Q. Is the prayer of faith always answered?
A. I haven’t time to answer that question as I would like to do; but faith must have a warrant.
Agood many people think they have faith enough when they ask for certain things; yet their prayers are not answered, and they wonder why. The trouble is, their faith had no warrant. For instance, if I should go out to meet the army of Midian at the head of three hundred men with empty pitchers, I should probably be routed. Gideon had a warrant. God told him to go, and he went, and Midian couldn’t stand. We have got to have some foundation for our faith-some promise of God to base our faith upon. Then again, if we don’t get our prayers answered just as we want them, it is no sign that God doesn’t answer prayer. For instance, my little boy when he was eight years old, wanted a pony. He got his answer: It was “No.” Was his prayer answered? Of course it was. I got him a goat. A pony might have kicked his head off. A goat was a good deal better for a boy eight years old than a pony. It is a foolish idea to think that God has got to do everything you ask.
You will notice that the people whose prayers are recorded in the Bible didn’t always have their prayers answered just as they wanted them to be, but often in some other way. In all true prayer you will say: “Not my will, but Thine, be done “; and all true prayer will be answered if you have made it in that spirit. God likes to have His children ask for just what they want even though the answer He will give may be very different from what they expect. I want my children to ask me for what they want; but I don’t give them all they ask for by a good deal. So make your requests known unto God, and the peace of God shall keep you.
Look at those three men of Scripture that take up more room than any other three men in the whole Bible: Moses, Elijah, and Paul. Look at Moses and Elijah in the Old Testament. They didn’t get their prayers answered in the way they wanted them, and yet God answered their prayers.
You remember Moses wanted to go with the children of Israel into the goodly land-the promised land. You can imagine how strong that desire was after he had been with them for forty years wandering in the desert. He wanted to go into the promised land and see his children settled in their home. But it wasn’t the will of God that Moses should go. And that wasn’t because God did not love Moses, for He took him up into Pisgah and showed him the whole country. A great many years later Moses did stand in the promised land-on the Mount of Transﬁguration. His prayer wasn’t answered in his way. God had better things in store for Moses; and certainly I would rather be on the Mount of Transﬁguration with Jesus Christ, and Peter, James, and John, than to have had to go over and ﬁght as Joshua did. So we are not to think that God doesn’t answer our prayers because He doesn’t answer them just in the way and the time we want them answered.
Take Elijah. If there ever was a man who knew how to pray it was Elijah. In the power of prayer he stood before Ahab and wrought wonders. After all that, he prayed that he might die under the juniper tree. Was his prayer answered in his way? Why, he was the only man under that dispensation to go to Heaven without dying.
I heard of a little boy four years old who asked his father to let him take a razor in his hand. His father said: “ Oh, no, my boy, you will cut yourself.” Then that little fellow just sat down and cried as if his heart would break. A great many grown-up people are just like that: they are praying for razors. Elijah prayed for a razor-he wanted his throat cut. But his prayer wasn’t answered that way. God wasn’t going to take his life, or let him take it.” He had something better for him.
And now look at Paul. No one takes up so much space in the New Testament as Paul, and if-there ever was a man that had power with God he had it; and yet, he prayed three times that the Lord would take the thorn out of his ﬂesh. The Lord said: “I won’t take it out, but I will give you more grace”; and Paul said: “Thank God! I wouldn’t have it taken out now if I could. I have got more grace by it.” If you have got a thorn in the ﬂesh, remember that God has sent it for some wise purpose. God sends us tribulations for our good. Paul said he gloried in persecutions, because they lifted him nearer to God and made him more like Jesus Christ.
D. L. Moody Taken from College Students at Northﬁeld: or, A College of Colleges