Does God answer prayer?
Yes. Does he always give the answer we want? No. How do we hear God’s answer? well there’s the question! Have you ever been praying and then you have a thought, then another, and another, and you’re all ‘one of these could be God, but how do I know for sure?’ Well, there’s a few ways we can check. I would argue that the number one way God answers prayer (for me, and I suspect for most), is through scripture. If I’m praying God may remind me of a proverb, a teaching, or just a random seemingly unrelated verse.
‘But how do I know that isn’t just a verse I thought of, or one the enemy put there to distract me?’ The word of God is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12), why would Satan remind you of the living, active and powerful word of God? Perhaps it is one you have been thinking of, but it is often the case that if scripture is brought to mind it’s because God wants to minister to you through it. But what if you hear loads of scriptures at once? Well go through them one by one, check the context of each so you do not misunderstand. Sometimes we pray to God to get through one issue, and He is more concerned with another, so even if the scripture does not seem relevant, be aware God can see more than what we can.
Sometimes God answers with a funny comment, direction or observation that comes and is not dissimilar to other thoughts. ‘But how do I know it isn’t my own? or one put there by the enemy?’ Well you can see if it aligns with Scripture. If the thought is ‘Tell this person they are horrible and you hate them, then punch them in their face’, it probably isn’t God. If the thought says ‘Ask this question’, or ‘Why are you asking this question?’ or something similar; if it’s an observation you may not have noticed, or a prompt to do or ask something (though it may be uncomfortable), it may well be God.
A recent answer to prayer I got was ‘There’s something wrong with your first page’. Turns out there was something wrong on the title page for my dissertation, and after this I heard again, ‘There’s something wrong on your first page’. Turns our my first actual page of writing had typos. A piece of advice that helped me greatly is this: if you aren’t sure if it’s God but think it might be, just Go with it. I do not think it is bad to try and follow God as best you can, but this is also why we need the bible, because God will never do anything against what he has already said or done. So listen and act on those things which come to you, don’t dismiss them so easily.
John 10:27 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me”.
At the very least write down what you think God is saying, and read it back the next day. You will be blessed by how much God speaks to us when we are listening. I think I will write more on hearing from God and prayer soon.
God bless you and keep you always.