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Posts Tagged ‘god’s will’

Prayer is one of the most misunderstood subjects. Even well-­meaning believers some times come up with a question, “God is Almighty, Loving and all-­knowing. Then what is the need for prayer?” That indeed is a very good question.

How are we to answer that question? When we realize how God made man, all our doubts would be vanished. To begin with, God has made us as dependent beings. Man has to depend on air that he breaths, water he drinks and food he eats to maintain his physical body. Then man has to depend on his fellow humans to maintain his mind healthy and happy. We depend on our parents, siblings, friends, teachers and the society around us. Imagine our life with out them! The Bible tells us that man is much more than just body and mind. We are told that we have a spirit (1Thes.5:23) and the spirit in man is the God­-element in man (Pro.20:27). And God in His grace has permitted us to depend on Him to maintain our spirits. In other words, the one who does not pray, does not have spiritual life. He is spiritually dead as all in Adam. While the Bible says, “believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved…” (Acts 16:31), the Bible also declares that only those who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Rom.10:13). It is by prayer that faith becomes saving faith. Faith would be dead faith, otherwise. Thus we conclude that prayer is the vital breath of a Christian. Is prayer all that important? Well, without prayer, we would be living a subhuman existence like that of the animals! In other words without Him we can not live a spiritual life at all.

Let us look at the Scriptures again. What is the role of man here on earth? We are told very clearly that Adam was created to rule over the earth (Gen.1:28). And Adam was to work in the garden and to keep it (Gen.2:15). In other words, man was to be God’s representative here on earth, looking after it and taking care of it. While in the first chapter of Genesis we are told repeatedly that God named things (vv.5,8,10), after Adam was created it was Adam who named animals and NOT God (Gen.2:19,20). Even though Satan claims to have authority over this earth and the world is under the Evil One (Lk.4:6;1Jn.5:19), in God’s eyes it is man who still has that authority here (Ps.115:16). God, as creator and sustain-er of the universe, sends His rain and sun upon the righteous and the unrighteous (Mt.5:45), but God would NEVER interfere in the life of any one unless request is made (Psa.50:15). Is prayer important? Absolutely important. Unless we pray, God wont interfere in our lives. If you want to see God’s work in your life or God working for you, you must pray. There is no history of God running after people to save them unless someone else prayed for them. See Gen. 19:29.

Now we need to look at the vital relationship between God’s promises and prayer.
This is a foggy area as far as many are concerned. They think that God will just fulfill His promises with out any human interference. But the Scriptures teach us just the opposite. God just delights to fulfill His promises only in answer to the prayers of His people! This is a big mystery. Should we pray so that God’s promises would be fulfilled? It looks rather strange that this is so. Let us look at a few scriptures to see how it works. First example is Gen. 25:21. Here was Isaac born to Abraham as the promised son after waiting for quarter of a century! Truly, Isaac brought a lot of laughter to the family; yitschâq, Isaac’s Hebrew form, means laughter. God’s promise to Abraham was that his descendants would be like the sand of the sea and like the stars in the sky (Gen.22:17). But our verse above tells us of a tragic situation; that Rebekah was barren! And the verse goes on to say what the solution was. And Isaac prayed and the Lord opened her womb and she became pregnant. Here is that solemn truth brought before us in all clarity. God delights to fulfill His promises only in answer to the prayers of His people. There seems to be no exception to this rule! Look at the life of Jacob. It was at Bethel that he received the promises of God (Gen.28:10­17). But only after Peniel his name was changed and the promises were fulfilled in his life (Gen.32:22­30). Again look at Dan.9:2­3. Daniel was now living at the time he learned from Scripture that the time of the captivity for Israel was over. See what he does in response to his knowledge. He turns to God in fasting and prayer. Daniel knew the solemn truth that God would fulfill His promises only in answer to the prayers of His saints. And now let us look the last promise of our Lord to His beloved disciple John in Patmos. “Behold, I come quickly” and what was his response? “Amen, come, Lord Jesus” (Rev.22:20). Is prayer important? Well, if you wish to see God’s promises fulfilled, you need to pray! Without us, He will not!

Now, let us go on and see the relationship between the will of God and prayer. This, again, is another area where many are confused. They think all that happens around them is God’s will. Tragically, that is NOT true. We, in India, live in a society dominated by the Hindu concept of fate. But the Bible is against fate. Where is fate when the Bible says, “nothing shall be impossible to you” (Mt.17:21)? But we need to conceive God’s will at three different levels. At the first level, there is the sovereign will of God by which He decides who is to be born where and what the DNA factor of each person is. None could question it or change it (Acts.17:26). Then there is the permissive will of God. God lets every one live as he/she likes. God does NOT force His ways upon any one any time (Eccl. 11:9). Sure, there will be a judgment at the end. But when some one commits something wrong, God is not there to punish that person immediately (Eccl.8:11). Each one has the freedom of choice. This is the permissive will of God. Lastly, there is what is known as the perfect will of God for every one born on earth (Rom.12:2). God has revealed that perfect will in His Word. God wills that every one be saved (1Tim.2:4; 2Pet.3:9). God wills that all saved ones live in holiness (1Thes. 4:3). It is God’s will that every child of God should live a thankfull life, pray without ceasing and rejoice in every situation (1Thes.5:17,18). But if this should happen, it is impossible without prayer. Is prayer important? Absolutely important. Without prayer God’s perfect will can not be achieved in our personal lives, in the life of the assembly and in the world around us. That is why in the so called “Lord’s prayer” our Lord taught His disciples to pray, “Heavenly Father, … Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Mt.6:10). His perfect will is accomplished in heaven. But if that should happen here on earth, His people must pray. Is prayer all that important? Absolutely so. Unless we pray, God’s perfect will can not be achieved here on earth. Without us, He will not!

Now let us have a look at the ultimate purpose of the Church here on earth.
The epistle to Ephesians deals with the Church Universal. Paul talks about the purpose of God from eternity past to the coming eternity. We were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world and in the ages to come we are told that God is going to unite all things in Christ (Eph.1:4, 10). Now we are made to sit in the heavelies in Christ Jesus (2:7). But still we are here on earth, are we not? Why did He leave His body here on earth today? Answer is found in 6:10,11 of our epistle. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil”. It is clear from these verses that the ultimate purpose (indicated by the word “finally”) of the church on earth is to stand against the wiles of the devil. We are given details in vv.12-17 about the armor which we should put on. And the only activity of the armored soldier of Christ is to pray, pray, pray and pray as found in v.18. Just look at that verse and see the repetition of the words used about prayer in that one verse. Is prayer important? Well, without prayer Satan will be victorious and we will be guilty of failing God in our generation.

Now let us have a look at 1Sam.12:23 which states, “Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you, …”. Here is Samuel making a most solemn statement. In that chapter Samuel lists all that God would want to do for Israel as a nation. But at the end Samuel says that God is going to do it all in response to his prayers. Ask and receive is one of the spiritual laws which can not be broken! James in his epistle puts it the other way around and says, “you have not, because you have not asked” (Jas.4:2). Read also Eze.36:37 in different versions. By not praying for others and for the world around us, we are binding the hands of God as God will not do any thing spiritual except in answer to prayers of His people. We, as believers, sin against the Lord if we stop praying. Is prayer important? Now let the reader decide the importance of prayer as God will not do any thing spiritual in this world except in answer to prayer! Without our prayers, God remains defeated in our generation. Study the history of revivals. Before every mighty revival that swept the earth, there was a praying church, mightily praying through till the revival came. There is NO exception. This once again confirms the fact that without us, He will NOT!

Finally, look at all the commands in the Scriptures about prayer. For example, “when you pray, go into a room and close the doors… (Mt.6:6). How many of us spend time alone with God every day in prayer? “Pray and faint not” (Lk.18:1). How many of us are consistent in our prayer life? “Devote yourselves to prayer” (Col.4:2). Do we have the right priority when it comes to prayer or prayer has found a back seat in our lives? “… strive together with me in prayer …” (Rom.15:30). We do pray. But how many of us strive in prayer? How many of us are guilty of being disobedient to these and other plain commands about prayer? Why did God give so much importance to prayer? Simple reason is: Without us, He will Not do any thing spiritual. Let us order our lives and set our priorities right that we may not be ashamed at His coming. Remember that the desire to pray is given by Him but the decision must be taken by us. May we be given grace to devote ourselves to prayer that we might be the instruments through whom God would carry out His eternal purposes here on earth. To His name be all glory. Amen.

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Key verse: “Because Rebeca had no children, Isaac prayed to the LORD for her. The LORD answered his prayer, and Rebeca became pregnant” (Gen.25:21).

This verse here gives us a clear insight into the relationship between God’s promises and our prayers. This is a totally misunderstood subject as many well meaning believers think that God’s promises will automatically come true. They wait impatiently for God to fulfill His promises and some times even find fault with God for His callousness about His promises.

This verse here tells us the secret about the many unfulfilled promises of God. We know that God promised Abraham seed like the sand of the sea and like the stars of heaven (Gen.22:17). Yet it took quarter of a century before Abraham had the joy of seeing his promised son. There was a time when Abraham was willing to make a compromise and he was willing to accept Ishmael as his heir (Gen.17:18). We can imagine Abraham being fed up with waiting for the son of his promise. And in his conversation (prayer) with the Lord, Abraham was now making a negative suggestion; that he was willing to accept the seed of his flesh as the promised seed! But God would NOT compromise on His promise to Abraham. God said “No” to that suggestion of Abraham and God wanted Abraham to wait patiently for His promise to be fulfilled. We can well imagine Abraham asking God when that glorious day was going to be! Abraham was obviously waiting and praying that God would fulfill His promise soon. And at last Isaac was born as promised by God, in answer to long and patient wait and believing prayers of Abraham.

This truth is confirmed in the incident that followed. Now that Isaac is married, there is yet another problem for the promise to be fulfilled. We are told that Rebeca was barren! It was indeed the least expected thing. But this situation teaches us the fact that the promises of God would not come true in our lives in a natural process. It is absolutely true that God promised seed like the sand of the sea and that not one of the promises will ever fail either. It is also true that God will fulfill all His promises right in time (Acts.7:17). God is faithful and He will surely fulfill His promise with out fail. But the amazing truth is that God fulfills His promises ONLY in answer to the prayers of His people!

All the promises are written down for us in His Word (Rom.1:2) and all promises are for all who believe (Gal.3:22). We are told that the promises of God are to be obtained by faith and patience (Heb.6:12,15). And we are asked to perfect holiness since we have these promises (2Cor.7:1). With all the above, if we do NOT continue in fervent prayers, the promises of God will never come true in our lives. This truth is expressed through out the scriptures and we need to take heed to it to see that we obtain the promises of God in our lives.

Let us look at the life of Jacob as a clear example of this truth exemplified for us. Jacob comes to Bethel and there he receives the promises of God (Gen.28:10-22). Then in the life of Jacob there was that long gap of twenty years where he seeks all short cuts to make His life a blessing. But alas! Twenty years later, though he became a big number physically, yet he was more a miserable person than ever before. But at Peniel he wrestles the whole night and there he became the heir of his promises. His name was changed and he became a new person altogether. We see that though he got promises at Bethel, only after his Peniel experience, the promises got fulfilled in his life.

From Dan. 9:2-3 we learn that Daniel knew this truth as well. When Daniel learnt that the captivity was going to be for seventy years, knowing that he was living at the time when the promise is to be fulfilled, he turns to God in prayer and in supplication. And God reveals to Daniel the mystery behind seventy year captivity. In that most solemn passage of Scripture we have the exact date of the crucifixion of our Lord predicted (Dan.9:26)! Daniel was able to get that truth because he was willing to spend time praying that God would indeed fulfill His promise made by His prophet.

We often wonder why God is slack in fulfilling His many wonderful promises of His Precious Word. Once we get the grip of this truth, we know the real reason for this situation. It is not God rather we, His people, who are responsible for God’s promises not being fulfilled.

Does that mean that God’s promises will never come true in its appointed time? Read what the Lord says about His promises. ”The LORD gave me this answer: “Write down clearly on tablets what I reveal to you, so that it can be read at a glance. Put it in writing, because it is not yet time for it to come true. But the time is coming quickly, and what I show you will come true. It may seem slow in coming, but wait for it; it will certainly take place, and it will not be delayed” (Hab.2-3). And to Jeremiah the Lord said, “‘You are right’, the LORD said, ‘and I am watching to see that my words come true’” (Jer.1:12).

Surely God will fulfill all His promises in time with out fail. But because He does it ONLY in answer to prayers of His people, unless we pray, God will raise others who will pray and in answer to their prayers God will fulfill His promises in time! We can see this truth exemplified in history of the church again and again. Where ever there was a praying church, there was a mighty movement of the Spirit of God. If ever there was slackness in the Lord’s work, it is because the people of God failed to call on Him in prevailing prayers. Also we can see that before God begins to do a mighty work, He gets His people praying. Zechariah the prophet sees that in future there is going to be a mighty turning of the people of Israel to God. And before that happens the prophet says that God would pour on them the spirit of grace and supplication (Zech.12:10ff).

So, if there is an urge within us to pray, it is an indication that God’s grace is at work within us. When we feel an urge to pray let us put aside every thing else and be at His feet discerning His will and praying that He would accomplish His will for His glory. If we fail to do that, God will raise others who will pray and in answer to their prayers He will fulfill His promises. And we will be the ones who are the losers. We would have lost the privilege of being co-workers with the Almighty in bringing about His purposes on earth! May we be sensitive to the call of the Spirit of God and may we bring glory to His Holy Name by seeing that all His promises are fulfilled for His glory.

The Bible ends with last the promise of our Lord and John’s response to that promise in Rev.22:20. May we also make it our prayer as we wait for His coming in these very last days of the age of grace.

Let us always remember that the key to get a positive answer to our prayers is to take hold of the promise of God and make it our prayer. Once we know some thing is the will of God, we need to pray in perseverance till we receive our answer. May the Lord give us grace and may His name be glorified. Amen.

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God reveals His will for us through His Word.  But please do NOT imagine that it is going to take place automatically.    That is the place where many good believers make mistake.    They know what is God’s will for them.  God has confirmed it through many wonderful promises form the Scriptures as well. Yet those promises of God remain only as promises and never get materialized it in their lives.  Do you know why is it like that? There is a great misunderstanding about the will of God.   Many people think that all that is happening to us are His perfect will for our lives.  That is NOT true.  Let us see what the Bible teaches about the Will of God.

 God has a SOVEREIGN will by which He decides where we will be born and what our DNA code will be. He decides it without consulting any one.   This He does according to His good pleasure (Eph.1:11).   “From one human being he created all races of people and made them live throughout the whole earth. He himself fixed beforehand the exact times and the limits of the places where they would live”  (Act 17:26).   “The Most High assigned nations their lands; he determined where peoples should live. He assigned to each nation a heavenly being” (Deu 32:8). 

 Then He has a perfect will for each man alive on this earth.  This PERFECT will of God for us is revealed to us through His Word.  God makes His Perfect will clear to us as we study His Word regularly.     There will be that peace of God KNOWING that this is what God wants me to do when we know it.  Now it is OUR duty to pray till that takes place takes place in our lives.  It does NOT happen automatically.  That would be fatalism.  The Bible does NOT teach fatalism.  The Bible does NOT teach that all that happen to us so happen because that is decreed by God.   God only tells us what He expects of us.  He never forces any one to His will in their lives.  We must choose to do His will and we can do it only by His help by praying to Him for His grace.  We must also remember that Satan is always against us to enjoy God’s perfect will for us.   That makes prayer as the only means of reaching God’s perfect will for our lives. 

 We read about the perfect will in Rom.12:2 and once we know some thing is God’s will it is for us to PRAY THROUGH and see that it is accomplished in our lives
 

Let us look at Elijah on the top of Mount Carmel in 1 Kgs.18:40 ff   the Lord told him that it was going to rain after they destroyed all priests of Baal.  Our natural reaction would be,  “ well, any way the Lord promised and His promises can never fail”  and we go and sleep expecting God to fulfill His plan.  But look at what Elijah did.   He put his head between his knees and he was praying.   What is the significance of his head between his knees?   We know that women among the Hebrews those days gave birth to children sitting (cf.Ex.1:16 and note the reference to stool in that verse).  They had some thing before them to which the child would fall as it comes to the world.  That is the position in which they could exert maximum energy to push the child out of their bodies.   We call it agony of child birth.  Elijah, as he put his head between his head, he was agonizing in prayer that God’ will MUST be accomplished as God promised.  read v. 44   how long he had to pray like that.   He prayed   till answer came. 

Look again at Dan.9:2,3 where this truth is once again illustraved.

`Now read Rom.15:30-32   where Paul talks about striving with him in prayer that the will of God may be accomplished  The word translated “strive” here is translated in Lk.22:44 as “agony”.  So “strive with me in prayer” can well be put as “agonize with me in prayer”.  Look at what Jesus did in His life when He prayed (Heb.5:7).   Read Mt.6:10 where our Lord taught us to pray  “Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven”.    In heaven God’s perfect will is accomplished automatically   but here on earth now, if Perfect will of God must be accomplished,  WE MUST PRAY TILL IT HAPPENS

So,  many believers today are NOT living IN THE PERFECT WILL OF GOD.

Time to accomplish God’s perfect will for us depends upon the fervency of our prayer

Confess therefore your sins one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The supplication of a righteous man avails much in its working.  (Jas 5:16)
 
 And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, and ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.  (Rom 12:2)

 Then there is the permissive will of God where God permits to live all who do not reach His perfect will.  Tragically majority in the world and in the church are living in the permissive will of God.  If we do that, we suffer ourselves and we let God suffer as well.  God watches helplessly asking “why should you die?” (Eze.18:31).

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From previous pages we learnt that we have a prayer answering God and that if we do not pray that He will not interfere in our lives. (Read LOGIC OF PRAYER – Bible View) In the coming three sessions we will continue to see what happens if a believer does not commit his or her life to prayer.

a)  Purpose of a believer’s life is not fulfilled.

Let us now turn to the Scripture and see why the Lord chose His disciples.

Jn.15:16  “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you…that what ever you ask of the Father in my name, He may give to you.”

This is a very familiar verse from Scripture.  The grammatical meaning of this verse is simple and straight forward.  But very few believers have understood the meaning of this verse and fewer indeed have put this verse in to practice.

Our Lord was telling the disciples His purpose in choosing them.  Fruit bearing clearly is the purpose expressed in this verse.  Every disciple of Christ is expected to have consistency in fruit bearing.  As all of us know fruit bearing is an automatic thing when it comes to a tree.  Given sufficient water, manure and sun light,  a tree bears fruits automatically.   Likewise, a believer who feeds himself on the Word of God regularly and weeds his life of the works of the flesh (I Pt.2:1-2), fruit bearing for the Lord will become an automatic thing for the believer. 

But according to this verse, fruit bearing is not an end in itself.  It leads to some thing else.  Let us look at the verse once again.  The verse continues,  “…that whatever you ask the father in my name, he may give to you.”

A fruit bearing believer has to be an asker.  Fruit bearing person has to ask and receive fro the father.  The fruit bearing believer is promised  ‘what ever you ask in my name’.

The verse may be summarized in the following way:

Chosen and appointed (i) to bear fruit, (ii) to continue in fruit bearing, and (iii) to ask and to receive what ever asked for!

When this truth was brought home to me first, it really looked unbelievable.  Can it be that God has chosen and appointed us that whatever we ask in the name of the Son of God be given to us?  Yes, indeed, the Scripture says, we are chosen and appointed to ask and to receive.

It is true that conditions are to be met if prayers are to be answered.  Life has to be bruit bearing, there should be consistency in fruit bearing and of course, asking has to be in the name of the Son of God.  If these conditions are met, God does the answering part of it.

In other words we have to order our lives in such a way and ask in such a way that answers must come to us.  This indeed is God’s purpose for every believer.  So if we do not ask and receive answers, it is that God’s purpose for our lives is not achieved.
 
A car is bought for going around.  If it does not run, it will become a real head-ache to the one who bought it.  Like wise a believer, chosen and appointed to ask and receive, if asking and receiving are not done, such a believer becomes the greatest head-ache for heaven.  May that not be true of you and me.

Let us arise and order our lives to produce fruits for the master consistently and let us pray in such a way that heaven will answer us.  Then and only then will our life purpose will ever be achieved.  May the Lord give us grace for His glory.  Amen.

If we do not pray…

b) We sin against God

If we are chosen and appointed to ask and receive, prayerlessness means failing in our duty.  And the Bible describes prayerlessness as sin.

Many think sin means breaking one of the ten commandments.  Sure, breaking commandments is sin.  But we usually do not find such sins in the lives of believers.

There may be some believer some where living in blatant sins.  Every one knows that they are living away from God.  They lose their God-given joy. They become guilty.  We know punishment awaits them.  We must remember that there is no provision for forgiveness for willful sins.  For any willful sin the Bible only offers firey judgment
(Num. 15:30,31; Heb.l0:26,27).  New Testament teaches that when a believer is judged, he is not condemned with the world (I Cor.ll:32).  Whether a believer or non believer, if a person is found in willful sin he or she is liable for punishment.

I Cor.5:5 tells us that a believer who is found in the sins of the flesh is given over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh.  Any sin is a barrier between God and man (Is.58:2). 

To day many a believer is found in another type of sin.  Sin of prayerlessness (ISam.12:23).  I Sam. 12 says that God will not forsake His people.  That is God’s plan for His people.  But God only carries out His plan in response to the prayer of God’s people.  What ever God wants to do in this world He reveals them to His servants the prophets (Am.3:7; Gen.18:17).  And the man of God who knows the will of God must pray that it will come true. 

Scripture is full of examples of this truth.  See how the plagues came in Egypt. God will tell Moses what He was planning to do.  Then Moses will declare it to the people God’s will.  Then Moses will ask God to bring it about.  Again and again we see it in the Scripture. 

Truth of the Scripture is very simple.  If God’s promises must come true, God’s people must pray.  God will not do any thing spiritual in the world except in answer to the prayers of God’s people.  So, if people of God do not pray in the will of God, we are hindering or blocking the work of God.  Is there a bigger sin than that?

Look into the scripture and see how many commands God has given to believers about prayer.  1 The. 5:17; Col.4:2; Lk.18:1 &c.  They are all imperatives.  They are not optional.  May we learn that prayerlessness is disobedience and therefore punishable sin. 

Let us now set apart time to spend time in the presence of the Lord.  Let us pray and release the mighty hands of God which is waiting to do wonderful things in response to our prayers.  May His Name be glorified.  Amen.

If we do not pray…

 c)  God’s perfect will cannot be accomplished on earth

We have seen several reasons from the Scripture as to why we should pray.  There is no room for prayerlessness in the lives of God’s people.  A believer who does not have regular prayer habits is not merely useless for God’s kingdom, but the greatest hindrance to God’s work on earth.

I am not strong enough to write these words.  My heart beats faster.  I cannot bear my  burden.  “Lord, Jesus I am helpless,  Help me I pray.  Amen.”

God of the universe has a good and a perfect plan for this universe and for every individual born here.  God wants every one to enjoy life in its fullness and be found in His perfect will.  But the devil is against this perfect will of God to be accomplished in human lives. 

Therefore Satan induces man to go against God and against His perfect plan.  Man being fooled by the lies of the Evil One sins against God for temporary gains and pleasures.

Any man who commits sin has to bear the punishment for the same.  This is God’s righteous law (Eze.18:14; Rom.6:23).  But God has no delight in the death of the sinner (Eze.18:23,32).   Death of a sinner is not the perfect will of God.  It is the permitted  will of God.  God permits it with tears.  God permits it because there is no other way around.  But that surely is not his perfect will.  He is not willing that any should perish (ITim.2:4).

If the perfect will of God is to be achieved, there is no other way than the prayers of God’s people.  God is not willing that our neighbors and our country men go to eternal hell fire.  But if they do not repent and call upon Him they will surely end up there without a doubt.  If this should not take place we should be willing to stand in the gap and become intercessors for our nations.   “Had not Moses His chosen one stood in the breach before Him, to turn away His wrath from destroying them” (Ps.106:23).

“And I searched for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found none” (Eze.22:30).  If you and I who are God’s people do not stand in the gap millions in our land will end up in Eternal hell fire and no one is responsible for this than those of us who know the Lord. God continues in His sorrow that His perfect will is not achieved.  He punishes the unrepentant sinner in sorrow.

If God’s perfect will has to be accomplished on earth, God’s people have to pray.  There is no other way. Look at Rom.15:31 where Paul says, “…strive with me in prayer…” that the will of God may be accomplished in my life.

God’s righteousness demands the death of a sinner.  But God’s grace is flowing through the child of God to whom God has shown mercy through Christ.  The same love of God and grace of God which began to flow through Calvary continues its course through us into the world.  The grace of God in us is that which prompts us to pray for the world.  To day if we are prompted to pray, we should set aside every work and we should sit at His feet.  If we separate time and place and begin to pray regularly we will begin to see this grace flowing through us to others around us.  If many a believer responds to the inner call of God and begin the ministry of intercession we will begin to see God’s perfect will accomplished in the lives of many around us.  That is why our Lord taught His disciples to pray,  “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Mt.6:10).

May we respond to the inner call of God and may we bring glory to His Holy name.  Amen.


 

 

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In the previous pages we saw some of the most wonderful truths which God has given to us in His Word about prayer.  If it is true that God does not do any thing spiritual in this world without our prayers, and that we are chosen and appointed to pray in such a way as to get answers, the greatest hindrance to God’s work in the world to day is the prayer less saints of God.

As we look through the history of the church we see this to be very true.  When ever there was a praying generation, work of God was found to be progressing.  When ever prayer was lacking, work of God suffered in equal proportion.  There is no exception to this rule.  Behind every major revival in the church, there was a praying church.  Even to day if any one wants to see a mighty revival sweeping through the nations of the world, it can be brought about by a praying church.  We must be willing to pray through.  This is true because we have a God who answers prayers.

Occasionally we come across believers who have given up praying.  They found prayer to be not very practical as several of their prayers went unanswered.

In this chapter we will consider how to pray to get answers.  It may be taken note that some times God says ‘No’ to some prayers and at other times answer is ‘Wait’.  But usually answer is above all we can ask or think.  The point is that God always answers prayer.  What answer is received is comparatively of low significance.

One other thing to take note of is that men of prayer invariably know when God answered their prayers.  As they pray they come to know when to stop praying and start thanking God for the answer.  For some time they see answer in faith and realize answers at a later time.   Many praying ones have this experience.

It is unbelievable but it is true that God Almighty would listen to our prayers and answers them.  “I called and he answered me.  I could not believe that he was listening to my voice” (Job 9:16).  Utterly unbelievable.  Yet absolutely true.  God answers prayers!

But if we want answers to prayers we need to know the conditions laid down in God’s Word and fulfill those conditions.  Now we will look at those conditions under which God answers our prayers.

a)  Pray in Christ’s name

Jesus our Lord asked His disciples to ‘ask in my name’ as they prayed.

The Bible reveals a Triune God.  God is revealed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  The second person of the Trinity is the Son who became man to be the mediator between God and man (I Tim2:6).  It is through Him that we are accepted as God’s children.  It is only through Him we have access to the Father (Eph.2:l8).  Through His death a new and a living way is open for us to the Holy Place (Heb.l0:l9).  So to day we can approach the throne of grace with confidence (Heb.4:l6). What a glorious privilege we have in Christ!

There are many who know God as only God.  But through Christ we can know Him as Father (Jn.14:6).  As we approach God through Christ this new status is given to us.  Now we are His children (I Jn.3:2).  Now we can approach God as a child approaches its dad!  The saints in the Old Testament could not even dream of such a thing.  But the New Testament saints have this glorious privilege.  May we learn to use it properly.

In His parting message in John chs.14, 15 & l6 the Lord Jesus told His disciples to ‘ask in my name’(14:13; 15:16 etc.).  He was giving them authority to use His name while praying. 

We have no right in ourselves to approach God.  Except through His name we cannot receive any thing from God.  But now He has given us the right to use His name as we approach God.  As we do this, God looks at us as He looks at His only Son.  What a glory!  Because we bear the name of the Son of God, the Father sees us as He sees His only begotten  Son.

To day the New Testament believers every where use the phrase ‘in Christ’s name we pray’ or an equivalent phrase to end their prayers.  It must be so.  We need to take the name of Christ on our lips as we pray. But tragically many do not see the significance of this phrase.  ‘in my name’ has truly deeper significance.  Let us look at the NT to see how that phrase is used elsewhere.  For our purpose we only need to look at just two instances where the phrase is found to ascertain its meaning.

In Jn.14:26 we read of the spirit of God whom the Father will send ‘in my name’.  Here in this verse, without any question or doubt ‘in my name’ means ‘instead of me’.  In other words the Lord was telling His disciples that when He went to the Father, the spirit of God will be sent instead of Him.

In Col.3:17 we are told “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do every thing ‘in the name of the Lord Jesus’…”  In this verse again, the phrase ‘in the name of the Lord Jesus’ means instead of Him, or as He would do.   Today the Lord Jesus is not physically present in this world.  He has placed us here in His stead.  We are asked to do everything as He would have done, instead of Him.

This indeed is a plain teaching of the Scripture.  In I Jn.4:17 we read, “ …because as He is, so are we in this world”.  We are placed in this world in the place of the Son of God,  instead of Him.  So we are to do every thing as He would have done, in His place or in His Name.  In other words we represent Him here on earth.

So we conclude that the phrase ‘in my name’ means in my stead or in my place.  So to ask ‘in my name’ means to ask as He did, ask in His stead. In other words we represent Him as we pray.

Today the Lord Jesus is at the right hand of God interceding for us (Rom.8:34).  He is not physically present here on earth.  And He has asked His disciples to continue the ministry which He had started while here on earth.  So today we are continuing His work here on earth.  Is it not common for some one trusted to do the work of some one else in his name?  So to ‘ask in my name’ means to ask instead of Him, as He did, yea, in His way, representing Him.

The Lord Jesus was a mighty man of prayer while here on earth.  Today He is asking us to continue the work which He started while He was here on earth.  We are to do it in His name.  As He did.  In His way.  What a privilege does a child of God have!  And what a responsibility! 

Now let us quickly look at His prayer life while on earth.

Mk.1:35  early in the morning while it was dark He was found praying
Mk.6:46,47  in the evening He was found praying
Lk. 6:12  all night He was praying
Lk.ll:l  when ever there was a spare moment He was found praying
Lk.9:29 at mt. transfiguration as He was praying His face shone

To the disciples the prayer life of their Master was really amazing.  So they asked Him, “Lord, teach us to pray”(Lk.ll:l).

In His prayer in Jn. 17 the Lord Jesus was praying for His disciples and in v. 9 He says, “I pray for them, I do not pray for the world…”  Today praying for the world has been completely delegated to us (I Tim.2:1-7) as He prays for us in heaven.  We are asked to intercede for the world as He intercedes for us in heaven.

We know that the Lord Jesus is our example in every thing (I Pt.2:21).  Even in our prayer life He is our model.  If this is what is required of us, how tragic is our prayer life to-day?

I am positive.  All our prayers will always be answered if we knew and prayed as He prayed.  How can heaven not respond to a child of God who is representing the Son of God and praying in His name?

Let us arise.  Let us understand what our Lord meant.  Let us order our lives in the light of the Scripture.  Let us have prayer as priority number one as Jesus our Lord had.  Let us pray in His name, as He prayed with tears (Heb.5:7) and with agony (Lk.22:44).  Surely heaven will hear and answer our prayers without doubt.  May He give us grace.  May His name be glorified through our lives.  Amen.

b)  Pray for the glory of God.

“What ever you ask in my name, I will do that the Father may be glorified in the Son” {Jn.14:13}.  As we study the life of the Lord Jesus on earth,  we come to know that what ever He did, He did it for the glory of God(Jn.17:4).He came to reveal the Father to the world (Jn.1:18).  The invisible God of the Universe was made manifest by the coming of the Son of God in to the world.  He thus proved to the world that God is a living reality. Doing the will of the Father was food to Him (Jn.4:34).  He did not have a life separate from the Father.  He always lived and prayed for God’s glory.

God wants to reveal Himself to the world today.  He does it by answering the prayers of His saints (2 Ch.16:9).  Today as we pray we must make sure that the purpose of our prayer is His glory.  Our motive should be right.  Glory of the Lord alone must be our ultimate motive.  God knows and watches our inner most beings.  Nothing is hid before Him.  When we make sure that ultimate glory of God alone is out motive, we can be sure of an answer to our prayer.

c)  Pray in the will of God

1Jn.5:14 promises that prayers done in the will of God cannot go un answered.  Praying for the glory of God, praying in the will of God, praying in faith etc. are essential parts of the prayers of our Lord.  So if we want answers we must make sure that we too pray in God’ will.

Many believers have a problem here.  Very often they do not know how to discern the will of God.  If we are able to solve this problem, we can have the benefit of answered prayers.

The Bible is our guide when it comes to discerning the will of God.  The Bible tells us that God has a plan for this universe and also for individual lives. So the first thing to do is to familiarize ourselves with the Word of God.  We must make sure that we yield ourselves to the truths revealed to us. 

The Bible says that God has certain universal plan for all individuals on earth.  For example, He wants all men to be saved (I Tim.2:4).  This is God’s will for every one on earth.  So the first step toward discerning God’s will is to accept that we are all sinners and accept Christ as personal savior by repentance and faith.  Any one who is not born into the family of God by accepting Christ, is living out side the will of God.  So that is the first step.

Then it is perfect will that all born again children to live a holy life (1Thes. 4:3).  So, any one, though born again, living in unholy character is living out side the will of God.  Just as it is impossible for man to be born into God’s family by one’s own efforts, so no one can hope to live a holy life by the efforts of the flesh.  A person must utterly depend on the grace of God for imparting holiness into life by continual dependence and prayers to God(Rom.7:24,25).

Like wise, all those who live in holiness must always rejoice irrespective of circumstances.  They should always live a life of praise and pray without ceasing (I Thes.5:16,17,18).  This is God’ will for every believer.  If a believer is living a murmuring life, such a person is living out side the will of God.  I Pt.3:17 says that we have to do good and suffer if necessary for the same.  This too is God’s will for our lives.

Only those who live in the revealed will of God can discern God’s will for individual circumstances.  As one study the Scripture day by day with an attitude of dependence and prayer, the spirit of God will tell us what to do in our daily practical situations in life. The Bible has very clear instructions about various walks of a believer’s life.  God does nothing against His Word.  Only as one walks in the light received, is one guided further.

Some times our specific situation may not be addressed in the Scripture.  But there are very clear principles laid out in the Scripture and one must be able to apply scriptural principles as one tries to discern the will of God.

God has promised to guide us through His word.  “As you turn to the left or to the right, there is a voice behind saying, this is the way and walk ye therein” (Is.31:21). “I will instruct you and teach you the way you should take” (Ps.32:8).

As one submits one’s ways completely to God, God will guide and reveal His will to such a person.  Every one has to wait in the presence of the Lord to hear the voice of the Lord (Jer.23:l8).  It is essential to ask God for leading as one waits. Once we discern the will of God, we need to ask God to lead us day by day until it is achieved.  In 2 Sam.7:27  David prays a bold prayer as he was told what would happen to him.  So, as we pray for such things as revealed to us, our prayers must become bold.  Without prayers God’s perfect will cannot be achieved in our lives.

If, on occasion, a believer is in darkness as to what is to be done, prayers must be made continually for the revelation of the will of God.  All hindrances must be removed by  letting the Spirit of God search our heats.  If darkness persists still, the believer has to take a step trusting God and God will look after the rest (Is. 50:l0).

Praying in the will of God means praying about what pleases God.  If you want definite answers to prayers, learn to pray in the will of God.  Answers are sure to come.  May the Lord give us grace.  May His name be glorified.  Amen.

d)  Pray in faith

We found that prayers done in the will of God cannot go unanswered.  To know the will of God one has to be familiar with God through His Word.  Bold prayers are offered by people who know the will of God.

Faith is another important factor if prayers are to be answered.  “And what ever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith” (Mt.21:22).

 Faith without prayer is dead and prayer without faith is powerless.

 Faith and trust are essential elements in the very existence of human race.  We trust our milk man.  We trust our railway timetable.  We trust our taxi drivers.  If we do not trust our family members, we may never be able to take our food thinking there is poison in it.  People trust that their company would pay them at the end of the month.  We trust our governments to protect us.  Without mutual faith and trust human race cannot survive.

We all trust people or systems which are visible.  Who could ever say when a government would fall or an engine would fail?  All such happen without any warning at all.  But people who trust in the God of the Bible are trusting in someone who would never fail.  Though invisible, God is the most reliable person and His system is the most unfailing one.  Anyone could trust Him based on the principles laid down in His Word and know that He is a prayer answering God.

Faith is an important factor if prayers are to be answered.  “And whatever you ask

in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith” (Mt.21:22). While the Old Testament uses the word trust, the New Testament uses the word faith to convey the same meaning.

According to the Bible faith is assurance.  It is evidence (Heb.11:1).  It is not a leap in to the dark as some would think.  Though the God of the Bible is invisible to human eyes, He has made Himself tangible by His Word.  Faith in God means believing the unchanging words of the Bible.  Faith is ordering our lives according to the Bible.  Faith is trusting God for what He has said in the written Word.

Faith is the opposite of sight (2 Cor.5:7). Thus Abraham would set out for a land which God would show him (Gen.12:1).   Faith is the opposite of doubt (Mt.21:21).  That is why Moses would stretch his rod over the Sea (Ex.14:21).  Fear and faith are at opposite poles (Lk.8:50).  That is why Peter was able to sleep in the prison even though he knew he would be beheaded the following day (Acts 12:6).  A Bible believer does not worry about his fate, as he is above it. The Bible says that all things are possible to them that believe (Mt.l7:21).  That is why Daniel was able to pray three times even when he knew he would be cast into the den of lions (Dan.6:10).

There are many false beliefs around us.  They are based on the un-uttered words of non-existing gods!  Genuine faith, on the other hand, is believing what God has said in His written Word.

He, who does not believe what God has given us in writing, is making God a liar (I Jn.5:10).  So without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb.11:6).  It is impossible for anyone to see the glory of God without trusting what God has said in His Word (Jn .11:40).

“All things are possible to him that believes” (Mt.17:21).  This does not mean that the believers would become like magicians.  It means that whatever is said in the Bible could come true in their lives as well.

The Bible teaches us that faith is a gift from God (Eph.2:8).  Without the grace of God no one could believe in God (Jn.6:44).  Even faith is given in answer to prayer (Mt.9:24).

Faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God (Rom.10:17).  So in order to have faith one has to take in the Word of God with a prayerful attitude.  For more faith, more in-take of the Word is necessary. 

George Mueller, who was a man of great faith, is said to have studied the Scriptures about one hundred times on his knees!  Is there any need for us to be surprised at his faith?  On the other hand, the reason for our lack of faith is not found elsewhere either!

Some people confuse their wishful thinking with faith.  For example a school boy who wrote his exam would pray ‘believing’ that he would pass.  But when the result would come it was against his wishes.  Such people, when their wishes would not come true, would dismiss faith in God from their lives. On the other hand,  prayers based on the written Word of God can never go unanswered.  So must pray after listening to God through His Word.

Abraham is our model for faith.  He is said to have hoped against hope (Rom.4:18).  Humanly speaking there was no ground for him to put his foot on.  Everything was against him.  There was no place for wishful thinking.  But God had told and that was what he trusted in.  It is not on our wishful thinking that we should put our faith on.  It is on what God has said. 

What did the Lord tell me about this particular situation?  That is what should become the basis of our faith.  Humanly speaking there may not be any chance for it to happen.  “God has told me and therefore I believe this would happen”.  These are the words of faith.

Brethren, let us bring all our problems to God in prayer.  Let us sit at His feet and listen to what God has to say about each situation.  On hearing what God has said, tell God “Lord, you have told me thus and I believe it.  There is no chance for it to happen.  But I know it will happen because you have told me so.”  These are the words of faith.  Continue in the same attitude and pray until answer comes. See Elijah praying seven times (1Kgs.18:43) and Paul praying three times (2Cor.12:8).

Once you know something is the will of God, pray till answer comes (1Jn.5:14).

Do we want answer to prayer?  Let us learn to pray in faith.  Answers are bound to come.  Faith becomes living faith or saving faith only by prayer. While the Bible asks us to believe on the Lord Jesus to be saved, the Bible clearly tells us that only those who would call upon Him would ever be saved (Rom.10:13).  Faith which does not express itself in prayer is dead faith (James 2:20).  That is why we are commanded to devote ourselves to prayer (Rom.12:12; Col.4:2). Now, you tell me how much time you spend in prayer every day. I will tell you how much faith you have!

 Unless we strive in prayer, God’s perfect will can not be accomplished in and through our lives (Rom.15;30-32).  This is because of Satanic hindrance (1Thes.2:18). It is our duty to strive in prayer to remove the hindrance of Satan. For a demonstration of this truth see Daniel chapter 10. The ultimate purpose of God for His church here on earth is that we must be filled with all the might of God so that we might be able to stand against the wiles of the devil (Eph.6:10,11). 

Let us be men and women of great faith. Let us obey the plain command of the Scripture to devote ourselves to prayer.  Let us spend several hours in secret prayer thus making our faith living faith and showing the world that we have a prayer answering God.  May He give us grace.  To His name be all glory. Amen.

e)  Pray after removing hindrances 

Many people pray but they do not get answers because they did not care to remove hindrances to prayer from their lives.  In the Scripture we are told what these hindrances are.  Any one who is serious about answers to prayer must take time to see that these hindrances are removed before praying.

Every now and then we need to let the Spirit of God search our hearts to see if any wicked way in us (Ps.l39:23,24)  confess and reject them.

i. Sin in life. Isa. 59:2  “…your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God…” 

As a person comes to Christ first for pardon and for peace in true repentance and faith accepting that he or she is a sinner, he or she becomes a child of God.   God forgives repenting ones on the basis of the work of Christ in Calvary.  But after one becomes a child of God, it is essential the individual sins are identified, confessed and rejected, thus availing the cleansing in Christ (I Jn.1:9).

In the lives of every believer there are besetting sins (Heb.12:1) and presumptuous sins (Ps.19:13).    These need to be identified regularly and dealt with if one is serious about getting answers to prayers.  This must be done regularly as a gardener removes weeds from garden.  If one is a little careless these little sins get accumulated and will become a big hindrance to prayer. There are believers who live like the rest of men (I Cor.3:3).  Such cannot expect to be answered when they pray.  Sometimes even small attitudes can become hindrance to prayer.

ii. Sometimes it is selfishness which is hindering our prayer.  “…you ask and you receive not , because you ask amiss to spend it in your fleshly desires” (js.4:3).
iii. Idols in life (Eze.14:3) Idols are things which take the place of God in one’s life.  Any one who does not give the all important place to God in life need not expect an answer to prayer.
iv. Wrong attitude to the Scripture. “He who turns away his ear to listening to the law, even his prayer is an abomination” (Pro.28:9).
v. Attitude to the poor.  “He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be answered” (Pro.21:13).  If we need grace from God, we need to be gracious.
vi. An unforgiving spirit.  “When ever you stand praying, forgive…so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your transgression” (Mk.ll:25).  If we need forgiveness, we need to forgive.
vii. Family problems.  “You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way…so that your prayers may not be hindered” (I Pet.3:7).

These and other things which the spirit of God brings to our notice must be made right before we can expect an answer from God.

Some are found wasting their time praying because they have not bothered to remove all known hindrances from their lives.  If we learn to pray after removing hindrances from our lives, answers are bound to come.  May the Lord help us and may His name be glorified.  Amen.

f)  Pray till answer comes

Many who pray do not have this experience of praying till answer is received.  Some start praying for a particular thing.  They continue for some time but they give up in the middle and forget all about their prayer.  This is a grave mistake.  This in fact is the trick of the devil to let us give up our prayer request in the middle.

Once we know some thing is the will of God we must continue to pray till answer is received.  Some times it may take months or even years for answer to come.  Time span depends upon our fervency.  “Effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much (Js. 5:16).

We have one example in the life of David when he prayed till answer came.  We read about in 2 Samuel 12.  David was praying for his sick child.  He went into the room lay there and fasted for seven days.  But in v.20 he got up had his wash and changed his clothes to go to the temple of the Lord.  Here he prayed till answer came.  That time he did not get the expected answer.  But he prayed till answer came.

In the 10th chapter of Daniel we see Daniel praying for 21 days with partial fasting.  Nothing else was important for him during those days.  Daniel was taking to God one and only thing again and again to be answered.  This is called praying through.

Look at Elijah on top of mt.Carmel.  With his head between his knees the man of God was found praying until answer came (I Kg. 18:42-44).

A child of God who is in the school of prayer with God will be brought to such experiences.  Usually such men are loners.  Any one who has achieved great things for God have many such experiences.  Moses, Samuel and Daniel are examples of such men who moved the hand of God for their generations.  They are the ones who became agents through whom God’s will was achieved.  In the history of the church we have many such men and women who moved the hands of God for their generation.  May the Lord raise such prayer warriors in our country during this generation.  May His name be glorified in our midst.  Amen.

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