This past Sunday, we discussed praying with confidence. When faced with a situation where it seems that we are not getting an answer, it may be difficult to hold fast in faith. Should we ever just give up on a prayer request?
It is easy to get frustrated when we claim God’s promises in a situation but seem to see no change. In James chapter 4 we are reminded that quarrels and fights often rise up due to desires which go unmet. We are encouraged in this teaching to ask God with pure, unselfish motives and trust His provision.
It is important to note that Hebrews 4 encourages us with the fact that our High Priest (Jesus) can relate to our difficulties because He was also “tempted in every way.” Because of this, we can find mercy and grace in Jesus, which helps us to get through those difficult times (especially when we don’t get the quick-fix answer). A quote from John Wesley is perfect in this situation, “All who desire the grace of God are to wait for it, first, in the way of prayer. This is the express direction of our Lord Himself.” That grace seems to be the thing that keeps our faith in tact during these “trials.”
It is also important to recognize that God is ok with us continuing to ask for something to which we have not received an answer. This is clearly discussed in Christ’s “Parable of the Persistent Widow” in Luke 18:1-8.
Finally, in His sermon on the mount, Jesus taught that we can ask God and believe that we will receive (Matthew 7:7). Charles Spurgeon wrote on that, saying: “His doors are meant to open: they were made on purpose for entrance; and so the blessed gospel of God is made on purpose for you to enter into life and peace. It would be of no use to knock at a wall, but you may wisely knock at a door, for it is arranged for opening.”
In closing, I suggest that we continue to pray confidently in accordance with God’s will, trust His timing, and remain steadfast in faith. Know that His grace will guard your heart as you wait patiently for your answer. This will help alleviate the disappointment you may feel when prayers seem to go unanswered.
The Mustard Seed
102 11 Ave SE Calgary, AB T2G 0X5
This past Sunday we continued our discussion around prayer. I asked the question, “How do we pray?”
In Matthew 6:5-8, Jesus said, “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him”
Jesus was pretty clear that our prayers should be in line with some fairly specific criteria: (1) private and simple and (2)according to God’s will. I believe this model is simply helping us to line up our faith in accordance with God’s Word. It is also clear that it is ok to continually bring our needs to Him (see 1 Thes 5:17) as long as we trust God for His timing (2 Peter 3:8). Paul also reminded us that the Holy Spirit will help us pray in Romans 8 so we don’t have to know exactly how it works, but trust that it will work.
So, how do we pray? We pray according to God’s will and trust His timing.
Last Sunday we had a great discussion on prayer in our service. I asked “Why do we pray?” Many had great answers which varied from building relationship with God to praying for our own needs and worshipping God. The Bible talks about prayer a lot. In various places we are told to pray for ourselves (supplication), others (intercession), to worship God, for spiritual warfare, and for many other purposes.
Philippians4:4-7 reminds us to “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (King James Version)” In these verses Paul encourages us to constantly bring our prayers to God with an attitude of gratefulness.
We then spent 20 minutes praying as follows:
• Five minutes of thanksgiving (remind yourself of the things God has done for you in the past)
• Five minutes of confession (your own sin, ask the Holy Spirit to bring things to your attention)
• Five minutes of supplication (petition of my own needs)
• Five minutes of intercession (praying for others)
This is a very easy model to follow. It’s good to read some scriptures, and spend time listening for God to respond to your requests.