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Thankful for Answered Prayers

The children of God can be so grateful for the privilege of approaching our Father in heaven. God listens, and God answers. As James says, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (Jas 5:16).

This means that a sure way for us to cultivate a spirit of gratitude is to take notice of God’s many answers to our many prayers.

The reality is, however, we often forget what we asked God for. And even when we receive His good gifts, we forget to thank God. We pray for something in the morning, but by the evening, we have already taken it for granted.

For instance, we start our day with a prayer for something we call ‘traveling mercies.’ The kids are going out the door to school, or Dad is driving to work, or you need to drive for a couple of hours somewhere in the car, and you ask for protection and safety while out on the roads.

And you go out, and you all make it safely home—even after many miles traveled—but there might be little thought to how God actually answered your prayer.

Or we ask God for strength doing what we need to do for another day. We pray that He would keep us from willful sin, or give the endurance to stand at the front of the classroom all day, or grant wisdom for a three-hour meeting, or that He would supply courage to face that weighty appointment with the specialist.

Then we journey through our day without committing a grievous sin or melting into a puddle of fear or anxiety. Actually, we enjoy our work, we get good news from the doctor, and we have the chance to bless someone with our words.

God provided everything that we asked for and needed, and much more.

But do we take the time to thank Him?

Or did we assume that we would get it anyway? We show gratitude to God by seeing when He answers us. Remember what you prayed for, and then remember to thank God for his blessings.

Isaac Watts says about gratitude in prayer: “In our thanksgiving, we should be sure to take notice of all responses to prayer, all merciful appearances of God in answer to our requests. For it is but a poor converse maintained with God if we care only about our speaking to him, but take no notice of any replies he condescends to make to our poor and worthless addresses.[1] We should celebrate how God has lovingly responded to our prayers in His perfect way.

And even when we haven’t asked for His gifts, God bestows blessing. “Perhaps we never specifically asked God for these blessings or for thousands of others today, but God graciously gave them to us anyway.”[2]

Especially God’s gift of reconciliation and salvation was not something for which we asked. Indeed, we would never have conceived of such an amazing restoration of our lost condition. But God has been immensely gracious in Christ Jesus, so we thank Him.

As we become more aware of God’s relentless generosity and His often-unsought favor, we give Him praise. “Wherever there is true prayer, there thanksgiving and gratitude stand by, ready to respond to the answer when it comes.”[3]

Thank God for His gracious answers to your prayers.


[1] Isaac Watts, A Guide to Prayer (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2001), 118.

[2] James W. Beeke and Joel R. Beeke, Developing a Healthy Prayer Life (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2010), 33.

[3] E.M. Bounds on Prayer (Kensington, Penn.: Whitaker House, 1997), 308.


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