Here are some wonderful reason why we should want to receive answers to prayer—and I got a lot of help here from E. M. Bounds, a great author.
1. God’s answers to prayer shows evidence of the existence of God and give us proof of our right relationship with Him. Anyone who comes to God in prayer must believe, at least a little, that He exists (Heb. 11:6). But when He rewards us with an answer, we have unmistakable evidence of His existence. Says E. M. Bounds in his Possibilities of Prayer, “There is no proof so clear and demonstrative that God exists than prayer and its answers.”
Furthermore, when we receive answers from Him, it not only strengthens our own faith, but it plants the seed of faith in others around us who have witnessed His answers. This was Elijah’s expectation for the people of Israel—that when they witnessed what God would do they would believe. Thus he prayed, “Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the LORD God…” (1 Kin. 18:37).
Answered prayer not only gives us proof of His existence, it gives us confidence that we are on the right track with God—that we have a right relationship with Him and that He is pleased with us and with our prayers. Again E. M. Bounds states, “Answer to prayer is the convincing proof of our right relations to God.”
But it not only gives us confidence and proof; it gives those around us proof. Surely, those around Elijah knew, because of his answered prayer, that he was a man of God. When people around us see how God answers our prayers they will also regard us as men and women of God. When this happens (and it will) we must always be careful to give God the glory so they will praise Him and not us.
2. When we receive His answers we share in His work and will. God has chosen us who believe to bring to pass His will on earth. But we can’t do it under our own power. He has designed that we accomplish His work and will through prayer. That is, through prayer He will give us strength, wisdom, confidence, and any help we need to accomplish His work.
In Luke 19:10 it says, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” When we allow the Holy Spirit to fill us, we in effect are joining Jesus in His work of seeking and saving the lost. And when we pray for the lost and He answers our prayers, we can know that His work is being done though us.
3. Answers to prayer brings God glory and brings us joy. In John 14:13 Jesus said, “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” Then in John 16:24 Jesus said to His disciples (and to us), “Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” Here we see clearly that the purpose of answered prayer is to glorify God, that He would be glorified in the Son. But we see also that the outcome for us is that our joy is made full. I believe that when we pray in the Holy Spirit, according to His will, this will always be the outcome for us. For when we are used in the service of God to bring Him glory by our prayers, the Holy Spirit will always fill us up with joy. That is what will naturally happen. It is the joy of the Holy Spirit bubbling up in us; it is the overflow of the glory of God in us.
Now what we are talking about is not prayer itself. The act of prayer, the obedience of prayer, does not necessarily bring God glory. Prayer is what is expected of us, but it is the answers that come from our prayers that bring Him glory and us joy. The whole point of prayer is to get answers.
M. Bounds has said, “It is not the marvelous array of argument and eloquence in praying which makes prayer effectual. Not one or all of these are the things which glorify God. It is the answers which brings glory to His Name.” Again Bounds wrote, “Better not to pray at all than to go through a dead form, which secures no answer, brings no glory to God, and supplies no good to man.”