“Then Jeremiah the prophet said unto them, I have heard you; behold, I will pray unto the LORD your God according to your words; and it shall come to pass, that whatsoever thing the LORD shall answer you, I will declare it unto you; I will keep nothing back from you.”
One of the attributes of Jeremiah’s ministry was his prayer life. Throughout the Book of Jeremiah, you will find that Jeremiah was a man of prayer. Jeremiah had more than just a prayer time, but he had a prayer life. His prayer life was such that people would come to him to ask him to pray to the LORD for them. You will know that you have a prayer life when people know to come to you to get an answer.
When you study the people who have been used of the LORD greatly, you will always find that they were people of prayer. One of the things you will notice about the early church is that they were commonly found in prayer. You cannot separate the blessings of God from a prayer life. However, the expectations that many have of prayer are not realistic or scriptural expectations. Let me point out some expectations and facts concerning answered prayers.
First, God does answer prayer. You will always find throughout the Scriptures that God answered every time someone prayed. God always fulfills the promise that He will answer your prayers. God says in Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:” This promise still applies today to every Christian who will take the time to pray. God does answer prayer, but He cannot answer prayer if you don’t pray.
Second, God never promised when He would answer your prayer. Many Christians get discouraged in their prayer life because God doesn’t answer their prayer in their timeline. Verse 7 reveals that Jeremiah prayed ten days before God answered his prayer. It took twenty-one days for Daniel to get an answer to his prayer. You cannot have unrealistic expectations concerning when God answers your prayer. Always remember that God answers prayer on His timeline and not yours. Many Christians have forsaken their prayer time because they just don’t feel that God is listening to their prayer. Be careful not to allow the time between the answer to prayer and the prayer to discourage you from praying. You must keep on praying until you hear God’s answer concerning your request.
Third, and most importantly, God never promised what His answer would be. When God answered Daniel’s prayer in the verse above, the people did not like the answer. God never promised that He would answer your prayer according to your pleasure. Answered prayer doesn’t mean that God’s answer is what you asked. God doesn’t have a rubber stamp to hear your prayer and give you everything you want. God answers prayer, but He answers according to His will. You are going to have to be comfortable with God’s answer if you are going to avoid becoming bitter towards the LORD. There are going to be times when God’s answer is directly opposite of what you asked.
Christian, your ultimate desire should be what the Saviour prayed in Luke 22:42, “…not my will, but thine, be done.” You should desire God’s will in timing and how He answers your prayer. You will never be disappointed with God’s answer to your prayer if your desire is that His will is done.