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Does God always answer prayer?

American Pastors Network embarks on yearlong ‘season of prayer’ for the nation
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“O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear?”

This was the prayer of the biblical prophet, Habakkuk—crying out for God to hear him. Sometimes, even those with a deep relationship with God question whether He is listening. In Habakkuk’s situation, God promised His answer was on the way. Though he could not see a response at that moment, the Lord had a plan that would perfectly address the prophet’s situation.

We often find ourselves wondering whether God will answer our concerns. Whether our health, a job situation, concerns regarding a loved one or solutions to the nation’s problems, we want to see change now. Yet the Lord’s timing is best. He is never early or late. His answer arrives on time, and in His perfect time. He is listening—and will answer—in ways beyond our understanding. As Paul wrote, God can do more than we ask or imagine.

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It is for this reason that the American Pastors Network is embarking on a new prayer initiative we are calling “52 Tuesdays.” Earlier this month, the nation marked exactly one year until the crucial 2020 presidential election—possibly another turning point for our country. Therefore, we are entering into an important, yearlong “season of prayer.” We’re asking faithful Americans to pray with us on each of the Tuesdays leading up to the election—and every day in between. Prayer is the only solution to the nation’s problems and we hope millions across the nation will join with us in this prayer movement.

As we pray during this crucial time, consider these self-directed questions about prayer:

How should we pray for those who lead our nation? I Timothy Chapter 2 teaches us to intercede for our governing leaders. Yet many overlook the aspects of prayer the apostle Paul notes in this command. Praying for our governing leaders should result in believers leading “a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” When we ask for God’s blessings upon those who lead our communities and nation, we seek peace and the ability to live out our faith effectively in this world. Unfortunately, these goals are often missing in our attitudes and prayers regarding our political leaders. We tend to focus on personalities rather than on peace. Yet God’s desire includes our humble prayers for the salvation and wisdom for those in authority. Let’s remember to diligently ask the Lord to work in the lives of our nation’s leaders today.

Do you ever find yourself wishing you could do more about your situation than pray? We often find ourselves trying to fix problems rather than praying about them. We feel the need to do something and work to address situations with action. If nothing else works, then we’ll stop to pray. Yet James 5:16 teaches that the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. He uses the illustration of Elijah, a prophet who prayed for rain to stop for three and a half years—and it did. He then prayed for rain, with God also answering those prayers. Our spiritual problems require spiritual solutions. Prayer offers us direct access to the unlimited power of the Almighty God. When you face a problem today, don’t turn to God when nothing else works. Pray first and watch Him work.

Do you ever find yourself wishing you could pray more effectively? You’re not alone. The disciples of Jesus once asked Him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” Jesus answered with the version of the Lord’s Prayer recorded in Luke 11. It begins with, “Father, hallowed be your name.” The first aspect of prayer Jesus emphasized was God’s holiness. A.W. Tozer wrote, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” When we talk with God, how should we address Him? While He is our friend and forgiver, He is also the perfect King of kings and Lord of lords. When we view Him properly, we will find ourselves praying more effectively. Our lives are about His kingdom and His desires, not ours. We exist to serve Him, including the way we pray.

Should we really pray for everyone, including those who persecute us? American pastor Andrew Brunson was held captive in a Turkish prison for his faith in Christ for two years. His case led to direct intervention from the U.S. government to secure his release. Despite his persecution, he often prayed for his captors, saying, “The way I survived … was by just spending hours in prayer.” When we pray for those who oppose us, we are not only changing them; we are also changing ourselves. Jesus taught in Matthew 6, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Following His command often transforms both those who oppose us and our attitude toward them. Just as Christ interceded for us while we were yet sinners, He calls us to intercede for others who have offended us. Doing so reflects a life truly changed by Christ.

As you reflect on these personal questions about our own prayer lives, we hope you will add your name to the American Pastors Network’s “52 Tuesdays” prayer initiative. After all, America will never be great again until we return to a time when we acknowledge in our minds and hearts that the God of the Bible is great.

The Hon. Sam Rohrer is president of the American Pastors Network, a national network of pastors with constitutional and biblical teachings that discusses today’s pressing issues. He was a Pennsylvania lawmaker for 18 years and hosts the daily “Stand in the Gap Today” national radio program on more than 400 stations and Host of the “Stand in the Gap” national television program.

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