God Is Never Late And Never Early In Answering Prayers.
|After reading from Kenyans in Stockholm concerning prayers, I have decided to throw myself in the debate. My four years of leadership and teaching the bible, I saw many dramatic answers to prayer. But I also saw many of my prayers go unanswered and I was not surprised because that is the nature of God. The answered prayers build my faith, strengthened my walk with God, and gave me hope in the midst of perplexing problems. But the silence of God created tension causing me to start doing it my own way. I find God’s silence difficult or sometimes impossible to explain.
Because of this kind of tension, I did a great deal of wrong things, prayers and a great deal of Scripture-searching but sometimes it was waste of time. I wanted to know why the same God who miraculously supplies wealth to the rich members of our society allows the poor members of our society experience grief and tragedy in the midst of our prayers to the contrary. I wanted to know why some of our needs are met so miraculously while other needs are seemingly ignored. Some of my prayers are unanswered up to now.
In the midst of these questions I remain firmly convinced that sometimes God answers prayers. Many of us have also experienced the silence of God. We have echoed the experience of Habakkuk, “How long, 0 Lord, will I call for help, And Thou wilt not hear?” We share David’s prophetic anticipation of the experience of Christ, “O my God, I cry by day, but Thou dost not answer; and by night, but I have no rest” (Ps. 22:2). What is the secret of answered prayer? Why are some prayers unanswered? The same Scriptures that assure us God will answer prayer also explain why some of our prayers are seemingly unanswered. These passages have taught me to ask many basic questions about my prayers.
The first and fundamental principle of answered prayer is faithfulness in prayer itself. Paul urged the Thessalonians, “pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:17-18). Paul exhorted the Ephesians, “And prays in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” (Eph. 6:18a). Christ assured His disciples, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matt. 7:7-8).
If we expect God to answer, we must be faithful in prayer. Yet there is also the wonderful principle of grace that enables God to give us more than we ask. Countless blessings are showered on the Christians every day. Paul expressed this, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Eph. 3:20). But it all begins with faithful prayer. Again and again in the Bible the truth is emphasized that prayer must be according to God’s will. Prayer is not a means for us to persuade a reluctant God to do something which is against His better judgment.
Praying in the will of God means that the prayer must be in harmony with what God has revealed to be His plan for the world. Our petitions must be in harmony with God’s holy and righteous character. What we desire from God must be to the best interest of ourselves and others, even though we may not always know what is ultimately best. If we pray in the will of God, we can be sure that God will answer. The Apostle John wrote, “We have this assurance in approaching God, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us —whatever we ask — we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15).
John goes on to say that there are prayer requests that God cannot answer because they are not according to His will and not for our best interest (1 John 5:16). James expressed it, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:3). Selfish prayers will not be honored by God. Prayer is God’s appointed means to receive what is best for us and others and to realize what Paul called “what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will”. Many times in the experience of those who pray faithfully, God does not say, “No,” but, “Wait.” Sometimes God needs us to wait until we are ready for the answer, or perhaps others need to be made ready. Sometimes a delay is necessary to fit into God’s overall program.
For sixty years Daniel prayed for the return of Israel to Jerusalem, for the rebuilding of the city of God which lay in ruins. It seemed that there was no answer from God. Then Daniel discovered the word of the Lord to Jeremiah, which had said that there would be a wait of seventy years before the captives of Israel could return to their city (Jer. 29:10). With this information, Daniel went to the Lord in passionate prayer. His prayer is one of the great prayers of Scripture. God’s timetable in the Book of Ezra records the return of Israel to its ancient land and capital city. So delay in answering prayer does not mean that God has not heard. (God has returned 50% of power to ODM).
Answered Prayer Is Not a Reward for Perfection!
Prayer is not a reward for perfection, but rather is God honoring His servants who earnestly seek to please Him. James writes, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16b). John expressed it, “Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him” God has promised to answer prayer according to His marvelous grace, according to His infinite power, and in keeping with His infinite love and faithfulness. When prayers seem to be unanswered, we must first ask ourselves if we have met the conditions for answered prayer.
When Paul wrote to Timothy (I Timothy 2:1), he told him that he should offer supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks for all men. “Supplications” are our requests regarding our needs. “Prayers” are any discourse with God, which would include petitions, praise and thanksgiving. “Intercessions” are our pleas to God on behalf of others.” Thanksgiving” obviously expresses our thanks for the multitude of blessings, both physical and spiritual, which we enjoy in this life.
Intercessions, our prayers for others, will include petitions unto God in behalf of many. We intercede for our brethren, our family, our enemies, our rulers, and sick, those who are lost and for elders. Many prayers are prayers of intercession. I would encourage and caution all of God’s people to be regular and fervent in prayer. For some reason, God pointed that we should tell him of our petitions for others, and express to him our gratitude. God knows our petitions and our thanksgivings. Thus, we must simply do what he told us to do -pray!
When I used to lead the Halleluiahs, that’s what I used to tell them and I think it will be good to look at prayers on both side. For those who are going to give thanksgiving this Sunday, I wish them all the best because I did my part long time ago before I left the church. However they should also tell us how they spent the 250.000ksh that they collected in the name of “Kenya Crisis” because people are boiling out there to know where the money went. I was just refreshing my memory.
Munala wa Munala.
No comments yet.