In college, I used to (only semi-jokingly) ask God to send me a tall, blonde, Jesus-loving, soccer-playing, European boyfriend.
A few weeks ago, I married a tall, blonde pastor who played collegiate soccer and grew up in Germany.
Y’all, God definitely has a sense of humor.
Your answered prayer is likely different than mine—a cured illness, a new job, a successful pregnancy. But no matter the magnitude or minuteness of your prayer, God still answered it!
It’s easy to pray when we need or want something. But what do we do when our prayers are answered? Three biblical examples come to mind when I think of answered prayers, and they give us insight into how we should respond when our prayers are answered.
The Example of Hannah: Surrender
And Hannah prayed and said,
“My heart exults in the LORD;
my horn is exalted in the LORD.
My mouth derides my enemies,
because I rejoice in Your salvation.
“There is none holy like the LORD:
for there is none besides You;
there is no rock like our God.”
(1 Samuel 2:1–2)
I love the story of Hannah—and not just because we share a name! Her story is the perfect example of a longing prayer fulfilled. For years, she prayed for a son yet remained barren. God answered her prayer (likely not as quickly as she wanted), and Hannah responded by giving up exactly what she had prayed for.
This isn’t a command to immediately give up whatever it is that God has granted you. But it is a broader call to be willing to give it up should God take it away. Remember: anything that you prize above God is an idol. Rejoice in your answered prayers and enjoy the blessings you’ve been given, but surrender those blessings to God.
The Example of the Psalmist: Praise
But truly God has listened;
He has attended to the voice of my prayer.
Blessed be God,
because He has not rejected my prayer
or removed His steadfast love from me!
The Psalms are, of course, filled with many hymns and songs of praise. Psalm 66 in particular occurs after an answered prayer as an immediate response of praise! This should be the natural response to any answered prayer, but it’s often the type of prayer that is most neglected. We are quick to forget God when we don’t need something.
When a prayer is answered, we should respond with a prayer giving all praise and thanks to God!
The Example of Zechariah: Humility
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare His ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to His people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Zechariah initially responds to his answered prayer for a child with disbelief, so God causes him to become mute. Later, however, after his son, John, is born, Zechariah responds with a prayer of humility. He recognizes the magnitude of what his son’s birth signifies in light of the promises God had made generations earlier.
When you receive an answer to prayer, it’s important to respond with humility, recognizing that the blessing came from God, and not from your own hard work. And, of course, viewing each blessing in light of the Gospel will help humble you in view of God’s grand salvation plan!
To read more prayers in biblical narratives alongside beautiful devotions, order the Portals of Prayer Bible below.