Wednesday, August 6, 2014

When God Answers

We pray.

We may pray about what we want – for what we dream of receiving. We may pray about what we need – for relief from stress, pain or threat. We may pray for ourselves, or someone that we love.

We do not pray to persuade God to act. Instead, prayer is our act – our act of faith. When we pray, we embrace our belief that God can and will help. That God has excellent and abundant things stored up for us. We reach out in readiness to receive those blessings. And we honor God, because our eager anticipation of His best expresses and reinforces our trust in His faithfulness.

It is God’s will to hear His people’s prayers of faith. It is His will to answer.  And when God answers our prayers, it is cause for great joy.

If you have prayed those prayers at length – maybe even for years – your joy is even greater when God answers. If you have prayed those prayers for years for someone you love … when God answers, only the scale of heaven itself can be used to measure your joy.

            God has revealed to us in 2 Corinthians 1:3-11 that He has a great purpose for His people to seek and share encouragement with each other.  I am excited to realize that when I share my hopes, and ask someone to pray to God about them, I am inspiring someone else to exercise faith.  I am excited that when we join to pray in His name, we are magnifying Him.

My needs and wants now become part of my ministry to other believers. And their needs and wants can minister to me. If a nonbeliever witnesses our fellowship, our ministry has also become a mission.  All in all, it is a wondrous invitation to faith – an opportunity to advance God’s kingdom here on earth.

I marvel at the power of God’s plan for the interaction of those who love Him. I am gladdened to realize this great blessing of sustaining and strengthening one another. Even more, more and more, I begin to see the outline of the body of Christ as we learn to fully fellowship. How glorious it is to see our God.

            When God answers our prayers, we see Him more and more.

When he says “wait,” we see that He is a God who nurtures us as we wait. As we pray, God responds with encouragement in His word, in the fellowship of believers, in His presence felt in ways beyond number. We learn to trust Him, thanking Him right here and right now. We learn that blessings not yet perceived can still be blessings received – received in our spirits.

            When He says “no,” we see that He is a God who comforts us in our disappointments and our grief. We learn to trust that God’s viewpoint and ways are above ours. We see that He is a God who inspires us, when we don’t know what to do next. We see that He is a God who restores us, when we call out as the anguished father in Mark 9:24 did, saying: Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. And God does.

            When He says “yes,” we see that He is a God whose delight is our delight. We see that He is a God who rejoices over us with singing, and invites us to join in the song. We are reminded of His amazing abundance.

When we pray over our wants and our needs, we begin to see that God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, whatever He answers. And we begin to realize the joy in all of God’s answers. As we come to see God, we see that that joy is part of His very nature.

When we pray, this joy of the Lord has a cleansing effect. It may wash like a trickle, in a moment that revives and refreshes you, interrupting your day-to-day routine. It may wash like a wave, in an event that quickens your heartbeat and compellingly sways your soul away from the routine. It may wash like a flood, in an occasion that saturates and transforms you, and transforms your routine into worship. However it washes, His joy washes like the Living Water that it is.

We find a joy in knowing God as Father, who communicates His love for us in daily blessings. We find a joy in knowing Jesus as Savior, who made himself a living example for our  earthly journey and a sacrifice for our eternal life. We find a joy in knowing the Holy Spirit as our counsel and comfort, leading us lovingly every step of the way in life.

When God answers, we find a joy.

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