Have you ever spent weeks—even years—praying about one specific thing and still found yourself wondering, When is God going to answer this prayer? If so, I know exactly how you feel.
When I pray, I really want my prayers to be answered. I know faith, patience and timing all are in the mix, but sooner or later I need to hear from God.
The fact is, He gives us some pretty outrageous promises in His Word about prayer. If you’re not seeing the fruit of those promises and if you’re still in the waiting period, I encourage you to simply ask why.
At several times in my life I’ve had to get honest with myself and say: “OK, God, I see what the Word says. Why isn’t it working for me?”
Each time, God has led me to ask myself three very direct questions. I believe they can also help you to find the answers you’ve been seeking.
1. Am I really praying for God’s will? John 15:7 (AMP) says: “If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.”
Well, I thought I knew that Scripture up and down. But it turned out there was a word in that verse I hadn’t paid much attention to: abiding. It means “to live in, dwell in and remain in.” When you have that kind of close relationship with God, you get to know His heart and you have a greater sense of the things you should pray for, and what His will truly is.
We can never assume we’re praying the will of God. We need to test and approve our prayers by abiding in God’s Word and seeking the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
2. Am I self-sabotaging my prayers? For at least 25 years, I’ve been praying for God to move so that people will receive miraculous healings at my conferences or while watching my TV program. I was standing on Psalm 107:20 when God led me to another verse: Isaiah 58:9. Now, that scripture shows a clear connection between answered prayers and the words of our mouths. It says, “Take away from your midst yokes of oppression [wherever you find them], the finger pointed in scorn [toward the oppressed or the godly], and every form of false, harsh, unjust and wicked speaking” (AMP).
So, God’s saying it’s just as important to glorify Him through the words you speak when you’re not praying as it is when you are praying. I encourage you to examine your speech regularly so that you can experience even more success in prayer.
3. Is my love walk lacking? I believe the mouth is such a major part of the love walk. I don’t think we truly realize how much we can do for people by building them up with our words. And we need to be even more careful not to say things that tear them down.
The Bible says the heart is deceitful above all else (see Jer. 17:9). We want to believe we have a good heart, so to learn the truth about ourselves we need to give our tongues a real close examination.
Do you remember when you went to the doctor and were asked to open your mouth and say, “Ahh”? The reason you were asked to do that is so the doctor could examine your tongue. The tongue tells a physician a lot about physical health. Likewise, the tongue tells us a lot about spiritual health.
Learning to abide in God—focusing on His heart and His desires—will bring you to a higher level of spiritual maturity and help you discover the amazing authority you have in prayer.
Speaking in line with His Word can move mountains in the Spirit, and growing in your love walk opens powerful opportunities to show others who God is.
I encourage you to search your heart in these three areas. As you do, I believe you will begin to experience a much more effective, fulfilling prayer life. In His perfect timing and way, He will always answer you.
Joyce Meyer is a New York Times best-selling author and founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries. She has authored more than 90 books, including her new Living Beyond Your Feelings (Hachette). To read her past columns in Charisma, go to charismamag.com/meyer. Visit her online at joycemeyer.org.