls for hoping against hope that what you’re cooking will hurry up and be done? I did this one Christmas with a loaf I was making with cottage cheese in it. I figured if I turned up the oven heat a little, the loaf would cook faster and meet my dinner timeline. What I didn’t realize was that the longer cooking time helped to evaporate the water content in the cottage cheese. Boy, did I have a runny mess on my hands when my “famous dish” looked cooked to perfection on top and was a liquid disaster on the inside. And please, note it’s our “inside” God is most concerned about when He answers our prayers. He doesn’t just want everything to look good on the outside. While I am waiting for His process to work, He is evaporating my impatience and my demanding spirit and my willful ways and replacing those undesirable qualities with patience in His divine plan and a longing for God’s guidance in my life. This is why, even when God says, “Wait,” I’ve found that He always has a great reason and it usually involves preparing my life and my heart for His spectacular answer. I love the words of R. E. Cleeve, “God never answers, ‘No.’ But that in time, some richer fuller gift is thine.”
It may be at this moment, God has you, like a plane circling a foggy airport, in a waiting or holding pattern. It doesn’t mean that down on the ground, underneath the blanket of heavy fog that has blotted out the runway, God isn’t busy working, getting everything ready for the perfect moment when the clouds lift and light penetrates the darkness that has surrounded your life. Your answer will be there – and it will be what’s best for you! God has promised!
Every Prayer Contains An Answer
“She prayed, but to her prayer no answer came,
And choked within her sank her ardour’s flame;
No more she prayed, no more the knee she bent,
While round her darkened doubt and discontent;
‘Til in her room, one eve, there shone a light,
And she beheld an angel-presence bright,
Who said, ‘O faint heart, why hast thou resigned
Praying, and no more callest God to mind?’
‘I prayed’, she said, ‘but no one heard my prayer,
Long disappointment has induced despair’.
Said the angel, ‘every prayer of thine,
Of God’s immense compassion was a sign,’
Each cry of thine, ‘O Lord’, itself contains
The answer, ‘Here am I’; the very pains,
Ardour, and love and longing, every tear,
Are His attraction, prove Him very near,
The cloud dispersed; once more I prayed
Nor ever failed to find my needed aid.”
Adapted from a Prayer
Give ear to my cry, Eternal Word,
and answer me,
for I am in need of You.
Awaken new life in me, as I yearn
to do your will;
dispel the ignorance of my ways,
as I put my trust in You.
You are the Beloved; be gracious to me,
Heart of my heart,
for with You would I walk all day.
My soul is uplifted, as I abandon
myself into your hands.
For You are kind and forgiving,
abounding in steadfast love to all
who call upon You.
Give ear to my prayer, Compassionate One;
listen to my heartfelt plea.
In the time of trouble, I dare to
call upon You,
You hear the cry of those
No one is like You, O Mighty One,
all of creation belongs to You.
All the nations are under your authority
and, one day,
they will acknowledge and reverence
they will give glory to your Name.
For You are great; we are awed by the
wonders of your world,
You alone are the Most High.
Teach me Your ways, Mighty Counselor,
that I may walk in truth;
write my name upon your heart.
I give You thanks, O Beloved,
with my whole being;
Oh, that I might radiate your Light
Great is your steadfast Love toward
those who call upon You;
You deliver their souls from
the depths of despair.
O Beloved, numerous fears rise up
like an army they seek to
overwhelm me, and
they would keep me in darkness.
Yet You are merciful and gracious,
ready to forgive and
abounding in steadfast love
Be present to me and receive my prayer;
imbue me with strength, and
help me to release each fear.
Pour forth your Light into my soul,
that all that is hidden in
may come forth into awareness.
For You, O Beloved, are my Redeemer
and my Comforter.
Nan C. Merrill
Psalms for Praying
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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