This week, I was upset about something and complained to God about it. It wasn’t a prayer asking for God to change the situation or for God to change my heart, it was simple venting to Him (He has promised to hear us, right?). Less than 30 minutes later, God gave me an answer to the situation. I was so shocked!! I didn’t even ask, I didn’t pray or spend time meditating on how great God is. I did nothing. God did something similar when I was praying for my husband – God had given me a list to pray for, but being a kind and calm man was not on that list. I never thought to pray for it, but it is one of the biggest blessings God has given me in my husband, and it was an answered prayer that had nothing to do with me.
As a person who believes in the power of prayer, I am used to ‘bending Heaven’s ears’ for my requests and the requests of others. And, yet, God says in Isaiah 65 says, “I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me…To a nation that did not call on my name, I said, ‘Here am I, here am I….’ Before they call, I will answer; while they are still speaking, I will hear.” Here are some reasons why God does not always need us to pray before answering our requests.
He does it because that is who He is.
There are some things God does simply because that is who He is. For instance, He forgives sins, loves us and answers our prayers “for His name’s sake.” It could very well be that God answers our desires and needs before we ask, because He is doing it show off His character. Jesus said, in Matthew 7, that if we, who are evil, desire to give good gifts, how much more can we expect from God, whose entirety is good and no evil is found in Him? God is good, is love, is kindness. Isaiah states that God created us for His glory, so answered prayers, once again, is another way for God to show who He is. The Bible in James says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights…” Everything that is good is from God, EVERYTHING! This is part of His character, part of who He is and sometimes He gives us our desires, just because people need to see who God is
He does it, because He doesn’t need us. He chooses to use us, but it is not necessary. Deuteronomy 7:6 says that, “..the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.” Jesus also echoed the same thing when He said, “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” We are talking about the God who created lions and later closed their mouths, who allow prophets to be swallowed by whales or to be talked to by donkeys, who created this entire universe with just a few words. The Bible says that we are ‘but a dust of sand,’ or ‘grass that is here today and withered away tomorrow.’ We tend to get so caught up in ourselves that we forgot how small we truly are. God is capable of so much than our limited vision can see. Maybe a lesson in humility is one of the reasons that God will answer us before we speak our requests.
He does it because He wants to give us the desires of our heart.
Again, remember, that God is love? The very definition of love should have God’s picture next to it, because love literally is who God is. When someone loves you, they know what you want before you ask for it. For instance, my husband knows I hate doing the dishes, so if I ask him to do them, he does them for me. That is the same as an answered prayer, but when I come home to all the dishes being clean, without me asking, well, that is exactly what God is doing here. He is fulfilling the need and desire, before we ask for it, because He loves us. God promises, in Psalms, to give us our desires if we are committing our lives to God. Remember that God desires to ‘give us a hope and a future.’ This includes surprising us with random gifts and answered desires/needs before we even express them.
What should we do when God steps in for us like this?
Remember to say thanks, in all things, all the time! Gratitude is the attitude that brings more unexpected blessings into our lives. Give God the glory by telling people about what He has done for you, no matter what is happening. Continue to seek to know God better, remember this is a relationship, not a genie in a bottle, so God still cares more about your relationship with Him than He does about answering all of your wants. And as always – pray without ceasing, every moment, every day, keep a running dialogue going with God. Let me know how these steps are affecting your life – you may be surprised at the difference it makes in your faith and the increase of unexpected blessings that will occur when you putting gratitude, worship and prayer into every moment of your Christian journey.