Make sure you are faithful to God if you want His favor and greatest blessings. This involves repenting of all sins, doing what He commanded for forgiveness, living a life of obedience, and prioritizing spiritual things over material things every day (Prov. 28:9; Isa. 59:1, 2; Mt. 6:19-21; 33; 6:25-34; 7:21-27; 10:32-39; Lk. 9:23; Jn. 4:24; 9:31; Acts 2:36-42; 20:7; 22:16; Rom. 3:23; 6:3-6; 12:1, 2, 9-21; 2 Cor. 4:16-18; Eph. 1:3; Php. 2:12; Col. 3:1-4; Heb. 5:9; 10:23-31; 1 Pet. 1:15, 16; 3:12; 1 Jn. 1:6-2:6, 15-17).
Don’t stop trusting God in the middle of one of life’s storms! Patiently trust Him until the end, even if it takes years, or even to the point of death. He will bless you in the way He chooses when He chooses (Psa. 27:10-14; Job 13:15; Lk. 18:26-30; Rev. 2:10).
What you THINK should have happened may not actually be what was best. Father knows best. Trust Him with all your heart instead of assuming you always know what is best. He knows the potential outcome of every possible scenario. Let Him direct your paths via His Word as you trust in His providential care (Prov. 3:5, 6; Psa. 119:105; 147:5; Isaiah 55:8, 9).
Just when everything looks bad, God may surprise you with something even better than what you wanted or expected! Our Heavenly Father is “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20).
If we are faithful Christians, remember that God is on our side and has a great desire to bless us, just as an earthly father wants his children to be blessed, but our Heavenly Father can give far greater gifts than any earthly father! (Psa. 46:1; Mt. 7:7-11; 1 Cor. 15:55-57; 2 Cor. 9:15; 1 Pet. 3:12). Jesus taught that if God takes care of the birds and flowers, how much more will He take care of His children? (Mt. 6:25-34). If God can create and uphold the universe, can He not take care of us? (Neh. 9:6; Heb. 1:3; Acts 17:28). If God did not spare His only Son because of His love for us, will He not take care of us? (Rom. 8:32).
It seems many Christians do not believe God is answering prayers today, however, people of faith believe everything God said, including what He said about answering prayers (Rom. 10:17). “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him” (1 Jn. 5:14, 15). We must ask according to God’s will, but we do not always know what God’s will is. We must simply make our requests and let God’s will be done as we completely trust Him (Prov. 3:5, 6; Mk. 14:36). When Jesus taught about God’s providential care, Jesus scolded his hearers for their lack of faith in their Father’s providence: “O ye of little faith” (Mt. 6:30). How much faith do we have in God’s providence? If you are a faithful Christian, but you are praying to God without faith that He is listening or willing to help, don’t expect Him to grant your request! James said Christians must ask in faith without wavering, or they will receive nothing (Jam. 1:6, 7). Why should Christians believe everything in the Bible except what God said about answering prayers?
If you have some selfish, sinful motivation behind your request, don’t expect God to grant your request (Jam. 4:3), and if you don’t ask for help, don’t expect to get help: “…ye have not, because ye ask not” (Jam. 4:2). Asking God for what we need honors Him and acknowledges our dependence on Him as the Giver of every good and perfect gift (Jam. 1:17; cf. Deut. 8:18). We also acknowledge His providence by giving Him thanks “in everything,” “always for all things” (1 Thess. 5:18; Eph. 5:20).
Nothing bothering you is too small or great to give to God. He wants us to cast “all” our cares upon Him (1 Pet. 5:7), and to “Be careful [anxious] for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Php. 4:6-7). “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (Mt. 7:7-8; cf. 7:9-11).
Christians must understand the difference between the miraculous and the providential. Christians may pray for safety during a storm (providential care—Php. 4:6, 7), but Jesus rebuked a storm and it immediately disappeared (miraculous—Mk. 4:39). God rained down bread from heaven for the Israelites (miraculous—Ex. 16), but Jesus taught His followers to pray for their daily bread (non-miraculous, providential blessings—Mt. 6:11, 25-34). God said that miracles would cease, but He never even implied that prayers for providential blessings would become ineffective after the miraculous age (Zech. 13:1-3; 1 Cor. 13:8-12; Eph. 4:7-13; 5:20).
Regarding the details and inner workings of God’s providence, we could say what Mordecai said: “Who knows?” (Est. 4:14; Rom. 11:33; 13:1; Phm. 15). Man cannot always know how and when God works in His providential care, but this writer has seen it countless times and plans to trust in the Great Provider until the end.