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Series: Prayer; Waiting on God
Sunday am 25 November 2012 – Kobus Swart
1 Kings 17:1; (Mal. 4:5); James 5:16-18; James 4:2-3; (Luke 11:10-Ampl); 1 John 5:14-15 (Ampl);
(Rev. 11:15); (Psa. 109:4); (1 Thess. 5:17); Matt. 6:9-10; (Luke 22:42)
Theme: We ask and do not receive because we pray with the wrong motives. God’s silence is often an answer in itself. We need to wait on God and align ourselves to His will until we can pray God’s thoughts back to Him. We have this confidence that if we pray according to His will, He hears our prayers.
Why are there so many Christians whose prayers are not answered? Let us look at some keys in the life of Elijah. Now Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the settlers of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, surely there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word” (1 Kings 17:1). This man, Elijah, hinted at a special position he had before God and out of that he was able to make a statement to the head of a nation. The New Testament gives us some insight into Elijah’s authority in his nation. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit (James 5:16-18). Surely there must be something for us to learn in this story?
Sometime in your life you have prayed for God to intervene, and how often do we come out of that without any sign of God’s intervention? If God is going to do what He wants to do, why pray? What do we pray for? These are relevant questions. The Bible says, “You have not because you ask not” (James 4:2b). It also says, “Ask and keep on asking” (Luke 11:10-Amplified). You ask and do not receive because you pray for the wrong reasons; you want to spend it on your own lusts (James 4:3). Often when God is not answering your prayers; that in itself is an answer. Stop, think, wait; meditate. Ask why there is silence.
And this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: [we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us (1 John 5:14). If you want answers to your prayers, the first step is to align yourself with God. The way to align yourself with God is to find yourself in Christ. This can save us from a lot of futile prayers. There are decisions to be made, but they must be made in God. I want to be found in Him when I pray and I want to pray His thoughts. The man who is completely subjected to God will have great authority in the earth.
The spirit of Elijah is going to be relevant in our time. “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. (Mal. 4:5). Will God find an Elijah company that can arrest the direction in which nations are going? Can God find an Elijah company in this nation who because of fervent effectual prayer, can speak to those in government and give direction? The kingdoms of this world will become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ (Rev. 11:15). How? God is looking for participants in His end time plan.
I am never ‘not’ praying. There’s hardly a moment that I am not in conversation with God. You have questions, you pray, you are looking for answers, you are looking for ways to go forward and in that sense we are as David said, “I am prayer” (Psa. 109:4). Paul says we must pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17). We cannot do this if we see prayer only as an activity on our knees behind closed doors, but we can be constantly engaged with the Spirit of God while doing our daily work.
“Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 6:9-10). Whose kingdom must come? His kingdom! Whose will must we pray for? His will! How do I pray for His will if I do not know His will? It will help if we can align ourselves with the thoughts of God. Not my will but Thine be done! (Luke 22:42). This is the best prayer in any circumstance.
“The scandal of God’s silence in the most heart breaking hours of our journey is perceived in retrospect as veiled, tender presence and a passage into pure trust that is not at the mercy of the response it receives” (Brennan Manning). Many prayers bore God because we become prescriptive. You are talking to an omniscient, omnipresent, almighty God and you want to tell Him how to do it? We must come to a place where we ask, “What is it that You want?” We can save ourselves a long painful journey of forcing things one way or another if we can say from the beginning, “Lord, align my thoughts with Yours. I want to pray Your thoughts after You.” This is the confidence we have that when we ask anything in the will of God, we are assured to get it (1 John 5:14). Let our prayers be praying His thoughts back to Him, and see instant responses. My prayer is that we will get there sooner rather than later.
Do you know why waiting on God/meditation is so important? Waiting on God is different from prayer. Before you start praying you should wait on God, so you pray God’s thoughts. Silence your minds; the ego mind wants to be in control. I want the heart of God; I want the mind of Christ to take ascendency then I pray! Thy will be done, Thy kingdom come, in this earth, in my finances, in my relationships, in my health.