"It was a devastating car accident," a member of the Bible study said. "The healing was miraculous. I had broken bones. They healed with no need for casts. I had cuts on my face. They healed with no scars. And doctors said I would lose my teeth as they had turned gray and they began to die due to the severe impact. But God healed them as they turned white before my eyes, leaving the doctors stunned."

We all listened in awe. Yet when we hear of these miracles, we can't help but wonder why our own prayers aren't answered and why miracles seem to pass us by...

I imagine Joni Erickson might have wondered the same from time to time while spending her life paralyzed in a wheel chair.

But even when we question, God still insists we bring our requests before Him: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." (Philippians 4:6 NIV). And when we do, here are five steps to make sure He will answer them:

5 Steps to Answered Prayer

1. Readjust our priorities. If our # 1 priority is to seek answers rather than seeking God Himself, God will be patient until we reprioritize by seeking Him ahead of seeking answers: "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matthew 6:33 NIV).

2. Resist the temptation to recite memorized, perfect prayers, with lovely words and deep insight. God simply wants the genuine expression of our heart: "But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lordlooks at the heart.'" (1 Samuel 16:7 NIV).

3. Recognize that sometimes we don't know how to pray or what our requests should be. So, we can freely ask for Him to show us what to pray for: "Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts." (Psalm 139:23 NIV).

4. Remember that His answer is always in His timing, not ours because a thousand years in God's sight are like a day that has just gone by: "A thousand years in your sight like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night." (Psalm 90:4 NIV).

5. Relish in the fact that while we wait, He's working in us, in our heart, in our situation. He has the answered already prepared: "For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesians 2:10 NIV).

And here's the reason we follow these steps: Because "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us--whatever we ask--we know that we have what we asked of him" (1 John 5:14–15 NIV).

While we pray, we're certain that in His timing and ways, we have what we ask. We receive what He offers. We expect what He promises. And while we wait, we take our eyes away from the circumstance and fix them on Christ instead.

Let's Pray: Father, how often I have cried out to you, searching for words that are perfectly expressing my needs. But You already know them and You already know the painful details too. From now on, I will give you thanks for what You're already doing and how You're bringing Your promises to be. In Jesus' name, amen.

How deep is your belief in God's ability to hear you?

Janet Eckles

If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration.