Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Praise God for yet-to-be answered prayers

I was going to call this post "praise God for unanswered prayers" But then I realized that would be one of those posts which sometimes excuses faith. Let me explain that. I totally believe God doesn't answer prayers that are bad for us. Let me get that clear.

But I sooo dislike it when people say, "God answers prayers in three ways: yes, no, wait." It's a cute little saying but Biblically, it just isn't true. Nowhere in the Bible does God define answered prayers as saying no to a prayer. (And if we really want to complicate matters, there is such a thing as people not knowing how to pray. Such a thing as people not taking God's guidance and forcing the issue. Such a thing as Satan answering our prayers. Such a thing as folks cursing their own lives by their words and actions.)

All that aside, I just want to say that for a person who supposedly trusts God I am absolutely prone to grief and sorrow when I'm waiting for a prayer to manifest. I say manifest as opposed to "be answered" because I believe that God answers all our prayers. Actually, that's not me. That's the Bible. John says, "we know that if he hears us, we have the petition." Jesus said, "Everyone who asks receives, everyone who seeks finds."

So the prayer is answered. It's up to us to work out our salvation through fear and trembling and to water the word with thanksgiving. Think of Daniel. God answered his prayer the minute he prayed but Gabriel showed up 21 days later. All that spiritual resistance in the spiritual realm. So fasting and praising God for what we haven't received and believing (walking by faith and not by sight) is the way to go if we want to actually see what God has given us.

This is the essence of hope. This is the endurance of the saints. This is true patience. Sometimes we think of enduring as enduring something that just will not change....and if it changes that change is only for the worse. But, isn't it possible that we are called to endure something that will change for the better? Jesus said, "When the son of man returns will he find faith in the earth?" That's the essential requirement. Whatever religion you have: Do you every day rely on God's goodness? Do you hope in His mercy, power, care and love?

I remember once a bill came. I was so upset. No money to pay it. I said to God, "You're my shepherd; I shall not want." I said it but I had no real joy. I kept thinking "How am I gonna pay for this thing?" But the holy spirit kept bringing that verse to my mind. I was in a funk for a good week. Then suddenly out of the blue and miraculously money arrived and paid for it. Suddenly I was Little Miss Joyous, happy as a lark. I felt the Holy Spirit rebuke me. As far as the spiritual realm was concerned, there was no difference between the moment before I received the answer to the prayer and the moment after I received the answer. The only difference was in my sinful carnal mind which wasn't looking at God's kindness or care or power or love..but only at what my human mind saw, smelled, knew. That taught me a very good lesson. Praise the Lord always for unseen as yet unanswered prayers. Praise ye the Lord.
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