Saturday, January 29, 2011
The Faithful Prayer
But if any of you lacks wisdom,
let him ask of God, who gives to all
generously and without reproach,
and it will be given to him.
But he must ask in faith without any doubting,
for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea,
driven and tossed by the wind.
For that man ought not to expect that he will
receive anything from the Lord,
being a double-minded man,
unstable in all his ways. James 1:5-8
We can never stress enough the importance of believing God will answer our prayers.
The problem here is that a doubter is all over the place. He is double-minded. This means that his worldly understanding gets in the way of the promises of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit; and that he then submits to the teachings of men rather than the promises of the Creator. He prays; “Lord please help me” … but then thinks; “but I know you won’t.” What we need in our prayer time is more "Evidence that Demands a Verdict." The question we will try to answer today is: “how can we increase our faith so that God will answer our prayers? One of the best things we can do is: count our blessings and give thanksgiving to God for them all. Before we pray, if we make a list of all of the ways God has answered our prayers, and rescued and delivered us in the past, our present problems will not appear so impossible and guess what … our faith in God is increased and strengthened.
Paul tells us this in Colossians where he says; “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.” Colossians 4:2-4 How do you keep alert in your prayer? The NIV says; “being watchful and thankful.” I have a friend who is a prayer warrior. God bless you, Bill. A few weeks ago, he was visiting us for the holidays. One morning he left his Bible on the counter, along with his notebook which he had been reading and left open. As I walked by, I couldn’t help but see what was inside … page after page of answered prayers. If you had such a notebook, and read it each morning before you prayed for guidance and help; do you think your prayers would be more thankful, faithful, and filled with the power of God?
Here is a story from times past that I think that you might relate to: “Rising early one morning, I heard the baying of a score of deerhounds in pursuit of their quarry. Looking away to a broad open field in front of me, I saw a young fawn making its way across, and giving signs, that its race was well-nigh run. Reaching the rails of the enclosure, it leaped over and crouched within ten feet from where I stood. A moment later two of the hounds came over, and when the fawn ran in my direction and pushed its head between my legs. I lifted the little thing to my breast, and swinging round and round fought off the dogs. I felt then that all the dogs in the west could not capture that fawn after its weakness had captured my strength. So it is, when human helplessness appeals to almighty god. Well do I remember when the hounds of sin were after my soul, until at last I ran into the arms of Almighty God.” A. C. Dixon
Like the fawn with the man in the story, our Heavenly Father wants us to totally trust our fate over to Him. When James says; “for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind” he is describing the way we pray when we are praying out of duty, or in the natural ways of men. This person is likely to finish, and then jump up and force the answer to his own prayer by acting out the solution he wants. How many times have we circumvented God's answers and blessings before they arrived?
It would be like the fawn jumping out of the man’s arms into the jaws of the dogs … not much faith or hope there.
Stop and wait on the Lord. Listen … He will answer.
Faith does the impossible because it brings God to bear on our problems, and nothing is impossible for God. A faithful prayer can accomplish anything but God will rebuke a doubtful prayer. E. M. Bounds
Have you ever heard God Speak to you? I mean literally. He has moved me to tears when he speaks to me through the Bible, but here I am talking about actual back and forth conversation. I know this sounds a little like lalaland, and I don’t often mention it, but in one instance I am convinced that God clearly, directly, and powerfully spoke to me. What happened; you ask? Well I was a fairly new Christian, and I was driving in my car. I was praying for almost a full hour. I am afraid that my prayer was more complaining, and doubting than it was being faithful and thankful. But it was long. I prayed about everything I could think of. I was leaving home and going to meetings that I did not want to attend and in fact dreaded; but no question about it, my prayers were doubtful. I prayed until I had nothing left to pray about, and then I drove on in total silence. After about ten minutes, a voice asked me a question in my mind. It was brought to me in a way I would normally not even think, let alone ask myself. “Do you remember the parable of the talents?” the voice in my mind asked. “Of course, I teach that in sales training” I replied ... in my thoughts. The voice then said; “You’re the man with one talent” ... and then the voice left me back into my silence ... alone and discouraged, leaving me as quickly as it came. I was shocked because I would never have compared myself to the man with one talent. I am the trainer of men … I am the top producer, the man with ten talents. But God put me in my place, and taught me a vital lesson. I pulled over on the side of the road and broke down.
How could I be this one talent ... loser of a man? “But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. ‘Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. ‘Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents. “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. “Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Mathew 25:14-30
Now, when opening my Bible to the Talents, it quickly brings everything back into perspective for me. I now understand God is alive, listening and ... watching, and answering my prayers. And if I am negative, whining, or feeling sorry for myself; or prideful; or self-centered; ... I fully expect God to deal with me accordingly.
Prayer projects faith on God, and God on the world. Only God can move mountains, but faith and prayer move God. How great – without qualification or limitation – is the power of faith! If doubt be banished from the heart, and unbelief made stranger there, what we ask of God shall surely come to pass, and a believer has vouchsafed to him “whatsoever he saith.” E. M. Bounds
So what do you think? Are you going to continue praying the way the world prays to a God they do not know and who they do not believe will answer them? Or are you going to get a notebook and list the hundreds of answers, blessings and miracles God has brought into your life. I dare you to try this for the coming month. God will bring miracles into your life. He will answer your prayers. But remember, this is a spiritual battle for victory in your life. The enemy will not retreat easily. Let go and let God. “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
The solutions to all of the problems America faces today are within our reach. All that is needed is for Christians to faithfully pray for America’s deliverance. Our God moves mountains and He has delivered America time and again over the past 200 years.
God bless you my friends, Bob