God promises to answer when we call. He says, ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.‘– (Jeremiah 33:3). However, we must understand that He has different ways of responding to prayers. Apart from showing us, He may also instruct us about what to do. In fact, the answer to our prayers may often come as an instruction to obey.
God’s response to Cornelius’ request came as an instruction to follow. God told Cornelius, “Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter…. He will tell you what you must do.” -(Acts 10:5-6). Cornelius wasted no time following the instruction, and his entire household became believers according to his prayer.
The answer to Isaac’s request to relocate to Egypt during the famine was an instruction from God to stay in Gerar. “Then the LORD appeared to him and said: “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you …dwell in this land” – (Genesis 26:2-3). Isaac stayed in the land, and despite the famine, Isaac prospered in the land.
A widow in Zarephath prayed for God’s provision during the famine, and God instructed her to feed the prophet. God told Elijah, “…I have instructed a widow there to feed you.” -(1Ki 17:9). The widow enjoyed abundant provision throughout the famine because the Lord answered her prayer, but not without following God’s instruction.
Since God uses instruction as one of the different ways of responding to prayers, it makes sense to learn obedience as we learn to petition the Lord in the place of prayer.
What is your experience of God in His manner of answering prayers?
Father, help me to always be sensitive to Your instruction this year, in Jesus’ name.