When You Pray, Expect the Unexpected

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“He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.” John 1:10-11

Our Father Knows Best

Sometimes God gives us exactly what we ask for, when we ask for it. But when His answers don’t come right away, it’s often because He has something much better for us. This series discusses some of the many ways God answers prayer.

A Dime Now or a Dollar Later

Many years ago, a wise man offered his two beloved nephews a gift: A dime today, or a dollar next week. The younger boy took the dime and ran to the store to buy a handful of candy. The older nephew’s mouth watered as he watched his brother enjoy the sweets, but he waited patiently for the week to pass. He received the promised dollar, and bought a toy that he enjoyed for a long time afterward.

This story illustrates how God may hold back something we want, or give us something different, which in the long term will prove to be much better. He tells us that “My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9). God’s “yes” to your prayer might look very different from what you expect.

How God Answered “Yes” Unexpectedly

God revealed Himself to the Israelites, and promised a Messiah, who would deliver His people. They expected a political saviour, who would restore the physical nation of Israel, overcome its oppressors, and draw people from every nation to God. When Jesus was betrayed and turned over for execution to the Romans (the very ones they wanted to be delivered from), the hopes of the Jews were dashed.

But God had an even greater plan, to meet the needs and conquer the enemies of ALL people. God’s plan was for “reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them” (2 Corinthians 5:19). Scripture promised, “He will remove the cloud of gloom… that hangs over the earth. He will swallow up death forever!” (Isaiah 25:7-8).

God’s plan for the world goes beyond human politics, includes ALL nations (not just Israel), and can set ALL people free from sin and death. His answer to their prayers was not what Israel expected, but in fact was far better. His “yes” answer to your prayers might also be beyond what you can imagine.

From Godlife.com, May 7, 2014

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