Daily Devotional for Tuesday September 9, 2014
Greatest Test of Our Faith is When We Pray and Nothing Happens
ASK BILL: Pastor Bill, some of my Christian friends say they are praying for "favor" for their husband at work. If someone is favored, by definition then, someone else is NOT "favored." That seems un-Christian-like to me. Plus it smells of money, like they want their husband to get a promotion. What are your thoughts on this new "favor" prayer, that seems so common today.
ANSWER: Praying for "favor" is not something new, in fact it is Biblical. It also does not mean that favor on one means no favor on another. There is nothing wrong, in fact, there is everything correct, in praying for favor over your husband, wife, and family members in their daily lives. You are incorrect since "favor" is not a zero-sum game where one gets favor and another loses favor. In fact, God in His grace and mercy is willing to grant favor to ALL!
One of the greatest tests of our faith is when we pray about an issue and NOTHING happens. We pray some more and still nothing happens. We pray until we simply can't pray any longer. Let me say up front, there are some schools of thought that praying for something more than once shows a lack of faith. I disagree with that conclusion, since we have passages like today's scripture that shows us persistent prayer is encouraged. There is no RIGHT formula for prayer. It is not magic or some sort of mystical formula.
GOD IS NOT OUR PERSONAL GENIE IN A BOTTLE WHO IS SIMPLY WAITING TO RESPOND TO OUR WISHES!!!
The fact is, prayer is simply a conversation we have with our Heavenly Father. It is like talking to our best friend, which He is. When we have a close relationship with someone, we may ask them to do something for us and it is done. We might only ask once and it gets done. There are some things, especially when it comes to husbands and wives, or children, that we have to ask 5 . . . 10 . . . 20 . . . even 100 times to get it done. I am sure we have all been there. So it is with our relationship with God. We may share a need with God and almost immediately it is taken care of; however, there may be some issues we pray about over, and over, and over, for a long period of time before it is taken care of.
But there are also some issues that we pray about for long periods of time that are NEVER resolved. It is at these times that we must allow our faith to become real and trust God. While the Bible clearly tells us to ask God for the desires of our heart, and we SHOULD do that, we must always pray with the heart Jesus did. He said, "Yet not my will, but thy will be done." Jesus understood that His life was totally surrendered to God. It was God's life to use as He saw fit. God's plans may not always be our plans. It is at those times that we MUST set aside our desires for His. As we grow spiritually, we actually come to the place Jesus was when we understand each day that our life belongs totally to God, and our desires must be His desires. Hear this one more time-
OUR DESIRES MUST BECOME HIS DESIRES!
I love you and care about you so much. I will be praying for you today, praying that when you have to, you are like the widow and not be afraid to remind God over and over of the great needs that you have in your life. There is nothing wrong with reminding God. I will also pray that you come to the place in your walk with the Lord where you can say, "Lord, not my will, but Thy will be done," that place where we trust God enough to not worry when He is "silent," but have a peace that what God wants is what we want. After all, God's plans are ALWAYS better than our plans. While our plans don't always work out the way we expect, God's plans ALWAYS work out perfectly.
The fact is, God is NEVER silent or ignoring our prayers. He is simply waiting for His perfect timing to show you the right plan to meet your needs.
PRAYER (Psalms 91:15) God Answers Prayer . . . His Way. The Bible tells us to pray. It tells us to bring our needs and concerns to God. However, it never says HOW God will answer our prayers. We often get into the trap of telling God how to answer our prayers. We not only want our prayers answered, but on our time schedule, and our way. Let me help you today to grow spiritually as you better understand God. God loves us very much. He hears our prayers. He answers our prayers. What we need to realize is that His answers come on His schedule, not ours and are answered in His way, not ours.
What this means is that we need to pray in faith, then exercise that faith with the full confidence that God has heard our cry and is working on the answer. The Bible teaches us clearly that a thousand years are but a day to God. He is not limited in time/space as we are. Subsequently, while we have an urgent need that seems to go unnoticed by God, He will answer in His perfect timing. There is nothing wrong with repeating prayers. There are many great examples of repeating our petitions to the Lord. Just know that the answer comes on His time schedule.
The other factor to consider is how the prayer is answered. We always have it figured out exactly how God needs to answer. We have the perfect way our needs can be met. Almost always God has a better way. The question is do you want the prayer answered, the need met? If your answer is yes, then don't worry how God chooses to do it, what method He may use, or how He chooses to work circumstances to get the need met. Rejoice that He has answered, and rejoice that when it is answered His way, it is the best way. Never forget that God has a perfect plan and will bring His plan to fruition.
I love you and care about you so much. I am praying today that you become more aware as you pray that God is hearing your prayers and that God is answering your prayers. You use your faith when you trust that God will answer in His perfect timing and in His perfect way. Try to get out of the habit of telling God how to answer the prayer. Pray and leave the answer to Him. He loves you and cares about you very much. He won't let you down.
In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ,