Question #2: Is God's answer to our prayers considered a miracle especially when He answers almost immediately? I have experienced His help without waiting very long. Or is this just part of His many blessings bestowed upon us? Whatever it is He's wonderful!

The word "miracle" can be a little confusing. Consider three modern uses of the word: 1) It's a miracle no one was killed in that hurricane. 2) The United States hockey win over the Soviet Union in the 1980 Olympics was a miracle. 3) Every child is a miracle from God. People use the word to describe anything surprising. The Bible word that emphasizes people's amazement at an act is "wonder." The Bible word that emphasizes the power behind an act is "miracle." The Bible word that emphasizes the purpose of such an act is "sign." All three are generally used interchangeably in Scripture, but it's that last word that demonstrates the primary purpose of a sign: to mark the divine approval of a person, group, or teaching. The message of salvation was "declared at first by the Lord," but as others attested to it, "God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will" (Heb 2:3–4). As apostles went out preaching, Christ "worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs" (Mk 16:20). God did miracles to bear "witness" to the message. Jesus did more signs than we know, but the ones John recorded "are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ" (Jn 20:31). They were done to bring faith in this Truth and they are now written so that they perpetually have that effect. A miracle is an unusual event that displays God's direct involvement. Miracles are not debatable — they are dramatic and clear. The New Testament features four kinds of miracles: nature miracles (Mt 8:23-27, Jn 6:1-14,16-21, Mt 21:19), healings (John 9:1-7, Acts 3:1-10), demon expulsion (Mt 12:22ff), and resurrections (Jn 11:43-44,1 Co. 15:1-19). 

When God answers a prayer, it's an act of his providence (i.e. providing). Answers can be immediate (Dan 9:21-23) or leave us wondering "how long?" (Rev 6:10). We often have no idea what God is doing beyond our sight (2 Kin 6:17-20). God can still stop the sky from raining because of our prayers (Jam 5:16-18). He does amazing things answering prayer, but the purpose of these acts is to respond and care for His people, accomplishing his will in the world in a different way than miracles, which aimed to give God's "seal of approval" on someone's message and create faith.

—Ryan