Among other things we do in prayer (praise God, confess sin, etc.), prayer involves bringing certain requests before God, and if so granted, they become part of the means whereby He carries out His decreed will.
Consider a variety of amazing answers to prayer. First, Abraham prayed for Abimelech and the women in his royal house to be healed: “Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, and also healed his wife and female slaves so that they bore children” (Gen 20:17; cf. 20:7, 18). Second, God answered the prayers of Hannah and Zechariah in giving children to their families when they previously had none (1 Sam 1:10, 20; Luke 1:13). The answer to Zechariah’s prayer was particularly amazing because Elizabeth was “advanced in years” (Luke 1:7, 18), a phrase used of Sarah who likewise bore a son in her old age, ninety years old (Gen 18:11; cf. 17:17)! Third, perhaps more well-known is the prayer of Elijah who prayed for the rain to stop and start again during the days of wicked King Ahab (James 5:17–18; cf. 1 Kgs 17:1; 18:42). Fourth, the early church prayed for Peter’s rescue from jail and did not believe it at first when their prayers were answered (Acts 12:5, 12, 14–15)! Fifth, despite his immorality and vengeance, Samson prayed for water and was miraculously granted a spring from a rock just after killing 1,000 men with the jawbone of a donkey (Judges 15:18–19). He showed his pride after the prayer’s answer by naming the place of water En-hakkore, “the spring of him who called” (Judges 15:19). He named it after himself who prayed and did not even acknowledge God as the One to answer to prayer!
While we are not told to expect miracles today, it is not to say that they cannot happen. Jesus once stated, “All things are possible for one who believes” (Mark 9:23) and later clarified that such things come about by prayer (Mark 9:29). God is the one who makes impossible possible as He chooses to answer our prayers.
So how do we pray for the impossible to become possible? First, any request we make before God should be guided by Scripture. Second, we should realize that sometimes God chooses not to answer our prayer because He has something better in mind for our future, even if it is simply to teach us to go to Him in prayer. Third, when we pray, we should not doubt how He can answer our prayers (Mark 11:23–24). Fourth, if we do doubt, we should ask God to give us the faith we need to pray for an amazing answer to prayer. The father of a demon-possessed boy did just this and saw Jesus heal his son (Mark 9:24–25).
Pastor David Huffstutler
Pastor Huffstutler regularly writes articles for our Sunday bulletin. See his bio on our pastoral bio page.