Most of us have had times when we have prayed a prayer of faith, and our prayers seemed to go unanswered. Maybe you got into the Word of God, planted a seed, and prayed for a miracle. Then, nothing happened. The problem is that many people stop believing at that moment. God's Word says in Mark 11:24, "What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." This is where most Christians stumble. The Bible says to believe when you pray that you have received.
Most of us are familiar with Matthew 7:7, which says, "Ask, and it shall be given you." However, when we don't see an immediate manifestation to prayer, we say, "Well, not everyone receives." That's not scriptural because the next verse says, "For every one that asketh receiveth." Most of us don't really believe this scripture. We lose our excitement in the Word and don't expect it to work like that.
We had a friend with leukemia, and she believed that she would be healed. We prayed that she would be healed. On her death bed, she still believed she would be healed at any time. She died and we prayed for her to be raised from the dead for a long time. Her father said that it couldn't be God's will for everyone to be healed, or she would have been healed. We didn't understand and it was hard for me. It was several years before I figured out how we allowed the devil to beat us on that one.
We have a responsibility to bring about God's will. Some people believe that God's will comes to pass no matter what we do, but that's not true. God is bound by His own laws. Second Peter 3:9 says that it's not God's will that anyone should perish. For that to happen, there has to be someone to preach the Gospel. God's will does not automatically comes to pass. Psalm 89:34 says, "My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips." God has bound Himself by His own Word. God gave us authority over the devil, and we must exercise what God has given us.
Most people interpret God's Word by their own experience, "God's Word says one thing, but here is what happened." If someone doesn't get healed, we make our own theology and say, "Well, not everyone gets healed." God doesn't say no to something He already said yes to. You need to learn to interpret your circumstances by God's Word - not God's Word by your circumstances.
Most of us have seen a promise in God's Word and believed to the best of our ability, but it didn't come to pass. How do we harmonize the fact that God is true to His Word and it didn't happen?
There is a physical world, and there is a spiritual world. The spiritual world created this physical world. There is a spiritual reality for everything physical. In 2 Kings 6, you can read the story of Elisha. When the Syrian army had surrounded Elisha and his army, a servant asked Elisha, "What shall we do?" Elisha answered, "Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them." Verse 17 tells us, "And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha." There weren't more physically but more spiritually. The angels of God surrounded them. Elisha spoke the truth.
Some people say it's a lie to speak that you're healed when you don't feel healed, but that's operating only by your five senses. You have to walk in the spirit. There are spiritual realities. John 6:63 says, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." The Bible is spiritual truth. We are limited when we only think in the physical realm. Just because you can't see it doesn't mean God didn't do it. God always answers when you pray according to His will. When God answers your prayer, He gives it to you in spiritual form. If you ask for finances, God releases the spiritual power to produce those finances. If you pray for healing, He gives it to you in spiritual form. God's operation ends in the spiritual realm, independent of you.
Faith is the key that brings the answer into the physical realm. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Heb. 11:1). Your faith brings what God has accomplished into physical reality. God gives it to you in the spirit, then faith brings it into the physical realm. Many times you don't know God has answered your prayer because you can't perceive it in the physical. You have to believe something is happening beyond your five senses. If you don't believe it until you see it, you won't receive from God. The Bible says you have to believe you receive when you pray.
What happens between the time you say amen and see the answer manifested? We learn something about this when we read about the prayers of Daniel. In Daniel 9:20, Daniel is praying, and the angel Gabriel appears and tells him (in verse 23), "At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee." In only three minutes, God answered his prayer. Gabriel said at the beginning of his prayer God answered, but it took three minutes for it to become visible. Sometimes it takes a little time to manifest in the physical. Often, we step out of faith and stop the manifestation from coming.
In Daniel 10, Daniel is praying again. This time it says, in verse 3, he fasted and prayed for three weeks. In verse 10, God sends a messenger and answers. Why did it take three minutes the first time and three weeks the second time? Some people say that God is making them wait to teach them something. That is not scriptural. The Bible says that the Scripture is given to teach us. We can learn through trials, but God doesn't send them to teach us.
In verse 12, the angel told Daniel that God heard his prayer the first day and sent the answer. What held up the answer? The prince of the kingdom of Persia did battle with the angel for 21 days. There was spiritual warfare going on for three weeks. Satan fought to keep the answer from Daniel. In the Old Testament, people didn't have authority over the devil. That authority came with Jesus. If God had shown Daniel what was going on, he couldn't have done anything. In the New Testament, the blinders are removed because we have authority over Satan. We don't have to wait for the devil to run his course. When Jesus withstood temptation, the devil left because he had done everything he could do (Matt. 4; Luke 4). Satan doesn't have a limitless bag of tricks.
If you pray and don't see manifestation immediately, God is waiting on you to stand against the devil and bring it into being.
How can Satan hinder your prayer? He can use another person to hinder your prayer. Sometimes, other people are involved in your answer. If you are praying for finances, intercede for the people who will be used in your prosperity. If you are trying to sell a house, pray for the person who will buy your house. If you want a promotion at work, pray for the boss who will be used to give you your promotion.
Some of you may think you don't have enough faith to believe for a miracle. The truth is that you can't get any more faith than you already have. Romans 12:3 says that God has dealt to every man the measure of faith. God gave us all the same measure of faith.
In Galatians 2:20, Paul said, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Paul said that he uses the faith of Jesus. You have the same amount of faith that Jesus has. That should be enough.