I’ve prayed about it-now what? (part 1)

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Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” 1 John 5:14-15 (NKJV)

You’ve prayed about your job, family, decisions, your health, and your purpose in life, but nothing seems to be happening—at least not fast enough and not exactly the way you envisioned the outcome. Does this mean that God is unfair, uncaring, and likes to see us suffer?

The scripture above is a bold statement to make, but since God inspired John to write it there must be something God wants us to know about prayer. The first thing to remember is that prayer is conditional upon our relationship to God. Isaiah 59:1-2 says, Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.”

God’s desire is to answer prayers. He is willing and able to hear your prayers, and His desire is to answer your requests.  However; if you have not confessed your sins (the Bible defines sin as God sees it ), and purposely turned away from your sins (or are steadfast in your heart to do so),  your prayers will be hindered.  Why should God answer your prayers if you are not one of His children (born again believer), or if you ignore Him and “do your own thing?”  God’s answer to your prayer may be to leave you alone and let you try to work things out for yourself.  Sometimes a Christian does need to “hit bottom” in the part of life that is causing pain and inconvenience before you can see what God is doing to shape you into someone who is stronger and wiser.

The best advice I have receive in my life is when I have talked with someone who has been through a troubling time similar to what I was experiencing at the time, and to see how they came out on the other side of the challenge a stronger, more mature Christian.  God has used His silence, my friends, my wife, and my observations of other as they journey through life to help me see the wisdom of what He is doing for me…not to me.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9.

To be continued….

Prayer

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As a Christian, we are at our most powerful when we pray. Right now, you can probably think of several stories in the bible about people who prayed and sensed the deep intimate presence of God during those prayers. When I think about the prayer warriors in the Old Testament, the one who comes to my mind is Daniel. The bible tells us that he prayed at least three times daily (Daniel 6:10). There was no command to do that, but still he felt the need to stop what he was doing long enough to pray. I often wonder what he prayed for, don’t you? He was in captivity, so did he pray for God’s deliverance? He served a pagan king, so did he pray for the king? I wonder….

There is power in prayer, but do you believe it? Think about your prayers—the deep desires of your heart that you pour out to God. The big question is do you have an encounter with God when you pray?

In the New Testament, Paul says we are a “royal priesthood.” The priest would intercede on behalf of those who sought to experience God’s forgiveness. The elements of this type of intercession involved the person presenting a proper sacrifice. The priest would bless the sacrifice and then offer it to God on behalf of the person. Christ is our High Priest who intercedes on our behalf. Because of Christ, we can intercede on behalf of others. When we pray in the name of Christ it changes things, but mostly it changes us.

Of course, our prayers can be hindered by a sinful heart. There are times when we may pray carelessly, flippantly, and with doubt. This leads to us praying amiss. We must ask ourselves what our motivation for prayer is. God has given us the ability to pray for others and make a difference. I believe that our prayers can actually hinder Satan and his influence on others so they will be able to see the light of Christ we shine forth.

If you were in Daniel’s place what would you have prayed for? Do you have difficulties, challenges, or disappointments that affect how you approach God in prayer? Try coming before the Lord and just being silent about what you want God to do and instead let the Holy Spirit help you worship in the presence of the Lord.

I’ve Prayed about It–Now What? (Part 3)

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“Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;” (Colossians 4:2)

Prayer, plain and simple, is communicating with God our Heavenly Father. Jesus instructed us to be persistent when we pray. The Apostle Paul said we need to pray without ceasing. We need to be careful that when we pray we are praying as if everything depends on God accepting our petition and acting on it. Prayer is more than just a quick text message to God or a voice mail message we leave to God, but sometimes we may approach God as if He were an imaginary friend. In the verse above, Paul is instructing the Colossian Christian in a proper attitude in prayer and to watch out for God’s message to you in the form of an answer.

There are three things in this verse that Paul believed were important in our prayer life. First, we are to “continue in prayer.” This means to keep talking to God. It does not mean that God needs to be prompted to listen to us. Continuing in prayer is what keeps our mind and heart fixed on God. Second, we are to “watch in the same.” After you pray, keep your spiritual eyes open and prepare to be amazed by God’s answer. Thirdly, we are to watch in the same “with thanksgiving.” Paul’s advice is to have a positive outlook as we give our prayer to the Lord, and go ahead and celebrate in advance. That’s where we pray with faith knowing that God will answer our prayer.

How confident are you that God will hear and answer your prayer? Are you confident enough to continue in prayer and watch for His answer with thankfulness?

Praying with Power

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As a Christian, we are at our most powerful when we pray.  Right now, you can probably think of several stories in the Bible about people who prayed and sensed the deep intimate presence of God during those prayers.  When I think about the prayer warriors in the Old Testament, the one who comes to my mind is Daniel.  The Bible tells us that he prayed at least three times daily (Daniel 6:10).  There was no command to do that, but he still felt the need to stop what he was doing long enough to pray.  I often wonder what he prayed for, don’t you?  He was in captivity, so did he pray for God’s deliverance?  He served a pagan king, so did he pray for the king?  I wonder….
There is power in prayer, but do you believe it?  Think about your prayers—the deep desires of your heart that you pour out to God.  The big question is do you have an encounter with God when you pray?
In the New Testament, Peter says we are a “royal priesthood” (I Peter 2:9).  The priest would intercede on behalf of those who sought to experience God’s forgiveness by way of an appropriate sacrifice.  The most important element of this type of intercession involved the person presenting a proper sacrifice.  The priest would bless the sacrifice and then offer it to God on behalf of the person.  Christ is our High Priest who intercedes on our behalf.  Because of Christ and His sacrifice on the cross, we can intercede on behalf of others.  When we pray in the name of Christ it changes things, but mostly it changes us.
Of course, our prayers can be hindered.  There are times when we may pray carelessly, flippantly, and with doubt.  This leads to us praying amiss.  We must ask ourselves what our motivation for prayer is.  God has given us the ability to pray for others and make a difference.  I believe that our prayers can actually hinder Satan and his influence on others so they will be able to see the light of Christ we shine forth.
If you were in Daniel’s place what would you have prayed for?  Do you have difficulties, challenges, or disappointments that affect how you approach God in prayer?  Try coming before the Lord and just being silent about what you want God to do and instead let the Holy Spirit help you worship in the presence of the Lord.

May God richly bless you!

“I’ve prayed about it—Now what? (Part 2)

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“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” 1 John 5:14-15 (NKJV)

Trust is not an easy thing to earn, but it is easy to lose. When there is trust between two or more people it involves putting yourself in a vulnerable position. You want to know that the other person who knows you intimately will hold and protect information that only the two of you know about. In the same way, we want to trust that God has our best interest in mind. When we pray we trust God to answer our prayer and grant our request. When He does answer our prayer, can we be trusted to do the right thing with the answer?

We view our surroundings and our situations based on our physical senses, i.e., hearing, seeing, feeling, smelling, and tasting. When we pray, we tend to look for answers through one of these senses. Faith is the spiritual sense that is our direct connection with God. When we pray and believe God will answer, our faith in God is the internal confidence that gives us peace about trusting God. It is our strong faith in God that causes us to be aware of God answering our prayer that others don’t see.

The strength of your faith is the key to praying with confidence. How strong is your faith?

To be continued…

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