Faith and Spirituality, Self Help

Maybe God Is Answering Your Prayers

45 Comments 09 November 2010

QuestioningReligion_400One of the best prayers that we could ever pray is “God, not my will, but Your will be done.” If you will stay open to His direction, and follow your heart, from Become a Better You: 7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day, God will protect you.

“It seems like God never answers my prayers,” someone may say. “He never does what I want.”

Maybe God is answering your prayers; He’s simply saying no. Or maybe He’s saying it’s not the right time. Or maybe He’s saying, “I’m not going to remove that obstacle until you change your attitude and quit complaining about it.” Make some simple adjustments, and you will see things begin to improve.

I thank God that He didn’t answer some of my prayers, because sometimes what I thought was the best for me wasn’t the best at all. Nevertheless, if you push and manipulate, trying to make things happen, God will sometimes let you have your way — and you will have to learn His lessons the hard way.

I’ve seen people jump into a relationship or a business deal that they didn’t feel good about, but they wanted it so badly. God is a gentleman. If you insist, He will back off and let you do things your way. Most of the time when we do that, though, we end up settling for second best.

If events are not happening as quickly as you would like, or if you are not seeing circumstances change in your favor, open your grip on the situation; relax and learn to trust God. Know this: God is on your side. He is not trying to hold you back. Nobody wants you to fulfill your destiny more than Almighty God. Nobody wants you to see your dreams come to pass any more than He does. He put the dream in your heart in the first place. Let Him lead you and guide you.

I believe one of the best prayers that we could ever pray is “God, not my will, but Your will be done.” I pray it in some form every day: “God, open up the right doors and close the wrong doors.” If you will stay open to His direction, and follow your heart, God will protect you. It says in Proverbs, “If you acknowledge God in all your ways, He will direct your paths.” One translation says, “He’ll crown your efforts with success.”

Not long ago, some of our staff members and I were flying to another city aboard a small airplane. The aircraft had only one seat on each side of the aisle. After we took off, I wanted to get my tray table out so I could make some notes. The tray table on this particular plane came right out of the side, beneath my window. There was a little sign that said “pull,” so I pulled, but I couldn’t get it open. It was stuck. My friend Johnny was sitting across the aisle, so I looked over at his tray table, which he had pulled out with ease, and his window looked exactly like mine. I went back to work, trying to extricate my table, yanking on it even harder. I thought, I’m going to get this tray table out if it’s the last thing I ever do!

I tugged and pulled, and it still wouldn’t come out. About that time, Johnny came over and started pulling on the table release, and he couldn’t get it out either. One of our other staff members tried as well. Nothing happened. Finally, I sat down across the aisle in a different seat. That’s when I looked up and noticed right above that window where we had been pulling was a little sign in big bold letters. It read, “No tray table this seat. Emergency exit only.”

I said, “Dear God, thank you for not letting me have my way. Thank you for not opening up that door.” Thank goodness the people who designed that plane knew there’d be people like me on board. They put a latch up top, where you had to use both hands to open the emergency door. Otherwise, pulling that latch may indeed have been one of the last things that I ever did!

Thank God, He knows what’s best for us. Thank God that He’s merciful and He doesn’t always give us our way.

I’ve learned that when my prayers aren’t being answered, or when things aren’t happening as fast as I would like, that either means that God is protecting me from danger up ahead, it’s not the right time, or God has something better in store.

The first year I went away to college, I applied for a job at the university television studio. The school owned a large, well-known production facility, and I’d always wanted to be a part of it. Television production was my passion. The first week of school, I met with the production manager in charge of all the cameramen and hiring all the assistants. At that point, I had several years of camera experience under my belt.

The production manager went out of his way to be kind to me. He took a couple of hours to show me around, and we seemed to really hit it off. When it came time for me to leave, he said, “Joel, I’ll call you later this week and I’ll let you know about the job.”

That week went by, and I didn’t hear from him. The next week, nothing. The following week, still no word. Finally, I called him, and he was always either busy or out of town. It was the strangest thing: I didn’t think I would have any problem getting that job, but the door simply wasn’t opening. Worse yet, I wanted it so badly, but I could see it just wasn’t meant to be. Finally, I accepted it and embraced the thought, “No big deal. I’m just going to let it go.”

In retrospect, I now realize that if I had taken that position, I probably would not have returned to Lakewood Church to start a television outreach. I know my personality. I would have been so caught up in the excitement and I would have loved it so much, I’m sure I just would have stayed right there at the university TV station.

But God knows what’s best for us. Although that job looked great to me at the time, I didn’t know where God was taking me. I didn’t know what He had in store. Had I remained there, I would have missed what God wanted me to do at Lakewood, and you would probably not be reading this book.

Too often, we’re shortsighted. We can see only a little ways down the road, and even that we see through a glass dimly. God, though, can see the big picture. He knows when something is going to be a dead end. He knows when someone is going to be a distraction that will hinder us from our destiny.

Some of the things you may be frustrated about right now, ten years from now you will look back at and thank God for not answering that prayer the way you wanted or for not opening up that door. You may not be able to see it right now, but that’s what faith is all about. Why don’t you trust God? Believe that He has you in the palm of His hand and know that when it comes time for God to open a door, no man can keep it shut. No obstacle is too high. Your enemies may be powerful, but our God is all-powerful. When God says it’s time to promote you, you are going to be promoted. The good news is that your promotion will not be one second late. Suddenly, God can turn any situation around. Suddenly, God can cause a door to open. All it takes is one touch of God’s favor.

Become a Better You

Become a Better You

Joel Osteen


Joel Osteen is the senior pastor of Lakewood Church, listed by several sources as America's largest and fastest-growing congregation, in Houston, Texas. Additionally, he is the author of numerous journals, devotionals, and #1 best-selling books. He resides in Houston with his wife, Victoria, and their children.

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45 Comments so far

  1. charity says:

    i understan now, thank u pastor

  2. And maybe he doesn’t exist.

  3. Mike s says:

    in what you say is true than why was i denied a $105 bi weekly unemployment check from a very unfair referee that i needed to support my wife and 3 children all under 5 years old ? I prayed and was just ignored . Before that i been praying for many years for a good job and ignored. even though i may not be a good person my children need that money. what are we just like toys for God to play with that he created to get a kick out of his creation? God also took my father from me 2 years ago where i saw my mom pray and pray , just ignored again. actually The government has thus far taking care of my family with snap program for them to survive but god has done nothing. as you say years later i will realize it was better God ignored my prayers?? I guess as i said we are just toys he created.

  4. Patricia says:

    God isn’t ignoring u. I know it may be hard to understand but God loves u and he does what he thinks is best. The government isn’t taking care of u, God is. U just have to have faith. God doesn’t always do what we want, but what he thinks is best. Trust in him and have faith

  5. Natsla says:

    Amen to that, God is helping you through the government

  6. God is ignoring you because he doesn’t exist.

  7. God doesn’t exist. Why are you so ignorant????

  8. No, he isn’t. The governement exists. Whereas there’s no such thing as god.

  9. Deli says:

    This article is very inspiring and helpful :) Thanks for this :)

  10. Mary says:

    I have felt just like Mike sometimes but have come to realize that I need to continue to have faith and answers for some of us come very slowly. I just don’t see giving up as an option. Call me stupid. I still believe there is good for me in the future and will continue to pray!

  11. Elizabeth says:

    God is the answer wait patiently what He said He fulfils it a man can lay but God never faith only and believe only

  12. Sarah says:

    GOD IS REAL, he is the reason you wake up healthy and with a family. God is important and he does listen to you, he always will. Have faith and be patient

  13. Gregory says:

    I am so touch with your words. Most of the things you talk about here are what dealing with in my private life presently. But thank God for using someone like you to touch my heart from doing evil things because I think God isn’t answering my prayers. Now. Does have the better plan for us. Thanks Joel.

  14. andisiwe says:

    hi pastor would you please help me my dream was about a man and his spouse advises me by says #god has a plan for me n i started crying and even i wake up still crying what does that mean?

  15. candice says:

    reply on me e-mail

  16. Kennedy says:

    I thank God that He didn’t answer some of my
    prayers, because sometimes what I thought was
    the best for me wasn’t the best at all.
    Nevertheless, if you push and manipulate, trying to
    make things happen, God will sometimes let you
    have your way — and you will have to learn His
    lessons the hard way. Kennedy

  17. Anju Agarwal says:

    what a right time to read this article when i was on the verge of failing my faith in God, or i was too occupied by my own pond of little wishes. It really gives me an insight and let me believe in myself even more.

  18. marie says:

    A big Amen to what you say. But I really need you to answer and advise me if possible. Well I am a26k and intelligent woman I have decided to remain virgin unlill my wedding. That is no t the point for many years now I am praying God to send me the right one my perfect husband believe it or not I have met him in the hotel where Iwork he was there for a seminar at first sight iI recognised the man of my dream we even exchange our phone numbers. But till 2 months now he hasn’t call.he went back to his country. I don’t understand it the number that he gave me was not fake because I was able to Thrace him but I can’t reach him when I decide to it a God bad thrick or what. But the thing is that I can’t overcome this because I truly believe that we are meant to each other in a billion how many chances did I have to meet the man of my dreams. Thatis the reason sht I don’t understand the harshness of the situation I am trouble

  19. nomaxabiso says:

    Since when i finish school 2008 i never find a permanent job i have been praying and nothing ,now i don’t even get temporary and i’m married have 2 kids also my husband is doing piece jobs its hard for us ,we must send kids to school ,we pray we don,t give up

  20. Dennis says:

    Lets always listen to God for he knows our life much better than we know it.

  21. Gwed says:

    Almighty God allow each and everyone of us on earth to go through easy, hard, and or difficult times, I’m sure you could think of more types of times. I say that to say this, it’s all because he wants us to come to him. God wants us to learn and know he is ALL we need. That’s why he’s God all by himself.

  22. Hoss says:

    You can Pray all you want, but if you do not have the belief and the faith, what good is your prayer? sounds like that is where you are lacking!.. just sayng .. try it!

  23. Truth says:

    Well i gave up praying for a wife and family that i really wanted to have since many other people have that today which they were very blessed, and what about us God? What did we do wrong?

  24. Mmalifa says:

    Hi,pastor i’v been havin a problem for a long time now,sexual problems and doctors don’t seem to know what is wrong with me,as a girl i had dreams about marriage and a family but nw don’t see it,i feel lyk an alien sumtyms i wonder why God created sex and also create me not to feel any plessure at al during sex,i dont knw hw to t el my pastor or pray to God about this caz i dnt knw if it is good to pray to God about sexual stuff,i love God,i praise and worship him but ive lost hope in finding a husband caz it’s nt possible in my situation i hate men and myslf.does God answer prayers about sexual stuff,i nid help?

  25. sister Mmalifa. dot worry God will help you for dat ok

  26. Have mercy on me, LORD, for I am in distress. Tears blur my eyes. My body and soul are withering away.

    Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief; my soul and my body also

    Do not hide your face from your servant; answer me quickly, for I am in trouble.

  27. Marie says:

    Believing in God is hard. I have gotten to the point where I just can’t believe anymore. I know He is real, but He doesn’t have a plan for my life. I watched my friend struggle for years with her own health problems, her husband’s health problems and her brother being a diabetic, as well as a double amputee. She also had a 18 year old son. She did everything she could to help them, tried to find better jobs, tried to change her life for the better. THE END RESULT: She died on October 13th, 2014. Her family is missing her dearly and so do I. I only have one sister left when it comes to my own family. My mother and grandmother who raised be died 3 years apart. No father in my life. I have a job that sucks and I have a masters degree and no one in the field I studied for will give me a chance. I’m lonely because I have only a 2 friends and they are not always available. I’m 31 years old and pretty much on my own and nothing is working for me. If God has a plan for your life, tell me what it is? I guess the plan for my friend was for her to work herself to death and die. Sure, He has an awesome plan for your life. Just wait…

  28. I would like to know what does God’s timing mean to me here’s what I’m talking about i’m in love with a married woman she been married 27 years of knowing 25 she told me for the last 3 1/2 years that she hasn’t had any sexual contact with her husband he doesn’t show her any affection I sure more affection without being sexual with her then he does she’s the one that got me to Joe Alstyne in the first place when I had cancer and I prayed not been watching you every sense i’m so much in love with this woman and I’ve told her that she said she loves me but it’s God’s timing will put us together not Amanda’s timing not our timing i’m asking what does that mean by God’s timing today she said again call Joel call Joyce Meyers call anybody you need to cause I thought she told me that the timing for me and her to be together I’m harping on timing too much and I need to know what God’s timing me so somebody Joe pick Tori anybody that can help me with this she’s 50 I’m 69 and he is 52 and they’re both great friends of mine are like family to me and I’m not having my life the way I want it without her in it I know divorce is room in the butt in God but when does divorce coming to place he doesn’t hit her he only uses her I think by not having any sex with her and not having any feelings for her only one other people are around she says I’m his trophy wife I want her to be my every wife every woman in the world to me but I don’t want to go to go against God and I’ve been loving this woman since 1958 when God put her in my dream she’s very religious and I’m getting it would because of her because of Joe and Joyce Meyers i’m asking you Joel help me with this what should I doing what is God time what does God’s timing me thank you for being there every Sunday morning for me I love you and I love you ministry always your chance

  29. Machelle says:

    Joel Osteen is a money hungry, lying, opportunist antichrist. At least Joyce Meyers tell you the good and bad of the bible. Joel have you thinking all you have to do is pray for what you want and send him a check and God will give you a job, promotion, husband, new house and a unicorn. The man told a disabled Army veteran that since she never gave any money to his church, he wasn’t obligated to help her when she was facing homelessness. And before you deny it, it was caught on tape in Dallas. I wouldn’t believe a word this demon has to say.

  30. frank says:

    den u are sayin it might not be gods will if it takes too long or he is testin us? wat a waste den i spent a ton of money on dis girl dat i loved sooo much and fasted and prayed and prayed some more for 2 yrs or more. am 38this year and i honestly havent reaped the benefits of stayin a virgin, remaining pure this that and the other; i think church has failed in teh romantic department and preachers simply dont kno wat to do and/or say so they come up with thesr theories about why prayers are not answered

  31. J says:

    This is hard. I’m a college graduate, stuck at a job I hate, in my dull and boring hometown. I’ve been praying for God to tell me or show me what I’m supposed to be doing with my life, because I know that it can’t be working at a Ross in my small hometown. So how do I deal with that?

  32. kris says:

    I feel alot of these people.sometimes i dont know how or what to pray seems like i ran out of questions and words in seems like all i have is bad luck.i stay praying even tho i get upset with god sometimes.sometimes i wounder is this whats stopping my blessing,bc if it is its not fair.god said himself no ones perfect.also i see people that dont even seek god doing so much better than me.i dont get it.everday i wanna give up, again for the 100,000 or more times Lord please deal me a better hand. Amen

  33. maggie says:

    help me to pray to get a husband i have prayed for so many years and yet no answer .
    help me with a guide prayer coz i still have faith i will get married . i need a husband

  34. Yan says:

    God is good! Always put in mind that we borrow everything on earth no matter what or who. I do believe in God and even I have a lot of problems and my mom died I never felt bitter at all. I’m very thankful that God take away all the pain that my mom had. Keep on talking to God. Amen.

  35. hephzibah says:

    Thankyou very much…jst what i needed 2 hear @ dis point in my lyf.

  36. Lil says:

    God let me have my way. I pray that from now on His will be done….
    Thank you

  37. grace yeh says:

    I feel God preset always in there. if u don’t want pray one way is mediation not said any just quit mine and less to think it is great deal help without all stress be with lord also it is help alone be with God.

  38. wow…. I didn’t read who wrote this down and after I went through the whole article which I normally never do… I found it so helpful wow!! thanks God because this is exactly what I needed. then when I realized that this was written by Joel Osteen, I was shocked! I used to think bad about this man since he never preaches about hell, but I know when things come from God and this article definitely comes from God. I really was wrong about this man.

  39. SadderWiser says:

    I can’t believe the platitudes on here. I sure wish all this were true; been hearing it my entire life (along with other Christian platitudes). I kind of wish I’d never converted. When I was younger, I really thought that Christianity had the answers. Well, I’m now a Senior, and no, I CAN’T look back and say, “God did this for a reason, and He knew what He was doing…”, blah blah. Frankly, I have had lifetime of hardship and trauma– including 3 churches that royally screwed me– but which never apologized, and acted as though it were MY fault– and NONE what has happened to me has made any sense. I don’t think I was being pushy and manipulative, either. I DO think, however, that I have been taken advantage of– often, by so-called Christians. Now, I have to figure out what to do about “getting a life”, since Christianity has ruined me. I don’t think I believe in any organized religion, any more. As for whether a benevolent God exists, the jury is still out on that, but I don’t believe in such mindless answers. None of my prayers has been answered: at least, not on the large crises of life. I figure I have wasted hours on prayers, and have got very little in return. I know someone will say I’m ungrateful, but that’s not true: I have made a point to thank “Him” for the “little things”… nevertheless, I have been deeply unhappy. “He” has not shown me His will or the way out, and I don’t think “He” really cares about me, one way or the other. Or perhaps, “He”‘s a sadist?

    Free will re: suffering is another cop-out. Christians say, “God allows evil”… for a greater purpose. Hello? Wait until it happens to you. Sometimes, it’s just plain evil, or just plain suffering– and there are no answers. None that I can see, anyway. I am in pain 24/7… nothing noble, or redeeming about it, either.

    I guess I want REAL answers! Here’s a Bible quote for you: “I must see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living”. Job never really got his answer, either. He repented: of what? Of feeling miserable? Story without a satisfactory ending. Just shows that suffering is a mystery; tried to show that God is sovereign, but even if Job got another family, what about the first family that died? Stupid.

    Though it could be read that God tried to make it up to him, but giving him another family (in which case, God was admitting to a mistake?) Interesting theory…

    I challenge God– if “He” exists, and really does love me — to MAKE MY LIFE BETTER! I am like Job, only I complain and am proud of it.

    I am about to challenge a church on what they did to me. Those of you who are “believers” can pray, and let’s see if it makes any difference? Thanks.

  40. Asanda says:

    Don’t give in to the devil,God loves you,dont let those who consumed you shake your faith,we are not fighting against the flesh and blood and please dont be moved by wat you see,feel or hear but be only moved by the word of God.remember that faith never give up no matter what happens,keep talking what you want to see in your life and it will manifest because we are spirit beings.

  41. Asanda says:

    We cant always control what happens to us,bur we can always control how we choose to respond.In those moments when i choose to stop complaining and instead give thanks to God for the food in my life,the parts that seem bad start to seem much less significant.Choose to keep positive attitude and thankful heart regardless of what you’re going through.

  42. Asanda says:

    sorry not food but good in my life

  43. michael says:

    i am in love with someone who doesnt love me. i have put it to god many times and the answe wil come back yes. it will happen etc..thing is i am approaching 40 and am tired of waiting. am tired goin 2 bed alone and seein othas hold hands in public with their significant othas. but i cant stay inside all the time, i have to go out and enjoy life, go to cinemas go mall wherever. but i believe the time has come and am tired of waitin. so brothers and sisters can you, if at all whenever u have the time just say 2 words of prayer towards me that this is the year when things r gonnna work out with my intended and i will ring in 2016 in the arms of my beloved in jesus name! Thanks

  44. Lovingme4G says:

    MiCheal, i am praying for You. i had this same problem and my answer was always yes we are meant for each other. But i just realized that being Married is not what we live for but to Glorify God daily and that the the thing we can not do without is the Love Of God. So i concentrate in praying that i should love God more above anything in this world. I have stopped praying to God to ask if this particular person is meant for me, but now i pray that God’s will to be done in his life as well as mine that is we should be safe have eternal life after death . God at the right time will bring the right person for me but i don’t have to worry or consume myself and energy in praying for this guy to be with me. Pray for his soul and urs for that’s the best thing you can do for some one you truly love.

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