How do I know if God is really answering my prayers, especially when it comes to my children?
I will probably answer this in a way that many would not. Some might even consider my answer to border on heresy, but I take that risk.
The only way you can know that God is answering your prayers is through faith. Because it sometimes appears that God is ignoring us or contradicting us we just have to trust that his answer is the right one. The only proof we have is experience, and sometimes our experience is either not enough or not long enough to be able to say that we know God answers our prayers.
Some people say that God answers all prayers. Some he answers yes; some he answers no; and some he answers wait a while. This may be true, but they have no scripture to prove it. It always sounded to me like a “cop-out.” To me it sounds like someone is trying to justify their own faith in God’s ability to answer prayer by assigning their own interpretation when something doesn’t go the way they expect it. And yet, this is really the only answer one can give if he or she is not willing to believe that God doesn’t always answer prayer.
Read the Psalms. In particular, read Psalms 60 and 79-83, among other similar ones. In these psalms, mostly written during the captivity in Babylon, the writer is saying that it seems that God is not answering his prayers. Yet he always concludes with a statement of faith that God will do what is right and what he has promised. That is the only answer I can give—that God’s people have to trust that he will answer.
Of course, all the above means nothing if you follow the strictest doctrines of the Presbyterian or Baptist churches. Those who follow the doctrines of John Calvin say that God preordains everything in life. Even the doctrine that once you are saved you cannot fall from grace depends on the doctrine that those who are chosen for destruction cannot be saved and those chosen for salvation cannot be lost. Even though they will pray to God, their doctrine says it will not do any good because God won’t change what he has already determined will happen. Fortunately, there is no scriptural support for this doctrine either.