Christianity 201

January 16, 2016

Praying the Bible Way, God’s Way

In Touch - Charles Stanley

Today we have a weekend 2-for-1 special for you from Charles Stanley and InTouch Ministries. Click the individual titles to read at source.

Learning to Pray the Bible Way

Matthew 7:7 “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; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

God wants His children to ask for what’s on their hearts, because He delights to give. Even more, He wants to fellowship with us. What joy can be ours every time we meet our heavenly Father through prayer!

The privilege of supplication rests on our relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ. Only those who are part of God’s family can claim Him as their Father (John 1:12) and avail themselves of His pledge to answer prayer. He makes no such commitment to unbelievers. The single exception is the sinner who asks for forgiveness and receives Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. As promised, his or her prayer is always answered with salvation (Rom. 10:9).

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus uses three verbs to describe prayer: ask, seek, and knock. Notice the progression in intensity from a request to a search and then to further action. Prayer is more than giving God requests. It involves seeking His will to guide our entreaties. It means “knocking on doors” by exploring different solutions and obtaining godly counsel to help determine the Lord’s mind. Jesus pledged that we will receive, we will find, and God will open the door for us. We have His assurance that God will respond and what He does is good.

Prayer is simple, yet at times we find it hard to practice. We try different methods but often feel dissatisfied and wonder if our prayers are having any effect. Ask the Lord to teach you more about biblical praying. Put into practice what you learn, and wait in assurance for His answers!

Praying God’s Way

Luke 18:1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

We like to keep things simple: Follow a few steps and reach the preferred result. Prayer, however, cannot be reduced to an easy formula. It isn’t some static activity where repeating certain words brings the desired solution. It’s ongoing communication with the heavenly Father and should involve listening, speaking, and acting on what we hear from Him.

God has promised to answer His children’s prayers, but He often waits before responding. He does so for many reasons.

Preparation. Sometimes God has to make us ready for what He wants to give us. We may have some attitudes or behaviors not aligned with His will (James 4:3). He’ll deal with them before He gives us His gift.

Spiritual growth. The Lord may use delays to test our faith or deepen our relationship with Him. No response from Him means He wants us to continue to seek Him and converse with Him.

Timing. God’s timetable often doesn’t match ours. He knows what He wants to accomplish in our spiritual life and in our relationship with Him. We can trust that He will put to good use the time between our request and His reply.

God includes delays as part of the believer’s prayer life. Sometimes He answers our first request, but often it takes several petitions before He responds. In certain situations, we have to keep knocking—as the persevering widow did—before God gives us His answer. (See Luke 18:1-8.)

Jesus calls us to a lifestyle of “asking, seeking, and knocking”—a lifestyle based on trust in God’s promise to answer His children. Are you persistent?

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