While prayer is how we directly communicate with God, there are many ways that He can communicate back to us so that we can receive answers from Him. Here are five ways that answers to prayer can come and how to recognize them.
1) Through the scriptures
A beautiful method of communication that God can use is to speak to His children when they are reading the Bible. After we pray, if we stop and take the time to study the teachings and words found in the Bible, God can speak to us, and those scriptures will provide an answer to our prayers. It will feel as if He is speaking directly to us in our challenges.
2) Through meditation
Simple activities like taking a walk or going for a long drive while listening to music and pondering things can help us to be able to receive an answer to our prayers. It does not have to be a hike or a huge effort. Sitting quietly in your room after praying without other distractions. A walk in the park on a lunch break. Turning off the radio while driving to the store without music or podcasts to distract. Whether it be through the peace we feel just being still or the clarity that comes to our thoughts through the Spirit, taking time to meditate and put ourselves in a peaceful environment can open us up to receive answers and impressions from God.
3) Through other people
Often our prayers can be answered through the words, examples, and love of other people. They work as instruments in God’s hands to act as He would act if He could come down personally to be with you. When you reach out and connect with people you trust that love you and are supportive of you and your life, you can find answers to your prayers through connecting and communicating with them.
4) Through service to others
When we look outside of ourselves and away from our own problems, we can often find answers to our prayers in serving other people. Service helps to alleviate our own burdens by putting them into perspective as we become aware of others and their struggles. It helps us to find joy and meaning in our lives as we help to make the burdens that others are carrying lighter. Jesus lived His life this way and gave us the best example to follow. Service brings us answers to prayer but also helps us to be an answer to the prayers of others who are in need.
5) Through sincere seeking
God is always there, ready to reach out and to help us in our lives. However, He cannot do all the work for us. We need to be willing to put in the work and to seek Him out – to put ourselves in places and situations where we can be close to Him and show God that we are putting Him first. This makes it easier for the Spirit to guide us and give us answers to the things we are grappling with and to give us confidence to keep moving forward with trust in God.