The Bible plainly states that “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5.16b). In other words, God hears and answers the prayers of His children (Matthew 7.7-11). Even when the people who are asking are weak, weary and without hope, God still hears them. And not only hears them, but helps them, and gives them the strength to bear up and come safely through the worst the world has to offer.

Remember, in Christ, we can be “more than conquerors” (Romans 8.24-39).

In these days of COVID-19, it is obvious that many of us are praying daily for a very swift and sudden end to this chaos. This is our prayer so that we can get back to life as “usual.” But because we have yet to see many real and positive results from our prayers, we may be tempted to think that God is either not listening, or that our prayers as His children are not reaching Him for some reason or that He just doesn’t care.

Friends, if we are living in accordance with God’s word (as much as we possibly can), but have grown a bit weary and ready to give up praying because of a lack of seeing any real, positive, tangible results over this virus (or anything else for that matter), then understand this: Whenever we are seeing no positive results in response to our prayers, it does not mean that God is not listening; it simply means that God’s purpose has not yet been accomplished.

In Revelation 6.9-10 we read of the souls of the saints, slain for their faithfulness, who cried out this prayer from the altar, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth”? God’s answer was going to be “a little while longer,” because all He wanted was not yet “completed” (vs. 11).

What about the Apostle Paul? He repeatedly prayed that his “thorn in the flesh” would be removed. God apparently heard His prayer because He responded to it. But He did not remove Paul’s thorn because He had something far better in mind for Paul at the time (2 Corinthians 12.7-10).

Finally, there is Jesus – the perfect Son of the living God. He also prayed fervently that God might find another way for Him to secure our salvation other than the cross (Matthew 26.36-44). We know that God heard His prayers (Hebrews 5.7-8) and we also know that no matter how difficult the ordeal Jesus would have to endure (Hebrews 12.1-3), that God had millions of reasons why He simply could not answer His only begotten Son’s heartfelt prayer at the time… and you and I were one of those reasons (Romans 5.6-11, Galatians 3.26-27). We are eternally grateful that our Father was wise enough, and loving enough, to know when to say ‘No,’ even to His Son.

Shan Jackson is a minister at the Port Lavaca Church of Christ

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(1) comment

Glenn Wilson

"...it does not mean that God is not listening" -- It isn't possible to inform an all-knowing being of something it doesn't already know about. If God is an all-knowing being, as advertised, what does "listening" have to do with anything?

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