God speaks to us through His Word, the Bible. The scriptures never contradict themselves and they are sufficient to give us salvation and to develop us into Christlike characters. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV), “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
So, if a supposed-answer to prayer contradicts scripture or a scriptural principle, that is not an answer from God. God’s way always lead to righteousness, love, and character development. It may, indeed, involve suffering. But suffering is part of the Christian experience now. Romans 8:17, “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”
How do you find the will of God when you pray?
George Mueller, a fine Christian living at the turn of the 20th. century, wrote:
“I seek in the beginning to get my heart in such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter. Nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the Lord’s will, whatever it may be. Having done this, I do not leave the result to feeling or simple impression. If I do so, I make myself liable to a great delusion. I see the will or Spirit of God through, or in connection with, the Word of God. The Spirit and the Word must be combined. If I look to the Spirit alone, without the Word, I lay myself open to great delusions also. If the holy Spirit guides us at all, it will be according to the Scriptures, and never contrary to them. Next, I take into account providential circumstances. These often plainly indicate God’s will, in connection with his Word and his Spirit. I ask God in prayer to reveal his will to me aright. Thus by the prayer to God, the study of the Word, and reflection, I come to deliberate judgment according to the best of my knowledge and opportunity, and, if my mind is thus at peace, I proceed accordingly.”
God also speaks to us through His people. Galatians 2:11-14 illustrates that God used the Apostle Paul to correct the Apostle Peter. Seek counsel from others who are of strong faith, and be willing to listen. When we share our experiences and challenges with mature Christians, they may offer scriptures that we had not considered.
Finally, God speaks to us through situations. It was God’s will that Joseph was carried away to Egypt so that he could save his family many years later. His brethren meant evil, but God meant it for good. (Genesis 50:20)
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV), “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”