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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 68

Answered Prayers continued...

When we pray, whether it be a prayer of intercession, or a prayer of petition, we must do so with expectancy. Because I have faith that God will answer my prayer, I live with the expectation, or the expectancy of seeing the prayer answered.

There is an occurrence in the book of Acts concerning which there has been much snickering and eye rolling within the church. It was during the time when Herod, having killed James the brother of John with the sword, began to persecute the household of faith far and wide.

Because Herod saw that James’s death had pleased the people, he seized Peter also, and put him in prison.

Although it was widely known what had happened to James, it would seem Peter wasn’t overly concerned, because he was sleeping, bound with two chains, between two guards.

It wasn’t that Peter was illogical or irrational, it wasn’t that Peter had been scared senseless and so emotionally exhausted, chose to sleep - Peter remembered the words of Jesus, he remembered all Jesus said he would do, and he had enough faith wherein his present circumstances were irrelevant to him.

As evening came, an angel of the Lord appeared and told Peter to arise quickly, gird himself, tie his sandals, put on his garment, and follow him, and Peter was led out of the prison.

Seeing himself released from prison, a free man, Peter went to the one place he was sure to find the brethren praying. Peter knocked on the door of Mary’s house, and as he knocked at the door of the gate, a girl named Rhoda came to answer.

Acts 12:14-15, “When she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her gladness she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter stood before the gate. But they said to her, ‘you are beside yourself!’ Yet she kept insisting that it was so. So they said, ‘It is his angel.’”

All these people had been gathered together praying for a miracle on Peter’s behalf. They were interceding for Peter, yet when he showed up at the door, and the girl went to inform them, they called her crazy, and said she was confusing Peter’s angel with Peter himself.

The brethren were interceding, but they were interceding without expectancy.

Peter keeps knocking, by this time likely getting impatient, seeing as how an angel of the Lord had freed him from prison, he’d made his way to the place where the brethren had gathered, and after all that no one would open the door for him.

Acts 12:16, “Now Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished.”

Why would they be astonished? Hadn’t they just been praying for Peter’s release from prison? Hadn’t they just been praying for a miracle? Keep in mind, to be astonished is not to be mildly surprised, or lightly bewildered, it is to be dumbfounded and overwhelmed, unable to process that which you are seeing before your eyes.

The brethren were astonished at seeing Peter standing there, even though it is exactly what they had been praying for.

Far be it from me to judge the brethren of that time, especially since we often do much the same thing in our day and age when it comes to answered prayers.

We pray, and we pray, and we petition God for something, we ask Him fervently and passionately, yet when He answers, when He gives us what we’re asking for, we start thinking it’s impossible. We pass it off as our mind playing tricks on us, as the inevitability of chance, as good things happening to good people rather than acknowledge the miracle which God performed on our behalf.

It’s not chance, it’s not happenstance, and it is not fate and destiny intertwining that brought about an answer to your prayers. It is God, looking down, seeing the cry of your heart and acting on your behalf. Do not be astounded when God answers your prayer; do not be astonished when you see that which you were petitioning God for make itself manifest.

Come before Him with expectancy, and when your prayer is answered, offer up prayers of thanks to He who is faithful and true.

In order to pray with faith, and expectancy, one must first know the promises of God. One of the most detrimental practices of our modern age is the children of God ignoring the promises He made to us in His word, or downright being ignorant of them. We read of the heroes of the faith, we read of the miracles God is doing in other parts of the world, and what we fail to realize is that to the last each of these men and women of God knew His promises, stood on His promises, and hoped in His promises.

Read the Bible! Grab a highlighter, or a pen, or a pencil, and from Genesis to Revelation make a notation of all God’s promises to His children. You will be amazed at the amount of promises the Bible contains in regards to you, and how vociferous God is in declaring that He will keep His word. The Bible is the treasure trove of God’s promises. Discover them, and let your heart be glad.

One of the scariest comments I hear from believers, is ‘I didn’t know that was in there’ after I quote a certain verse, or a certain passage. No, I’m not referring to some obscure line in Leviticus, but some of the essential scriptures every believer ought to have etched on the tablet of their hearts.

Know the word of God and know the promises of God, because ignorance of God’s word is ignorance of God Himself.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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