1. “Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.” Such longings and prayers are sincere and God loves them and loves to answer them. We do not know ourselves very well, nor the depth or pervasiveness of our sin, nor what it really requires of us in order to receive what we ask for.
2. We can’t help but have unreal, romantic imaginations and expectations about what God’s answers to our prayers will be. We are often unprepared for the answers we receive from God. They are not what we expect and we often do not see how they correspond to our prayers. Prayer does effect what God does! This is so important for you to grasp! God will do things when we pray that He will not do if we don’t pray!
3. The Bible says clearly and plainly, “We have not because we ask not.” Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance. There’s also a time to desist in prayer, a time when you quit praying. Over three specific periods of time, the apostle Paul asked God to take away his “Thorn in the flesh,” yet God did not do it. Paul didn’t say, “What can’t be cured must be endured.” He said, “I’ll glory in it. I’ll thank God in it.”
4. God did not give Paul what he asked, but God gave Paul something better than he asked. God said no to Paul, but He gave something different. He will hear your prayer just as quickly as He will hear mine, or Billy Graham’s, or anyone else who believes in prayer, believes in God and has a clear, clean life.