PRAYER INTO THE AIR?
Prayer is – for the unbelieving and skeptical – a speaking into the air.
They place it, in the same category as superstition.
We hear some bemoan the fact that they prayed and ‘nothing happened’.
Sometimes human beings have conversations that end in ongoing strife, unresolved conflict – but the fact remains – they had a conversation, and it was real.
Prayer in it’s simplest definition – is a conversation with The Lord God, who tells us it is possible to hold a conversation with Him, but the outcome may not be what we want it to be.
3 You ask [God for something] and do not receive it, because you ask with wrong motives [out of selfishness or with an unrighteous agenda], so that [when you get what you want] you may spend it on your [hedonistic] desires.
So ‘I prayed and nothing happened’ is hereby ruled out. Something did happen in the context of this verse – you were refused your desired answer.
In the ‘nothing happened’ context, the answer you could have received, could well have been ‘No’ – but you did have the real conversation in the first place.
It was real, prayer is real, something definitely happened.
Something happens every time, it’s just that when it doesn’t go according to plan – we enter into doubt and reasoning, and give up on the idea.
Unless of course we have a good relationship with The One who answers prayer?
Sometimes we are left uncertain as to exactly what happened to the request. But we take it in-trust that we were heard, as we acted on the right principles when asking, and not with wrong motives.
The Lord Jesus Himself made a request in the middle of a ‘prayer time’ – in the middle of a profoundly agonising conversation – with His Father, in the garden of Gethsemane.
He prayed and got what amounted to a ‘No’ response.
And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as you will.
He did tag-on to the end of His request – the words: ‘not as I will, but as you will’. He then listened for The Father’s response.
And so it was – The Father’s will had to be done. Jesus therefore accepted The Father’s answer and responded with obedience, all the way to the cross, the outcome of which was an opening-up of the way for man to be reconciled to God, through His crucifixion.
Jesus rose up from His prayer time, and returned to His disciples, ready to continue His journey, having obtained the answer to His prayer, according to the will of God.
But notice regarding the cup of suffering He requested to pass from Him – the answer was – no.
He prayed and some might conclude that nothing happened due to the fact that He did not receive what He asked for.
Notice a key point – He heard from the Father, in response to His prayer/conversation/request. We too, will always get a response – of this we are assured.
Those who are true Christians, must be open to hearing from the Father.
The response He gives will not be the same for every prayer.
Regarding what you have asked for, if He speaks to you in prayer, and you know it is Him, then the matter is settled either way, with regard to the answer, i.e. ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
So not only speaking in prayer, but listening in prayer is equally important.
I John 5/14
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
Knowing His will according to His already revealed will, (The Bible) – or listening for His specific response, in the context of our request, i.e. an inner knowing He has heard us. Produces confidence (further faith).
We are instructed clearly to make our requests known unto God. This is followed by a sending of His peace, into our hearts.
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Having left things with The Lord, in prayer, as a result – sometimes outcomes will vary, depending on other factors, as per the example given – in the life of The Lord Jesus.
Jesus the man made the request to The Father who was greater than He.
“You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.
Jesus the man made the request – but The Christ followed through in complete unity with The Father’s will.
Just as the time of the Second coming is known only to The (greater) Father (i.e. the day and hour) – just so The Father, who did not become a man – communicated His wisdom to The Son, and The Son rose up to obey, setting His face as a flint to go to Calvary’s tree.
I will add a little more, in Part II, as we seek understanding about how prayer works.
Prayer works as do all things –
‘…together for good, to those who love God’.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
To be continued…