Here are four ways to recognize God has answered your prayer.
When we are praying for something like a certain a job, and we end up being turned down for it, and then God brings you to another, better job, that’s one way to recognize that God has answered that prayer. He may not give you what you want, but instead, give you something better. If He says no, it may be because He wants something better for you and its better than you even expected.
A Closed Door
Years ago when I was beginning to feel the call into the ministry, I tried a few doors to see if these were where God wanted me to go, but these church doors clearly slammed shut before me, and yes, it was discouraging, but I believe God always knows best and only later did I realize that it wouldn’t have been the best thing for me. Only when I stopped trying to force open these closed doors did I finally learn to just sit quietly before God and wait. When I did, He finally opened a door, and one that was just a few miles from home, so a closed door shouldn’t discourage us. It should make us realize God is sovereign and always knows what’s best for us, better than we ourselves do.
You’ll Hurt Yourself
This one is really hard for me. I had always assumed that I knew what was best for me, and so I would pray for certain things to happen, and when the answer was obviously no, then I realized that God was probably trying to keep me from hurting from hurting myself. God has the luxury of looking down the halls of time, so we must trust Him, even when you find out that God’s clear answer was no. Sometimes a “no” from God is obvious.
Through other People
Maybe the hardest recognition of an answered prayer is when it comes through a family member, a friend, or perhaps even a co-worker. When someone is our friend, you know what they are telling you is because they love you. God can use other people as a means to communicate an answer to a prayer, whether it’s yes, no, wait, or I have something better for you. When we can’t get any clear direction about our prayer being answered, pay attention to those around you. God may use them to speak to you about what He’s already decided.
There are certainly more than four ways to recognize the answer to a prayer. It could be that God keeps a door closed so that you’ll find another one; perhaps He just wants us to wait for that door to open; maybe He knows we’ll be hurt by what we’re praying for; and God may use other people to communicate what we’re not getting from Him. Ask yourself these questions; do you have peace about it? Have friends agreed with you? Is it God’s will? These are good questions to ask before we pray about anything.