Are we in tune with God? Are we really paying attention when He is telling us to stay in the relationship we are in, or when He tells us we should break up (even if we think the relationship has potential)? Learn with this relationship advice a few tips on how to understand the different ways God speaks to us and if God always answers our prayers.
Dear Jim: Do you think you have to have a definite “yes” or “no” from God on relationships?
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:31 ‘Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.’ This is certainly applicable to relationships.
While this statement is certainly true, I find some singles discern this to mean that God will send a strong feeling or some voice from Heaven, etc. to signal when the ‘right one’ arrives. My concern is that the right one may have come and the single was ‘looking’ when they should have been ‘listening’.
One of the awesome features of our relationship with God is the fact that He speaks with us. His voice is not always a direct one and this is where I believe some may miss His guidance. In Numbers 22 the Bible advice us that God actually opened the mouth of a donkey (okay – they called it an ass) to speak to Balaam.
How does God speak to us?
There are many ways but here are a few that He often uses:
- The Bible: The Word is a ‘living Word‘ and God speaks directly to us through it.
- His Spirit: When Christ left this earth, He told the disciples that the Holy Spirit would guide them into all truth. (John 16:13). His Spirit is in every believer today and continues to guide us – if we allow Him.
- Other Believers: Proverbs shares that where there is no wise guidance, the people fall. However, there is wisdom in the multitude of counsellors. We NEED each other. This is why you find me sharing over and over again to build strong support/accountability groups of the same gender.
- Events: Sometimes events in our lives leave little doubt that God is trying to tell us something. Candidly, I find this most often when He closes a door. It is frustrating to find door after door being closed, but He is using this to ‘guide’ us toward something that will glorify Him and bring fulfillment and peace to us.
- His Messenger: My life has been touched over and over again through the anointing of His Spirit in the message of a Pastor or great Biblical teacher.
- Satan: Yes, I believe that there are times that if we are being led by His Spirit, we clearly see Satan’s hand at play and know that it is not the action or activity for us.
Wise choices are the basis for successful living. I believe it wise that we seek confirmation when we believe God is speaking to us. There are times when this is not applicable, but most often it is. For example, you may have some input from some well meaning Christians, but you know that it is clearly against a Biblical principle. God NEVER contradicts Himself and is always in keeping with His word.
What are you doing in Heaven?
I like an old illustration that points out how God speaks. The story goes that there was a dam that had broken upstream for a town. There was a little time until the waters would reach the town and the police were speeding around town telling of the impending danger. One man told the police that he was not going to leave because God would take care of him. The waters began to rise and the police came by again in a boat to take him to safety. Again he refused stating that God would save him. The waters rose to the roof and the man was hanging onto the chimney. The police helicopter came by and lowered a rope. The man refused again saying that God would save him. The man drowned!
When he got into Heaven, he rushed over to God and said ‘Father, what happened? I counted on you and told others you would save me!’ God looked at the man with a puzzled look and said while shaking His head – ‘I don’t know? I sent the police by, then a boat and finally a helicopter to save you. What are you doing in Heaven??‘
Of course this is just a story – but I think that it points out that we need to be ‘open’ to the many ways that God may speak to us. He never contradicts His Word.
Finally, remember that God always answers our prayers. The answers are ‘yes’, or ‘no’ or ‘nothing (meaning wait)’. The most challenging one for us is ‘wait’!! The FATHER knows best!
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If God doesn’t approve of the person you’re dating, believe me He will let you know.
Sometimes we pray for answers we are not fully prepared for. Trusting God’s will means trusting that He knows what’s best for us even if it means we have to part ways with people we are not quite ready to part ways with.
Sometimes we feel it in our spirit that someone is not a good mate for us, but for some reason we allow ourselves to stay in an unfulfilling relationship.
Some of us ask God to show us a sign whether something or someone is good or bad for us. The funny part is, God may have given us plenty of signs , before we even prayed that prayer.
Whether the signs are there or not, there’s only one way to know for sure, and that’s prayer.
If you’re praying for God’s will, eventually their true colors will show. But you can’t pray for God to reveal these things to you and then disregard them when He shows you this person is not the one for you.
One of my relationships, I REALLY wanted to work. So when we began to have our share of problems, I began to pray.
I asked God to show me whether or not this person was the one for me. If not, I prayed that He would remove him from my life. Well, it didn’t take long for God to show me at all.
A day after praying that prayer, my ex told me that he felt we should call it quits. Not quite the answer I was expecting from God. But His will is always best. Too bad I didn’t believe that at that time.
About two weeks later, my ex called me and said he realized he had made a mistake letting me go.
In spite of everything I had discussed with God, this was still music to my ears.
We talked about how we were going to make our relationship better this time. It truly felt like we were going to be alright this time.
We had a plan this time and for the first time in a long time, we were actually communicating with each other, listening to each other.
I even began to wonder if I had misunderstood what God was trying to tell me about our relationship.
Nevertheless, our relationship got to a point where we were breaking up every other month. This went on for about two years.
Every night I would pray that our relationship would take a turn for the better. Until finally I prayed a different prayer…
This time I asked God to forgive me for going against His better judgement, for being so disobedient, and for not trusting Him with my heart.
You see, all of my headaches, heartaches, and tears could have been avoided IF I was fully prepared for what I was praying for.
What is it that you want God to reveal? Are you going to trust Him even if the answer is not the one you want? I pray that you will.
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Yes, God answers prayers. And, He answers them with a “Yes” when our prayers line up with His will (1 John 5:14–15). But God is not a cosmic Santa Clause who grants our every wish.
What God desires more than anything is a relationship with people. When we get to know God through His Word, prayer, His people, and the circumstances He allows in our lives, we will understand Him better and learn to be in league with His work in our lives.
We see men and women lined up with God’s purposes throughout the Bible—sometimes with their knowledge and understanding and sometimes not.
In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit directs Christians in many circumstances. In one of the first statements of its kind in history, church leaders acknowledge a sort of partnership with God in dealing with questions about the church in Acts 15:28: “For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements.”
God listens to all our prayers (Matthew 7:7) and does not ignore His followers (Luke 18:1–8). God actively helps us with our prayers to Him. Romans 8:26–27 says, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”
Our prayers are best when they end with God receiving honor and glory. Jesus taught us to pray through the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:2–4) which begins by honoring God, then asking that His will be done, for Him to provide us with our daily needs, and to help us with our relationship with others and with Him.
God is likely to grant our prayers when they line up with His desires for us, and to deny granting our prayers when that would harm us or our relationship with Him. We trust Him to know the difference.
God seems to answer “yes,” “no,” or “wait” to most prayers.
In 1 Samuel, God answers Hannah’s prayer to have a child. Daniels prayers to live are answered, but Stephen was martyred. In John 11, Mary and Martha’s brother Lazarus is not healed by Jesus. Later, though, Jesus raises him from the dead. There seemed to be a “no” or “wait” to the sisters’ prayers in this instance.
When we grow in our relationship with God, we know Him better and our prayers become more in line with His will. When we understand His will and He answers our prayers with “yes” we can be sure we are praying in His will (John 14:13).
In all our prayers, we must remember to Whom we pray: the all-powerful God of the universe who knows us because He created us and who knows, even more than we, what is best for us.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5–6).
Related Truth: Why pray? What is the purpose of prayer?What types of prayer are mentioned in the Bible?What is the importance of daily prayer in the life of a Christian?How does a person pray in Jesus’ name?How do I know if I’m praying in line with the will of God?
Truth about Prayer
Do you feel as if God is not answering your prayers? Should God say “YES; OK” to our every prayer request or petition? Does God answer all prayers? Or does He choose to ignore some of them?
Jeremiah 33:2-3 NKJV
“Thus says the Lord who made it, the Lord who formed it to establish it (the Lord is His name): ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’
God has promised to answer us if we call Him. However the fact is, many people (myself included) pray for God to do specific things in our life, and at times it feels like either God is taking too long to answer, or it appears as if God may never answer some of our prayers.
Therefore, when we pray to God and talk to Him concerning the many diverse issues of our lives, why does it seem as if He is so silent or so slow to respond to our prayers?
REASONS WHY IT MAY SEEM AS IF GOD IS NOT ANSWERING …
(1) You Need To Be Patient – God will answer you in His own time. God does not always respond instantly to our prayers. He does not answer us according to our own timetable. Therefore whenever we pray to God, He will at times expect us to exercise patience and He will want us to wait patiently for His response.
Romans 8:25 ESV – But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.Psalms 37:7 NKJV – Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
(2) Learn to Listen & Discern – It’s important for us to listen just as much as we speak. Perhaps you are not listening. God might be speaking to you but perhaps you cannot hear Him because you do not recognize His voice. It might be that the answer you want or expect is not the answer that God is giving you. Sometimes we want God to answer the way we want Him to – but God does not always answer the way we expect. Sometimes when you have prayed for something specific, you might expect God to answer you with a specific outcome that you would have pre-determined on your own – but sometimes, God’s plans are not our plans – and God’s thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8 NKJV). Therefore how you expect God to answer you can hinder your ability to listen or discern God’s voice if God is preparing to answer or speak to you with a different outcome than the one you are expecting.
In the Bible in 1 Samuel 3:1-10 NKJV, God called Samuel’s name 3 times and 3 times, Samuel mistook God’s voice for Eli’s voice. He thought that it was Eli who was calling him when it was in fact the LORD who was calling his name. Samuel failed to distinguish between the voice of God and the voice of a man.
Therefore when you have prayed, it is important to be able to listen and to distinguish between the many voices that may speak to you so that you are sure to hear God and obey Him. There are many voices that will vie for your attention: the voice of man; the voice of the world; the voice of emotion; the voice of natural intellect and even from the voice of the devil – but it is important to discern and to know God’s voice.
John 10:27 NKJV – My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
(3) Have A Relationship with God – If your best friend, your spouse or even your child were to call you on your cellphone, would you be able to recognize his/her voice via the cellphone? When you have a strong and close relationship with God, you may not be able to see Him, but it is possible to recognize His voice. It is however pertinent that our relationship with God is strong and sound. Unless you have a genuine, one-on-one relationship with God it can be sometimes difficult to hear God’s answers to your prayers. Therefore, the more you know God, the more you will recognize Him. It is important to note that in 1 Samuel 3:7, when Samuel could not recognize God’s voice the scriptures say “(Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor was the word of the Lord yet revealed to him.)”
Therefore if you do not know the Lord or have a relationship with God, it can be very difficult to hear God’s answers pertaining to various issues in your life and pertaining to your prayers.
Revelation 3:20 NKJV – Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him and dine with him, and he with Me.
(4) You Are Praying Amiss – Whenever you seek God’s help, do you pray with the right motives? For example, as you pray are you seeking vengeance and damnation on other people, when in fact God wants you to pray for their salvation? Or are you praying for God to give you material things only when in fact God would wish that you would focus more on praying for the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit in your life?
In 2 Chronicles 1:7-11 Solomon became King and God asked Solomon what he wanted. Solomon then asked for wisdom & knowledge. God ended up giving Solomon MORE than what he asked because Solomon had asked God with a pure heart and with the right motive. This is what God said to him after Solomon asked for wisdom and knowledge: 2 Chronicles 1:11-12 – Then God said to Solomon: “Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked riches or wealth or honor or the life of your enemies, nor have you asked long life — but have asked wisdom and knowledge for yourself, that you may judge My people over whom I have made you king — wisdom and knowledge are granted to you; and I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings have had who were before you, nor shall any after you have the like.”
Therefore if we are to hear God’s answers to our prayers then we must pray according to His will and His purpose. We must pray God’s will to be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.
James 4:3 NKJV – You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
(5) You Are Not Adding Faith and Works to Your Prayers – God is not a magician or a wizard. Neither is He is genie. You can therefore not simply wish things into existence. Whatever God does, He does to glorify Himself. If we expect God to answer our prayers, then we must have faith in Him. And our faith must be accompanied by action. For example, perhaps you are looking for a job with good remuneration. It is good to pray for a job, but you must also spend time sending your applications and CV to respective companies. You cannot just pray for a job but not make the effort to practically search for the job you want through the newspaper, employment agencies, internet sites etc.
Or perhaps you want to give up an addiction such as smoking. When you have prayed for God to help you to overcome the addiction and temptation of smoking, you must then accompany that prayer with action and effort by avoiding to smoking cigarettes.
When you put faith and works together, you will then experience the God’s practical answers to your prayers in your life.
James 2:17-19 NKJV – Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
(6) Spend More Time Reading His Word – God’s word, the Bible has many answers to many issues and questions that we may have in our life. God is able to answer your prayers through His word. However you cannot receive or understand His answers unless you spend time reading His word. Many times God has answered specific issues in my own life simply by using His word.
In 1 Samuel 3:7 the scriptures say (Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor was the word of the Lord yet revealed to him.)
Therefore part of the reason why Samuel did not recognize the Lord or His voice was because the word of God was not yet inside him. It is therefore important for us to study and meditate God’s word if we are to hear and understand God when He responds to our prayers.
Hebrews 4:12-13 NKJV – For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
Jeremiah 29:11-14 NKJV
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
God loves us and He will not ignore us if we come to Him with the right heart. God is more interested in the condition of our heart and if we come to Him, He will listen to us.
You don’t have to be perfect for God to listen to you. In fact, God will listen to you more so when you are flawed and broken.
Psalms 34:18 NKJV – The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit. Psalms 51:17 NKJV – The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart — These, O God, You will not despise.
In conclusion: Does God answer prayers? Yes He does.