I have been reading a lot about prayer lately, as I am seeking for answers and direction for my life, especially since lots of things are changing and are about to change.
One thing Jeremy pointed out to me before I went to church is how amazing it is to look back on the prayers that you requested for God to answer, and to see how things turned out. Aren't there some prayers that you are so glad that God did not answer the way you wanted him to? Looking back, you see now that what you were praying for was not in your best interest, you just couldn't see it at the time.
Maybe that is how things will be for me, in a couple years. I will look back on the things I have been asking of God now, and see that there were things that he answered and things that he did not, and those things were to my complete benefit, whether I know it now or not.
But there are also things that I have been asking God about as far as prayer, after reading a lot of James (specifically chapters 4 and 5)
God is the only one who answers our prayers, that I understand.
It is my understanding that God does not answer prayers exactly the way that we are asking for them all the time.
If we go to Him in faith, and it is his will things come to pass that we are requesting, it will be answered. Those situations may not come about how we planned it in our minds, but according to God's purpose and plan and what he wants to do with our lives.
It is also my understanding that there are times where we think that God chooses not to answer our prayer, for whatever reason.
You may ask for something, but instead, you get something else, or, you get nothing at all that has to do with what you are asking for.
Who can completely understand why God chooses not to give things to people, people who are close to him, people who are fervently seeking him?
One example I have thought of lately is healing.
There are people that pray for healing that God heals.
There are people that pray for healing that God chooses not to heal.
There has been a frustration that boils up in me when I hear people say, "they weren't healed because they did not pray enough, their faith was not strong enough, they did not believe God enough, they were not close enough to God....."
What if they were as close to God as they could possibly get, and still God chose not to heal them from the sickness that the enemy had placed on them?
Isn't it up to God to decide why he is going to heal someone, and why he may not?
We can believe with all our heart, soul,and mind that God can heal us of our sicknesses, and I still believe that in choosing to believe him, that alone strengthens our faith. But, there is still that realization that God is God, that he chooses, and he just may choose not to do something, plain and simple. He may show us why, he may not. But that is part of continuing to seek the Lord and to ask him questions and to seek guidance for your life. To persevere, even when you are struggling through the battle, even when you are facing the pain of life.