Wednesday, November 13, 2013

If You Pray His Word, You Will Be Heard

This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.   And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him (I John 5:14).

     Who does not want to get more of their prayers answered?  Is there a way to ensure this will happen?  To give credit where it is due, the topic and many of the thoughts came from a message preached by my Pastor, John Freel of Messiah Christian Church in Richmond, Virginia.   I have placed a link to the full message at the end of the article.
     From our scriptural reference, there are two things that sort of leap out off of the page. First, if we ask according to his will, He hears us.  And if He hears us, He will grant our requests.  That seems nice and tidy.  Until we think of that little word with huge implications.  "If" we ask according to His will.  The "64 Thousand Dollar Question" (I know I am dating myself) is how do you determine if what you are asking for is God's will?

David Got It Right
      In I Chronicles 17, the narrative illustrates one factor in discerning God's will, being able to take correction.  David had in his heart to build a house for the Lord.  And at first he got human encouragement from the prophet Nathan.  But then Nathan received a different message from the Lord. “Go and tell David My servant, ‘Thus says the Lord, “You shall not build a house for Me to dwell in” (I Chronicles 17:4).  Nathan continued and said, ... Moreover, I tell you that the Lord will build a house for you (v. 10).  David wanted to build God a house, but God planned to build David a house through his son Solomon.  With God, most every correction has an intended blessing.  God knows how to do it better than we do.
            How did David respond?  “Now, O Lord, let the word that You have spoken concerning Your servant and concerning his house be established forever, and do as You have spoken” (v. 23).  David submitted to the will of God.  Prayer is not trying to change God’s mind, but agreeing with His intended purposes.  David prayed God’s Word, and as verified by biblical history, God heard and granted his request. 

The Pitfall, Our Own Understanding
The angel Gabriel spoke to Mary; The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus” (Luke 1:30-31).  Mary responded to the angel by saying, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” (v.34)  Mary was perplexed and confused as most people would have been.  But doubt does not have to be spiritually fatal.  Mary listened to Gabriel’s explanation of how it would happen.  The angel lended credibility to his account by referring to how her relative Elizabeth had been enabled by God to conceive in her old age (v. 35-36). 
            At this junction Mary must have responded in her heart similar to the writer of the book of Proverbs, Trust in the Lord with all your heart
 And do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight (Proverb 3:5-6 NASB).  She did not let her own understanding become her stumbling block and allowed the angel of the Lord to illuminate her path.  God wants to reveal His will to us more than we want to hear it.
            The angel sensing her rising faith brings the clincher.  “For nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:31 NASB).  Mary concluded that, as incredible as it seemed according to the laws of nature, this was God’s will for her life.  Mary replied to Gabriel.  ...“Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word...” (v.38).  Mary prayed God’s Word and she was heard, and you all know the rest of the story.