09 June, 2009

Why does God answer prayers with miracles?

There are two reasons why God answers prayers with divine miracles. If the prayers are in concordance with God’s will or to prove to humanity that He is in control and where all hope lies. He reveals divine miracles to those whom He wants to encourage in faith. A good example of this is when He appeared to the Apostles after his resurrection ….

(Mar 16:14) At length he appeared to the eleven as they were at table: and he upbraided them with their incredulity and hardness of heart, because they did not believe them who had seen him after he was risen again.

Many who would teach that it is one’s faith which brings about God’s miracles usually will quote the following verse as support for their point of view…..

(Mar 16:18) They shall take up serpents: and if they shall drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them. They shall lay their hand upon the sick: and they shall recover.

This verse is not an invitation to tempt God to do one’s will but is just another example given in Scripture as to the power of faith and that it is through God that this power emanates and it is through His will that all things are done. In the following verse it says that the signs will follow those teachers who have faith.

(Mar 16:17) And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name they shall cast out devils. They shall speak with new tongues.

These miracles are examples of the power of God meant not only for those who witnessed them from those who God had sent through His calling but also for those to be encouraged in their call and mission.

(Mar 16:20) But they going forth preached every where: the Lord working withal, and confirming the word with signs that followed.

(Heb 2:4) God also bearing them witness by signs and wonders and divers miracles and distributions of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will.

As we can see from these verses God did not provide miracles to those who expected miracles according to their faith because it is written that we all lack the faith the size of a mustard seed lest we could move mountains. We are not supposed to have sufficient faith to call upon God for is divine intervention in this way. Our expectation of a specific miracle according to our faith implies arrogance woefully misplaced. What was given to the Apostles was never promised to every believer but to those who God has chosen to be so gifted. We are to rely on God’s power only through His will. Will the sick be healed? Will the dead be raised? Will some see miracles at their hands? Will prayers be answered? Will lives be restored? The answer is yes to all these questions but only according to God’s will, not ours.

One can read the seven epistles of St. Ignatius for encouragement and inspiration. He is an example of just one of the martyrs for faith in our Savior. The fact that one would so willingly and thankfully go to their execution while in its anticipation offering so much encouragement to those continuing to endure points to the veracity of Christ’s message to humanity. Along with St. Ignatius all but one of the Apostles, the blessed St. John, were martyred for their faith. If it had been God’s will they could have saved themselves with miraculous signs of faith but that was not the will of God, just as Jesus could have called on the legions of angels at His arrest to protect Him. From where did this abiding faith come to suffer what is the ultimate sacrifice for ones faith?

When John the Baptist’s disciples were sent to Jesus to query whether He was the one, how did He answer them? Jesus directed them to His miracles and work with the poor among them. Other were likewise convinced through His miracles such as Nicodemus

(Joh 3:2) This man came to Jesus by night and said to him: Rabbi, we know that thou art come a teacher from God; for no man can do these signs which thou dost, unless God be with him.

Likewise St. Peter confirmed Jesus’ purpose in His miracles in the following…..

(Act 2:22) Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him, in the midst of you, as you also know:

And subsequently St. John concurred in the following…..

(Joh 20:31) But these are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God: and that believing, you may have life in his name.

When we feel that God has not given us the miracle which we have faithfully prayed for we must also be aware that our troubles or hurtfulness that brought us to prayer may be instead a blessing to ourselves or to others. We must always be aware that God is in control of all things and it is His will that will be done and it is His mercy and grace that is delivered within his knowledge and not ours. He knows what is best even though it may be hurtful; His will is done for a purpose sometimes obscure from us in knowledge or reason. Through these times of hurt, loss, failure and foreboding we are reminded of the necessity of our faith and that it is He that provides all things. It is to Him that we look to sustenance and it is through Him that we may endure to eternity. It is in Him that we receive hope of victory and not by our own faith. His transforming power is His greatest miracle of all.

(Phi 2:13) For it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to accomplish, according to his good will.

(Phi 2:14) And do ye all things without murmurings and hesitations:

(Phi 2:15) That you may be blameless and sincere children of God, without reproof, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation: among whom you shine as lights in the world.

In Christ,
Fr. Joseph

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