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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 66

Answered Prayers

The word of God not only encourages us to pray, it teaches us how to pray. Even Christ Jesus, the Savior of mankind, saw prayer as an important enough element in a believer’s life, wherein He not only taught His followers to pray, but He also practiced prayer Himself.

It is an odd thing to consider that although Jesus was the Son of God, although He walked in the authority and power of divinity, He took the time to pray, consistently, fervently, and passionately.

You don’t sweat great drops of blood from lazily mumbling your way through an ‘our Father’ once in a while, or from blessing a meal when you have company over and want to seem spiritual.

Since we’ve discussed the various types of prayer one can pray to God -from prayers of praise, to prayers of thanks, to prayers of confession, to prayers of intercession, to prayers of petition- today we delve into the word of God to see how we can go about having our prayers answered. It is one thing to say a prayer, and hope it reaches past the ceiling fan - it’s another thing entirely to come boldly before the throne of God, knowing that not only does He hear your prayer, He will answer your prayer.

God answers prayer when we meet the pre-established requirements He set in place. Yes, there are certain things we must do, certain ways in which we approach God to ensure that our prayers will be answered.

Since online auctions are so popular nowadays, I will use an online auction analogy to make my point. Whether it’s EBay, or another site, for every item you desire to bid on, there is a minimum bid requirement. In order for your bid to count, even if there are no other bidders, you must enter the minimum bid.

God has a standard. There is a minimum requirement when we come before Him, a certain expectation we must meet, if we desire our prayers to be answered. There is no such thing as an unconditional answer to prayer, and I would ask those who continue to assert this fallacy, to show me some sort of Biblical proof.

No, someone’s feelings will not suffice as proof; the ‘it’s only fair’ paradigm will not cut it, because the word of God is not based on feelings or emotions or what we think is right in our own eyes; it is based on the truth of God, the will of God, the mind of God, and the heart of God.

Men have consistently made messes of their lives, and shipwrecked their faith because they followed feelings rather than the word of God, and because they put their personal opinion above God’s commands.

We cannot abdicate sense for sensation. We cannot fall into the snare of indulging the fallacy that though God has held every generation before us to the standard of the gospel, we will somehow get a pass, and He will turn a blind eye to our disobedience and rebellion. One of the greatest deceptions perpetrated upon the household of faith in recent years, is the idea that God has somehow changed, and He no longer requires repentance, righteousness, holiness, or sanctification of His children.

The first requirement in order to receive answers to our prayers is that we possess faith. We must approach the throne of mercy with faith, with the certitude and certainty that God hears, and answers the prayers of the saints.

When we come before God with doubting hearts, when we come before Him wondering if He will answer our prayer, and not with the complete assurance that He will, our prayers will not get answered, because faith is what propels our prayer.

As a preacher friend of mine is fond of saying whenever teaching on the symbiotic relationship between prayer and faith, ‘faith is what gives prayer its wings, it is what allows prayer to soar beyond the sky into the heavens above, and make its way into the presence of God.’

So often our faith oscillates, like a car engine getting revved then allowed to idle, and we go from having great faith, to having no faith at all.

Our faith must be consistent, and when we come before God, our faith must be self-evident.

God responds to faith. Even Jesus said that if we had faith as small as a mustard seed, we could move mountains.

A man and his wife had just bought a new home, with a beautiful view. Beyond their home one could see a lake, a forest, and hills stretching out for as far as the eye could see. The only problem was that a large birch tree was blocking this majestic view from the living room window, and rather than cut it down, the man told his wife he would use his faith to move the tree some four feet to the left so their view would be unimpeded.

The wife gave the man a strange look, but said nothing, as he went about trying to use his faith to move the birch tree. The first day passed, and nothing happened, then the second and the third, and finally the man, exasperated, looked out his window, shrugged his shoulders, and said to his wife, ‘I knew that tree wouldn’t move.’

Faith is assurance, it is unshakeable conviction that what we believe for will come to pass. Faith is not hope; it is the substance of hope. It is not desire; it is assurance.

Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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