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God Always Answers Prayer gives real life examples to illustrate the ways God answers prayer and to encourage Christians to continue to pray and believe in Him, despite how things may look. 

God Always Answers Prayer

I often hear of people who feel they've failed God or He's abandoned them because they didn't receive what they asked for in prayer.  I remember having the same thoughts as a teenager, not knowing that God isn't like the simplistic "vending machine" I was taught about as a child.  In fact, I now know God is honored by our prayer requests and answers every one, just not always exactly as we expect.  To illustrate the surprising ways He answers prayer, this article will document 5 years of our lives when it often seemed nothing was getting through to Him.

The First Prayer:  After 7 years of ministry and a BA degree, I was finally on the fast track in ministry.  I had a very responsible pastor position at a large church and what the senior pastor was saying hinted at good things to come for years.  Finally time to fulfill some of our dreams.  Marsha and I began looking for land and found a beautiful 5 acre parcel, commuting distance from our jobs.  We agreed with the owner on price and general terms and set an appointment to walk the property and sign a contract the next Sunday.  Marsha and I asked God to give us this land for our home so we can have a place of peace away from the stresses of work, but, if it isn't His will, to have the deal fall through.  That Sunday morning, the owner called to tell us he had changed his mind about selling.  I was so devastated I couldn't talk to God about it for three months.  When I did, I told Him how disappointed I was that He didn't allow us to buy it.  At that moment, I felt as if He had said back to me, "I have something better in mind for you."  Tucking that away in my heart, I continued serving Him.

The Second Prayer:  Within two years of my "fast track" it became apparent I was no longer to serve God at that church.  I left, and sought His will for my future.  I asked God for a senior pastor position because none of the staff positions I had in the past ever allowed me to serve Him only...just church and denomination politics.  I felt I had been given the go-ahead and began seeking senior pastor posts.  We were offered 6 different senior pastor posts and each time God let us know He had something better in mind.  After a year of searching and not finding, I got very frustrated with God.  I questioned myself and my faith and finally settled on the idea that I would seek God "outside the box."  Instead of expecting a ministry position in traditional churches and denominations, I would ask God what He wanted and accept His will...even if it meant I sweep floors for a living.

In my regular prayer times, things I had forgotten were brought to mind.  Because I used computers and software for my Bible college assignments, one of my instructors had said to the class, "Open your minds to God doing new works.  Maybe Glen will start a huge computer ministry, or Sally will do..."  It seemed nothing at the time, but had a new weight, now.  I was reminded of a Christmas play, when a character was searching for help with his life on the Internet, but couldn't find anything, because God wasn't on the Internet.  Then I was reminded how easy it was for me to find information about my brother's cancer on the Internet, and it clicked.  I felt God wanted me to help people find Him when they searched on the Internet for solutions to life problems.  With much fear and trembling, I proceeded to research this possibility.

After the first year, the Internet ministry took off, with a thousand people searching onto our site each day.  Many wrote for help with problems.  We started a prayer team and discipleship program.  This ministry was a success, except for one thing...people weren't donating money.  After spending thousands to get it started, we were spending hundreds of dollars each month to keep it going.  I sold used books and did some lame advertising on our site to try to generate revenue, with modest success, until Marsha lost her job.  Then we needed income to support us as well as the ministry.  As her severance benefits and unemployment were running out, we decided to start an espresso business, found a location, had plans drawn up, got a loan on our house and got shot down by the building department.  I told Marsha, for some reason I was at peace and knew God would take care of us.  It felt strange to have that peace with none of my important and earnest prayers answered and no idea what we were going to do when her unemployment ran out the next month.

One week before her last unemployment check, Marsha got reinstated by the U.S. Forest Service.  It meant moving to a more rural area, which I had wanted anyway.  We looked for a home but couldn't ever see one, they were selling so fast.  We found a 20 acre parcel and bought it, sold our home and began building our dream home.  Once we moved in, the Lord led me to online advertising programs that would cover the ministry costs plus pay me more as we grow.  Our little ministry website has grown to 3 websites with over 1,500 pages and online support communities.  We have reached 3,000 visitors a day and over 10 each day find Jesus as the answer to their problems.

God Didn't Give Us What We Prayed For.  We asked for a five acre parcel and got 20 acres at a lower cost.  We prayed for a senior pastor position and got a successful evangelism ministry.  God gave us nothing that we asked for...He gave us much more.  Trust me when I say we are nobody special.  God loves you every bit as much as He loves us.  I can tell you from personal experience that, even when it seems He hasn't heard, He is answering every prayer.  I can also promise you that God will answer your prayer with one of two answers:  "Yes!" or "I have something better for you."  Praise Him!

What are some of your experiences with prayer?

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