Thursday, June 21, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 100

Fervent Prayer continued...

Although fervent prayers varied in length, scope, and purpose within the pages of Scripture, there is one commonality linking them all…God answered every one. Every fervent prayer ever prayed was answered of God, perhaps not in the way the individual wanted it answered, but it was, nevertheless, answered. Whether with a ‘yes,’ a ‘no,’ or a ‘not yet,’ God answered every fervent prayer, because He responds to the fervency of the heart, and our passionate petitioning of Him.

Yes, sometimes God tests our faith. At other times He tests our perseverance, but if we stay the course, and continue to fervently petition Him, He will answer in due season. Even in testing there is purpose. Even when God delays, there is a reason…such as the angels of the Lord being withstood by the enemy. We cannot give up; we cannot abandon fervent prayer, just because the answer is not quick in arriving.

The answers we receive to our fervent prayers can, and do vary. We do not serve a cookie-cutter God, nor do we serve a God who moonlights as a magic genie, there only to grant us our wishes and nothing more.

Sometimes, God’s answer to our prayers is ‘yes,’ at other times the answer becomes a bit more complicated.

Matthew 8:2-3, “And behold a leper came and worshipped Him, saying, ‘if You are willing, You can make me clean. Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.’ And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.”

This was a short, intense prayer, with an equally short yet profound, positive answer. The leper did not stand before Christ with a laundry list of why he thought he should be made clean, he stood before Jesus and said, ‘if You are willing, You can make me clean.’

The leper knew what Jesus could do. No, he was not a theologian, but he had heard and he had seen enough of Jesus to know what He was capable of. Because he had seen and heard what Jesus could do, there was no doubt in his heart as to Christ’s ability to likewise cleanse him, if He so chose.

Christ’s answer to the leper’s short prayer of petition was equally concise. Jesus didn’t ask the leper to ‘sow a seed’ into His ministry first; He didn’t ask him to sign a release for an interview after he was healed, He simply said, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’

One word from God can change your entire life. One answered petition, one miraculous occurrence, one divine intervention, and your life will never be the same again.

Do you think this leper who had the boldness to entreat Christ for his healing was ever the same again? Do you for one second believe that he continued to see the world as he did before he was cleansed?

When we are cleansed, everything changes. When we are cleansed, our perception shifts from the things of this earth, to the things of the kingdom of God, and we learn to submit to the authority and will of our heavenly Father.

It is in submission to God’s will that we are able to accept those times when God’s answer to our prayer, is a resounding ‘no.’ It happens. Sometimes, God’s answer to our prayer is ‘no,’ even though our prayer was prayed fervently, even though we were insistent, and even though we continued in it for many days.

Deuteronomy 3:24-26, “O Lord God, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your mighty hand, for what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do anything like Your works and Your mighty deeds? I pray, let me cross over and see the good land beyond the Jordan, those pleasant mountains, and Lebanon.’ But the Lord was angry with me on your account, and would not listen to me. So the Lord said to me: ‘Enough of that! Speak no more to Me of this matter.’”

Lest anyone think God plays favorites, the man to whom He said ‘no’ in the aforementioned Scripture passage, was none other than Moses, His loyal servant, the selfsame individual who led the people of Israel out of bondage, guided them through the desert for forty years, received the Ten Commandments on mount Sinai, and saw God’s back as He passed by.

It is to a man who served Him faithfully for forty years that God said ‘no,’ yet modern day preachers have led us to believe that it is impossible for God to deny us, it is impossible for Him to say ‘no’ to us, and if He does, ‘well, then just don’ take ‘no’ for an answer.’

It is biblically proven, e.g. – the people of Israel asking for meat – that if we insist upon something to which God said no to the first time, He will relent and give it to us, but it will not turn out to be the blessing we thought it would be.

Countless individuals today are praying for windfalls, for bushels of money, and sacks of cash, but once they get it, their lives get torn asunder, the joy leaks out of their existence, and they end up miserable, hopeless, often even suicidal souls, with bushels of cash.

If we diligently study the word of God, we discover He said ‘no’ to some of his most prominent and well known servants, and each time He had a plan and a purpose beyond the understanding of man.

David prayed for his sick child for seven days and seven nights, and still the child died. He even fasted, and humbled himself in sackcloth, prayed repeatedly for the child’s life to be spared, but to no avail, for God’s answer to David’s petition, was ‘no.’

Paul prayed, and insistently so, that his thorn might be removed, yet God’s answer to Paul was ‘no,’ reminding Paul His grace was sufficient.

Difficult as might be for some of us, we must learn to pray ‘God’s will be done,’ no matter the circumstance, no matter the situation, and no matter the urgency. Sometimes saying ‘Your will be done, o God,’ is the most difficult aspect of our prayer life, because we realize that His will may not always be in accordance with our own.

Whatever it is you are praying for, pray fervently, pray passionately, but pray wisely, so all that you ask might bring glory to God, and edify your spiritual man.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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