Does God always hear my prayers?
When Norsemen Became Peaceful
“Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me…” (John 11:41-42 NIV)
How many times have you heard, or perhaps even thought the following question: Does God always hear my prayers?
This is a question of faith. We either believe He listens to us and wait with anticipation to His answer, or we believe that He does not have time for us and live accordingly with restless, haunting lives, plagued by constant worry.
“I call on the LORD in my distress, and he answers me.” (Ps 120:1 NIV)
The Bible is clear that God answers our prayers. But it is true that He does not always answer immediately, and we have to wait on Him. The problem is that we don’t like waiting. We want it now, not later! Especially in our day and age, when the word “later” usually means it will never happen! If we don’t get it now, we may never get it at all! Unlike humans, however, who tend to not be true to their word, God always answers prayers.
But not always as we would expect.
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” (Heb 10:23 NIV)
So why does God want us to have to wait on His answers?
The world of today, especially in the west, can usually be characterized by the word “hectic”. We rush everywhere. Fast-food restaurants are on the rise, instant credit is in demand, and instant gratification is a must. However are we truly satisfied with such a “restless” life? Or, with outstanding bills to be paid, no cash, and estranged family members, are we left wishing for days past?
You see, waiting has huge benefits. For one thing, waiting will help us realize that our God is, indeed, faithful.
“I wait for the LORD , my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.” (Ps 130:5NIV)
Hope arises as we wait in faith. We truly can anticipate a response from God, and putting our trust in His faithfulness will help us develop trust in the One who will come through for us. It helps us to develop trust in His Word, the Bible. Because of our waiting, we will be filled with such awe when God comes through for us.
Unfortunately, we often don’t even notice when God answers our prayers, for we are too busy running back and forth. If we would take the time to notice, we would be able to do nothing less than stand in awe and admiration!
These principles are seen in many stories in the Bible. Take, for example, the nation of Israel when they were living in bondage in Egypt. They were in trouble and they knew it. When they lifted their voices to heaven, did God hear them? Absolutely! “The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob.” (Ex 2:23-24 NIV)
The Israelites had no idea HOW God would deliver them.
It’s interesting to note the advice God gave them through his servant Moses: “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today.” (Ex 14:13 NIV) God was encouraging them to continue to be still and trust in the One who would answer their prayers!
Does God always hear my prayers? He sure does. His promise to each one of us: “‘Because he loves me,’ says the Lord, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.'” (Ps 91:14 NIV)
The nation of Iceland is a prime example of answered prayers. Since its foundation in the 9th century, Christianity has always been a part of Icelandic heritage. It’s true that many of the settlers were of Nordic origin, and they worshipped Norse gods such as Odinn and Freyja. However many of the other settlers, such as those who came over as slaves to the Norsemen, were Christian, and according to the oldest written records in Iceland, when the Norsemen first arrived, they found monks already settled there, who came in search of solitude.
In 1000 A.D., at the session of Alpingi (Parliament), Iceland was facing a rift, and it was over the question of faith: Should they split the nation and become two nations, one Christian, and the other pagan? Or should one faith be chosen over the other? They were at a stalemate, a stalemate that could lead to the destruction of the very nation. Christians all over the island were praying for a miracle. Would God hear their plea?
A Norseman magnate, Progeir, worshipper of Odinn and chieftain of Ljosavaln, who was also the Law Speaker at the parliament, called the members of the parliament together and uttered the following words: “It is true that if we divide the law, we shall also break the peace.” He then ruled that all Icelanders should be baptized into the Christians faith.
It was done as he decided. At first there were complaints among the Norsemen, but bit by bit they fell in love with the God who brought peace to their country. A miracle had occurred!
In 1540, the Lutheran movement came to that island, and even today, 90% of the population are still considered Evangelical-Lutheran, and they live in peace with one another.
Does God hear prayers?
Ask these Norsemen. They will tell us!