Over the years, I've discovered from Scripture and experience that God loves to answer our prayers. Here are five of his most frequent answers:
"No, I love you too much."
The Lord of the universe isn't under obligation to say "yes" to every prayer. That's a good thing, considering some of the things we request!
But sometimes God says "no" to our most heartfelt requests. Have you discovered this to be true in your own life? I certainly have. When my friend Diane started losing her hearing. When my mother-in-law came down with polio. When my nephew contracted aids.
I would be known as Luis Palau Jr. if it weren't for the fact that God said "no" to my most earnest childhood prayers. Shortly after my tenth birthday, my father, Luis Palau Sr., contracted bronchial pneumonia and died ten days later.
Death became, to me, the most undeniable reality under heaven. Everything else can be rationalized and wondered about and discussed, but death is there, staring you in the face. It happens. Even to the most godly people. No matter how hard we pray. Why? Because we still live in a fallen world.
I've been reminded of this repeatedly since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on America. Tens of thousands of lives were spared. But God said "no" to the prayers of thousands of others. Will good come of their deaths? I believe so.
Without a doubt, the death of my father has had more impact on my ministry than anything else in my entire life, besides my own conversion to Jesus Christ. My wish and desire is that people get right with God, settle the big question, and die knowing—like my father—that they will be with Jesus, "which is better by far" (Phil. 1:23).
Does that mean we shouldn't bother to pray? Just the opposite. Over the years, traveling throughout the world, I've discovered four other ways God frequently answers prayer. Believe me, he loves to say "yes!"
"Yes, but you'll have to wait."
Immediate answers to prayer: You want them. I want them. But God simply does not always work that way. And to get his best, we must be patient. In some cases, we must wait until the stroke of midnight for his answer to come.
Phil Callaway didn't know what to say when his young children asked if Mommy was going to die. His wife, Ramona, suffered horrible seizures.
Hundreds of friends and relatives prayed, but Ramona's weight eventually slipped to 90 pounds. Medical specialists tried everything, but by the fall of 1996, the seizures were occurring daily, sometimes hourly.
Phil rarely left Ramona's side. He wondered if she would even make it to her 30th birthday. One evening, when things looked utterly hopeless, Phil paced their dark back yard, then fell to his knees. "God!" he cried out. "I can't take it anymore. Please do something!"
Suddenly a doctor's name came to mind. Phil called the doctor, who saw Ramona the next morning and diagnosed a rare chemical deficiency.
Within a week, Ramona's seizures ended. Her eyes sparkled again. The miracle was so incredible Phil says, "God gave me back my wife."
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you" (Matt. 7:7).
"Yes, but not what you expected."
Have you ever asked God to use you? If so, expect the unexpected!
National Football League running back Sherman Smith, the "Sherman Tank," stood six feet four inches tall and packed 225 pounds of the most solid muscle you'd ever want to tackle. His reputation for bowling over defensive linemen raised his celebrity to near-cult status in the Pacific Northwest, where he played for the Seattle Seahawks.