Gifts From a Good Father

Praying With Confidence

By Charles F. Stanley
  • May 22, 2016

Do you trust God to answer your prayers? Confidence in prayer is belief in the trustworthiness of God. We must trust that He will provide for our needs. To illustrate this point, Jesus referred to a typical relationship between a father and son. A parent would never give a child a stone if the boy asked for bread, nor would he give a snake when asked for a fish (Matt. 7:9-11). In a similar way, our heavenly Father can be trusted to give us gifts that are beneficial in every way.

Sometimes we pray for something and are determined to get it—whether or not God gives it to us. We become impatient, run ahead of Him, and make a big mistake by trying to get what we want on our own. However, when God has us wait, He always has a purpose for it.

Think about how Mary and Martha waited while Lazarus was dying (John 11:1-44). Jesus had spent a great deal of time with this family, including eating with them in their home. The sisters expected Him to come quickly when He heard that Lazarus was at the point of death. Instead, He waited until their brother had died. At first, Jesus’ delay did not seem good to Mary and Martha, but what was the end result? The Savior did something better than heal Lazarus; He raised him from the dead. To this day, we are talking about this miracle that proved Jesus’ power over death. It’s always best to wait on God’s perfect timing.

There have been a number of occasions when the Lord asked me to wait for no apparent reason. One time, when my car was destroyed by a collision, He asked me to postpone buying a replacement. Eventually, a church member gave me a check for a far nicer automobile than I would have bought on my own. Another time, God told me to wait on buying a home. Feeling pressure to settle on a property, I entered into a contract anyway. In His mercy, the basement of the house flooded that very night, giving me a legitimate reason for canceling the contract. He provided an easy way for me to return to His perfect will for my life.

Of course, the Lord doesn’t always provide a second chance for us to obey Him. That’s why we are wise to submit to His will the first time around. If we are willing to pray with confidence, waiting on the Father’s timing, we will find that He was preparing the very best for us all along.

Perhaps you have been asking God to meet a pressing need or grant a particular desire, yet nothing seems to be happening. In circumstances like these, you and I often rationalize that He isn’t listening or doesn’t care. As a result, we often stop praying too soon. But Scripture teaches that the Father delights in giving His children good things. So don’t give up praying to your heavenly Father and trusting Him to provide the right answer. 

This article is adapted from the Sermon Notes for Dr. Stanley’s message “The Key to Answered Prayer” which airs this weekend on TV.

Related Topics:  Prayer  |  Intimacy with God  |  Patience

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9 Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone?

10 Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he?

11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!

1 Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.

2 It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.

3 So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick."

4 But when Jesus heard this, He said, This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it."

5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.

6 So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was.

7 Then after this He said to the disciples, Let us go to Judea again."

8 The disciples said to Him, Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone You, and are You going there again?"

9 Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world.

10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him."

11 This He said, and after that He said to them, Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep."

12 The disciples then said to Him, Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover."

13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of literal sleep.

14 So Jesus then said to them plainly, Lazarus is dead,

15 and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him."

16 Therefore Thomas, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, Let us also go, so that we may die with Him."

17 So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days.

18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off;

19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary, to console them concerning their brother.

20 Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him, but Mary stayed at the house.

21 Martha then said to Jesus, Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.

22 Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You."

23 Jesus said to her, Your brother will rise again."

24 Martha said to Him, I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day."

25 Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies,

26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?"

27 She said to Him, Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world."

28 When she had said this, she went away and called Mary her sister, saying secretly, The Teacher is here and is calling for you."

29 And when she heard it, she got up quickly and was coming to Him.

30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha met Him.

31 Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and consoling her, when they saw that Mary got up quickly and went out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there.

32 Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died."

33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled,

34 and said, Where have you laid him?" They said to Him, Lord, come and see."

35 Jesus wept.

36 So the Jews were saying, See how He loved him!"

37 But some of them said, Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind man, have kept this man also from dying?"

38 So Jesus, again being deeply moved within, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it.

39 Jesus said, Remove the stone." Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to Him, Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days."

40 Jesus said to her, Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?"

41 So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.

42 I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me."

43 When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth."

44 The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, Unbind him, and let him go."

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