Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 70

Answered Prayers continued...

The faith which manifests itself by trusting God, and living with the expectancy of having our prayers answered, is often times tested. I realize full well that few want to hear it but the word of God tells us, and repeatedly so, that our faith will be tested and must be tested.

Sometimes we pray, we ask, and want to receive that which we ask for instantaneously. Although patience is a virtue, it is not a widespread one, and when we pray, if more than thirty seconds passes between the time we say ‘amen’ and the time God answers our prayer, we begin to grow impatient, irascible, and irritated.

Once, there was a little boy who watched his mother as she planted flower bulbs in her garden. He watched as she dug a hole in the earth, put the bulb in the hole she’d dug, and covered it with soil, patting it gently. The little boy was so intrigued by all he saw his mother doing that he finally went up to her and said, ‘I want to plant a flower too.’

The mother gave him a bulb all his own, and the little boy went off in a corner, dug a hole as he’d seen his mother doing, put the bulb inside, covered it with soil, and patted it exactly as she’d done. Satisfied with himself and the job he’d done, the little boy walked away.

The next morning while the mother was checking on her garden she saw the little boy digging in the dirt with a stick in the exact place he’d planted his bulb.

‘What are you doing?’ the mother asked.

‘My flower didn’t grow’ the boy said, ‘I wanted to make sure it was still there.’

Our prayers are like flower bulbs. We plant them, but we must have the patience to watch them bloom and grow. Often, we act like the little boy, constantly checking to see if the bulb we’ve planted is still there, because by our estimation the flower isn’t growing nearly fast enough.

Your duty is to plant the bulb - to pray the prayer; God’s area of expertise is making the bulb bloom into a flower at its given time - or answering your prayer exactly when it ought to have been answered.

If I trust Him, I bring my petition before Him and then I wait.

Psalm 37:5-7, “Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.”

God is not hard of hearing. He doesn’t get distracted. He is not bothered by multi-tasking, so when you pray to Him, know that He has heard your prayer. Commit your way to the Lord. Tell Him what’s on your heart, bring your needs before His throne of mercy, cry out to Him for strength, for comfort, for healing, or whatever else you might need, then rest in Him and wait patiently for Him.

He will bring it to pass. He will answer your prayer, but in His time, in His way, and for His purpose. We cannot grow impatient with God or disillusioned because the answer we expected of Him is not the answer we received from Him.

We cannot be as Naaman who came to the prophet of God expecting to be greeted by him, fawned over, and treated as the dignitary he was. Because his answer did not come in the manner he’d expected, and rather than be greeted by Elisha, a servant was sent and he was told to dip in the Jordan seven times, save for his servant who intervened and begged Naaman to do as he’d been told, he would have missed out on his miracle.

We cannot discount an answered prayer simply because it does not come in the manner by which we envisioned it. God is not beholden to me - I am beholden to God. God is not obliged to answer my prayer the way I expect Him to, nor is He, truthfully speaking, obliged to answer my prayer at all.

In His goodness however, in His boundless mercy and grace He does answer prayers, He does answer petitions, and when He does, even if the answer might not be in the form we expected it, may we be grateful to Him for it.

Psalm 5:3, “My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up.”

No, waiting on the Lord is not a popular notion. It is not what many want to hear nowadays, but it is biblical, it is in the word, and we must acquiesce to the word of God in lieu of men’s opinions.

Rather than diligently study the word of God, most people today gravitate toward the individual with the better sales pitch. We have taken the mentality of the world and superimposed it upon the work and word of God, and the outcome is a tragic one indeed.

People today go church shopping, or shepherd shopping, like they do for anything else. Their only interest is who will give them the best deal, who will give them the steepest discount - not who will offer them the truth.

If you preach repentance and holiness unto God you’re already out of the running, because you’re asking too much. The guy down the street only asks for a tithe, and the one on the next block only asks for an offering.

‘Why would I give up my pet sins, and crucify my flesh, when I can get away with throwing a few bucks in an offering plate from time to time? Well, yes, I understand it’s in the Bible but the Bible is subjective isn’t it, I mean we all see what we want to see…don’t we?’

And so, waiting on the Lord has become as taboo as righteousness, holiness, repentance and sanctification. We make up our own brand of religion; we build our own god from fragments of the one true God’s word, and then expect Him to save us in the day of trouble.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

1 comment:

Barbara said...

This reminds me of the prosperity style gospel, where if you are following all the rules, you should be living like a king. Well where does longsuffering come in then? The Bible speaks of that being a fruit of the Holy Spirit, without which you are not really of the spirit of God.

It is good to expect some blessings but also to be able to withstand some trials. Churches never seem to want to help you when you are suffering for no clear reason. They try to give you an easy answer instead of helping your to bear your burden.