Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known (Jeremiah 33:3, esv).
When you go to God in prayer, asking for something you need, entreating Him for an answer, what would you calculate your chances are of receiving a yes?
Slim? None? Somewhere between remotely possible and unlikely?
When we ask for things that are consistent with what God wants, His answer is almost always yes.
I think that’s how most of us have been trained to anticipate our prayers being answered. And throughout our lives we’ve prayed for things that haven’t come close to being answered like we hoped, so like a baseball player stepping to the plate, we’ll take a base hit every three to five at-bats, and call it a decent average.
But how does this square with what God’s Word tells us to expect from Him?
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9). “Whatever you ask in my name,” Jesus said, “this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13). “This is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him” (1 John 5:14–15).
That sounds a whole lot different than “once in a blue moon.”
So who’s right? God? Or us?
Let’s establish once and for all that God does not lie—indeed cannot lie. From the Old Testament, where we’re told that “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind” (Numbers 23:19), to the New Testament, where Paul declared that God “never lies” (Titus 1:2), the entirety of Scripture affirms that what God says, God does. So even in an age of Israel’s history that was not unlike ours—with its widespread idolatry, rampant immorality, and religious hypocrisy, teetering on the total collapse of society—the prophet Jeremiah spoke the word of the Lord that said, “Call to me and I will answer you.” Could any four words be much clearer or more powerful than the closing phrase of that sentence? “I will answer you.”
This could only mean that conventional wisdom—which predicts God’s “no” as a near certainty, God’s “maybe” as an occasional concession, and God’s “yes” as a decided long shot (great when it happens, but not worth getting our hopes up for)—is in fact the exact opposite of what is true. Here’s reality: Once God has refined our hearts so that we’re asking in His name for things that are consistent with what He would want for us, for others, and for the world, His answer is almost always “yes.”
So change your outlook on the probability of what God is already inclined to do with your prayer, even as you invite Him to change your heart so that you’re approaching Him biblically, repentantly, persistently, in faith, and always in the name of Jesus. The “no” you might have been dejectedly expecting could soon become a “yes” you’ll be celebrating.
Father, thank You for the ongoing opportunity to align myself and my agenda with Your will. And when I do, thank You for promising to amaze me by causing my prayers to consistently come about. Change my perception of prayer so that I see the reality of Your generous heart and experience the beauty of being surrendered to Your greater purposes. May Your Son receive honor from every answered prayer, which I pray today in His powerful name, amen.