Prayers, can one truly count on them? Over the past decade or so, I've witnessed many Christians with issues, some critical, that have gone to the Lord in sincere prayer with seemingly little to no results. Many justified their seemingly unanswered prayers in one way or the other. So, how can this be with all the promises that are given in the bible to those that believe? When I study the Scriptures and especially the book of Acts, I see a true dependency upon God's divine intervention in the lives of the early Christians. I think many Christians including myself share in that heart felt desire for that kind of a close relationship with God. But, whatever the reason, for some, that close divine relationship is not always found. I've thought that possibly the number one reason could be disobedience and/or unbelief in the presence of Christ's anointing. To me, Christ's anointing is the truth revealing revelations and understanding that's given through the Holy Spirit, God's individual "word" to those with an open heart. These revelations and understandings is where we can find the strength to overcome. But because of unbelief and/or even mistrust in this anointing, some pay little attention to this leading of the Holy Spirit. In our daily lives, understanding truth is vital to success. Without understanding, it's much harder to find self discipline in our lives. And discipline is very important in overcoming the snares of the evil one for it begins with making good choices and good choices are made with understanding. For those that have studied Job will know that when Job had understanding of the need for repentance before God, he was released from the hand of Satan. But for those not trusting Christ's anointing, may continue to search, possibly never finding the truth that comes from only God. Therefore, what role could this play in unanswered prayers? Lets consider what shortened the life of Saul in the Old Testament.
1 Samuel 28:17. And the Lord has done for Himself as He spoke by me. For the Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, namely, David. 18. Because you did not obey the voice of the Lord nor execute His fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore the Lord has done this thing to you this day.
God's word to Saul was to execute fierce wrath upon Amalek but Saul did not obey the Lord in this matter. We find later that after Saul disobeyed the voice of the Lord that his prayer was no longer answered by whatever means that God would of chosen.
1 Samuel 28:6. And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by the prophets.
Today, because of what our Lord Jesus sacrificed for all, we are all given opportunity to the Holy Spirit of God, which can reveal all truth to each individual that has an open heart to God. In James 1:22 we are instructed to be doers of the word, that word that is found in the heart of those that are His. Praise be to God that He has given all access to His word by His Spirit but for those that give little to no significance to it, how can they expect to hear from the Lord? Consider that the same Lord that Saul was seeking, after his disobedience, is the same Lord Jesus of today. Consider Hebrews 13:8: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. If He resisted Saul, will He not also resist those today that are not listening or disobedient?
Another possible reason for unanswered prayer: Now there is another big reason that Saul's kingdom and life was taken from him. But also pay close attentions to the word, "also".
1 Chronicles 10:13. So Saul died for his unfaithfulness which he had committed against the Lord, because he did not keep the word of the Lord, and also because he consulted a medium for guidance.
When I study about the woman medium, I do not find where she did anything wrong. I do not believe the Lord's wrath was against this woman. Actually, she was an instrument that brought truth to Saul. I do not believe the medium is the focus of fault but rather that Saul was seeking counsel from another rather than the Lord. It would have made no difference, he could have sought the counsel of his local pastor and the result would have been the same. In doing so and his disobedience, Saul was found "unfaithful". And that is the focal point to Saul's demise! Today, we have the same issues. We have prayer and the personal presence of the Holy Spirit of God. If we seek spiritual counsel from anyone, other than the Lord, that can be a proven indicator of unfaithfulness to the Lord and how can anyone expect anything different than the failed response that Saul experienced. If we take to heart the message that Saul received, maybe through self-examination, repentance and grace we can find more of our prayers being answered in accordance to our daily needs. For me, seeking the Lord, begins with love, love opens the door of a submissive heart, and submission can only be accomplished through communication manifested in obedience. This is what encloses the kingdom of God here on earth, which Jesus said is "at hand". This communication, is the anointing of Christ that gives the followers of Christ their revelations of choice for their daily direction. This is the personal "word of God" which is given to each of those that are of His kingdom and is as real and tangible as each breath we take.
2 Corinthians 6:5. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
Identifying a "word" of God: Paul clearly identifies the true "Word" of God, by pointing to the "one word" that had been given to Isaiah, with the many mechanical words that were spoken. There is a big difference between "one word" and "these words" in the following Scripture. Take notice!
Acts 28:25. So when they did not agree among themselves, they departed after Paul had said one word: "The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers, 26. "saying, `Go to this people and say: "Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand; and seeing you will see, and not perceive; 27. For the heart of this people has grown dull. their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their heart and turn, so that I should heal them.'' ' (This "one word" is enclosed within these 70 "words") 28. "Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!'' 29. And when he had said these words, the Jews departed and had a great dispute among themselves.
It is very clear that verse 26 & 27 containing about 70 words was the "one word" that God had revealed to Isaiah. That "one word" was a complete precept and/or concept of God's willingness to heal but hindered to those with a rebellious heart. Because of the Way that is provided through Christ, those that have accepted the Promise of the Father, the Holy Spirit of God, can receive their own divine concepts and precepts from the Lord. So we need to be aware and joyfully seek for them and be obedient, especially if we desire His divine blessings.
Disobedience to the revelations of the Holy Spirit: Consider the depth of what is written in James 4:17. Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. Why is this a sin, because it is disobedience to the Holy Spirit. The key words here are "who knows". Truth is revealed by the Holy Spirit and if one knows, that revelation has come from none other than the Holy Spirit. Therefore to him who knows to do good and does not do it, this one is not obeying the voice of the Lord or keeping the "word" of the Lord that had been revealed to him. It is my deepest belief that both, the "word" and "voice of the Lord" is given through the Holy Spirit of God. Therefore if we want a successful prayer life, we need to be obedient to God's will in our lives.
Submitting to God's will: Ephesians 5:15. See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16. redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
Consider the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples: Luke 11:2. So He said to them, "When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 3. Give us day by day our daily bread. 4. and forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
Each of us are given an opportunity to live our lives not by our will but by whatever will that God has set before us. Jesus' life was a living example of obedience to the will of His heavenly Father.
Luke 22:42. saying,Father, if it is Your will, remove this cup from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.
Philippians 2:5. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6. who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7. but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
And take note that as Christians we are instructed to have this same mind as demonstrated by Jesus' obedience. Take special notice to this instruction. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6. who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
There is a big difference in being equal with and equal to. In Isaiah, Lucifer wanted to be equal to God. Being "equal to" is claiming independence as was the heart of Lucifer for he wanted his own kingdom. But Jesus was "equal with" and that was done by His being total submissive to the will of His Father. And this is the mind that we are instructed to have. Not by our will but by our heavenly Father's will.
In James it is written: James 4:7. Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. ...
I personally believe that any of us can have a very close relationship within the fullness of God if we are willing to submit to His will. The key word here is submission to God rather than seeking our own will. For me, I would like to live my life in comfort but comfort is not always God's will for us. Jesus' life was not manifested in comfort nor any of the disciples. Are we willing to exchange comfort for the presence and manifestations of God? Anyone can boastfully say yes! but is that really the truth. I know that time is running short yet I do not always witness as I should to those that do not have the knowledge of God. It's not always comfortable to witness but the apostle Paul was not motivated by comfort but the by presence of Christ and love.
1 Corinthians 15:34 Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.
Jesus' prayer in seeking His Father's will: I believe Jesus gave us a very good example, that by observing, we can understand and find answers to our prayers. Take note that one of the last commandments that Jesus gave His disciples was to observe.
Matthew 28:18. Then Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19. "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20. "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen".
Jesus, in His last moments with His disciples before He was arrested, observed the behavior of His disciples following His giving them this one commandment.
Matthew 26:41. "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak".
Jesus' observation was that their spirit was willing but in the flesh they were too weak to obey that commandment. I believe this observation was given to Him by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus began His public ministry following His baptism and victory over Satan's temptations. In His public ministry He was led by the Spirit of God and it is my belief that all the things that Jesus knew and recognized was not because He was God but that He'd been baptized by God and the things He knew was given to Him by the Holy Spirit of God. Consider Acts 10:38. "how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
Keeping this thought in mind and lets go back to where Jesus was in prayer about the extreme suffering that was about to happen to Him.
Matthew 26:36. Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, "Sit here while I go and pray over there". 37. And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. 38. Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me". 39. He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will". 40. Then He came to the disciples and found them asleep, and said to Peter, "What, could you not watch with Me one hour? 41. "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak". 42. He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.'' 43. And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy. 44. So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. 45. Then He came to His disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46. "Rise, let us be going. See, he who betrays Me is at hand".
Jesus' example of recognizing answered prayer:It seems to me in the following Scripture we see that after the third time, Jesus recognized that His disciples did not have the strength, in the flesh, to obey His commandment. I believe that at this point Jesus fully recognized that without His sacrifice, that all mankind, without the presence of Christ and the strength that comes from God, would not be able to obey the commandments that comes from God through His Holy Spirit. At this point Jesus fully understood the magnitude of His sacrificial payment for the sins of all mankind that would pave the way for all, that for those that would repent to God could become the disciplined followers of Christ having been reconciled to God through His innocent blood. At this point Jesus said "It is enough! The hour has come" and He was obedient, even to His death.
Mark 14: 41. Then He came the third time and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough! The hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42. "Rise up, let us go. See, My betrayer is at hand".
Take special notice that Jesus prayed and His Father did not answer Him with words or angels or great signs and wonders. I believe He received His answer through the revelations that are given through the Holy Spirit. Therefore I find it very encouraging that those that are of Christ also have the same Spirit that was given to Jesus so that we can also find answers to our prayers through the things that God gives us through the revelations that are given through Christ. After all, there is only "one Spirit" and the same Spirit that was given to Jesus is the same Spirit that indwell those that are of Christ. I love this following verse for it gives us a wonderful promise and surety.
Ephesians 4:4. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5. one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6. one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
Through our observations, answers to our prayers are realized by the revelations that are given to us by God. This is a very powerful tool that God has given those that are His for His divine direction.
Romans 8:14. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
Understanding the will of the Lord: Philippians 5:17. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
God is love and everything we do, need to be done in the Spirit of love.
1 John 4:8. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
2 Corinthians 5:20. Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God.
Each of us that are of Christ have been given a spiritual gift. We will know our gift and God will place desire in our heart.
Philippians 2:13. for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
Each of the gifts that God has given us are to be used to manifest His glory and presence. Each gift is necessary and beneficial to the body of Christ. but not always easy to minister. But as good stewards we need to be faithful in fulfilling God’s will in our lives. Therefore, prayer and submission go hand in hand. The more we're willing to submit our lives to the will of our heavenly Father, the more we'll realize answered prayers. Submitting to God is not in our fleshly nature. You see submitting alone is not enough. There are two types of submission. One is, out of force and the other is, out of love. When I am speaking of submitting to God, I am speaking the submission in love. God is love and therefore love is the very core to righteousness. There is a big difference in obeying the commandments of God through love or by force. When Jesus obeyed, it was done in love. I believe this is why Jesus asked Peter three times, do you love me? For it is very important that we serve the Lord because of our love and not by force. Our witnessing is done in love, our everyday obedience is done in love. Love is our very best weapon against evil.
1 Corinthians 13:8. Love never fails...
Matthew 22:37. Jesus said to him,"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.38. This is the first and great commandment. 39. And the second is like it: `You shall love your neighbor as yourself".
Love is pivotal in serving the Lord: Take notice that Jesus focused upon Peter's love for Him before He gave him the commandment to: ...Feed My lambs.
John 21:15. So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these? He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.'' He said to him, "Feed My lambs. 16. He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me? He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.'' He said to him, "Tend My sheep. 17. He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me? Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me? And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.'' Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep.
When Jesus told His disciple, ..."If you ask anything in My name, I will do it". This was a commitment made in love and therefore the things we ask, need to come from our love for Him.
John 14:12. "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13. "And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14. "If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. 15. "If you love Me, keep My commandments.
When Jesus was obedient even to the point of death, it was done not by force but through love and likewise our submission to the Lord is also to be done in love.
John 14:21. "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.
"Loving the Lord" and "believing in the Lord" go hand in hand. There is a big difference in placing one's trust in ideologies and truly trusting the Lord. Ideologies alone are not a living thing and without life, love can not be experienced. But trusting in the Lord begins with believing and believing matures into a heartfelt love as one recognizes the works and presence of Christ in their life.
Having the presence of Christ is a daily living experience where there is a close divine relationship and fellowship through prayer with the Lord. A prayer life without love may very well be self-seeking but a prayer life which is founded upon love is glorifying the Lord through those that are His.
In answer to this question: Prayers, can one truly count of them? To this I would answer Yes!, that is if one is willing to seek and submit to the will of God, through His Spirit, through love for love is pivotal in serving the Lord. Love comes from God but it's our choice to receive it and allow that love to be manifested through our lives.
1 Corinthians 13:8. Love never fails...