Last weekend, a friend and I had an interesting discussion about prayer. He shared with me that he’d been striving to reach a particular goal for a very long time. Frustrated by his inability to achieve the goal, he’d spent a great deal of time in prayer, asking God for strength and guidance. Now, the opportunity to reach the goal was before him; however, rather than celebrating, he was grappling with doubt. Was this truly his moment? Was he ready?

I hurried to reassure him, because I’ve experienced that feeling myself: An answered prayer can seem more daunting than the problem that preceded it. Haven’t we all been in that position, positively or negatively? God gives us what we’ve asked for, and we find ourselves overwhelmed and not quite sure of our next step.

But if we have the faith to pray for something, we must also have the faith to accept His gift. We can’t ask God for something and then back away when He gives it to us. We can’t allow our fear to overcome our faith. We must continue to stand on our faith and reach up to Him. The faith that brought us to the moment will carry us through. God does not give us His answer and then move on: He remains at our side, continuing to support us and to lead us, eager to hear our prayers of thanksgiving. We move forward, blessed by His love and strengthened by His gifts.

God gives us many gifts of which we are not worthy – His grace, most of all. And yet He gives us these gifts, He answers these prayers, because He loves us. Because He wants us to strive, to grow, to change. Because He wants us to show others how His love can change our lives.

Let us be bold in our prayers and in our acceptance of God’s answers. When He answers, let us respond with thanks, service, and joy. And may we share our joy and strength in Him, that others may be encouraged as well.

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him.”

1 John 5:14-15