Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Unanswered prayer?

Does God answer all prayer, no matter what?

Some folks think so.

Some folks think that God picks and chooses which prayers He will answer.

Some folks think He doesn't answer any prayers.

Then there those of us who have read and studied the Bible... we believe that God answers prayers of faith that are based on His will, which is found in His Word.

When I was younger and desperately seeking answers to all things spiritual, I wanted to know if God really answers all prayers.

In my search for a comprehensive study on prayer, I discovered R.A. Torrey's How to Pray. This book is a classic.

Chapter 9, Hindrances to Prayer explains why sometimes, scriptural prayers don't get answered.

  1. Selfish purpose or wrong motives. James 4:3
  2. Sin. Isaiah 59:1,2 & Psalm 66:18
  3. Idols in the heart Ezekial 14:3
  4. Stinginess. Proverbs 21:13 & Luke 6:38
  5. Unforgiveness. Mark 11:25
  6. Wrong relationship between husband and wife. 1 Peter 3:7
  7. Unbelief. James 1:5-7
Next time, you pray scripturally and feel like your prayer is hitting the ceiling, check yourself against the list. If you pass the test, then let patience have its perfect work. You will reap in due season if you don't give up.

Please don't get into condemnation if you prayed for healing and you didn't see results. Or a tragedy occurred even though you prayed that it wouldn't. Maybe you prayed for a loved one to live, but he/she died anyway. These are delicate situations that require a separate discussion about timing, the will of man, spiritual and natural laws and spiritual opposition. For now, don't blame God. Don't beat yourself up. Look to Him for comfort and understanding.

Let's pray-

Heavenly Father, thank you that you are not a man that you should lie or the Son of man that you should repent. Your promises are yes and amen. There is no fault in you. Open my eyes to see where I might be missing it. Is it lack of revelation? Fear? Unbelief? Or any of these hindrances to prayer. I am not too ashamed to confess and repent. In fact, doing this will bring me closer to you. There is no condemnation here. I trust that the Holy Spirit will convict and guide me into all truth. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Changing my perspective and fulfilling my purpose

While driving one morning, I had a heated discussion with God. Well, let's say that I was passionate about my subject. Sum it up as - "Why God why?" "When God when?"

In the midst of my rant, I saw my screenplay- what I was saying that I wanted, what I was (wasn't) praying, and what I was actually doing about it.


Then this scripture came to my thoughts:

A man's gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great people. Proverbs 18:16

We have gifts - talents, expertise, knowledge, experience, skills. Wherever we are in life (physical location or goal time line), we should be sharing our gifts. And those gifts will bless others and open doors of opportunity.

The light bulb came on. My "aha" moment of truth.

I was desperately seeking opportunities in places where my gifts were under appreciated, not appreciated, not wanted, or just plain not understood. Yet, I was saying (affirmations) :

I am brilliant in my work. I am filled with creative ideas that benefit me and others. I have unlimited earning potential. I make a fortune doing what I love.

My prayers were

Deliver me from this crazy situation(s). I want out, now! Amen.

How do you bring balance and order to personal chaos?

  1. Pray and believe the same thing. Mark 11:24 (Amplified Bible) For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it].

  2. Realize that nothing is impossible. Mark 9:23 (New Living Translation) "What do you mean, 'If I can' ? "Jesus asked. "Anything is possible if a person believes." My library is filled with true life stories of people who did what others said was absolutely impossible. You and I have our own personal testimonies about overcoming difficult or seemingly hopeless situations. Think about it.

  3. Shine where you are. Matthew 5:16 (NIV) In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Whether in a pit or a palace, we have to show strength in character and excellence in our craft. Character still matters. And while being educated is a good thing, continuing education is even better.

  4. Promote yourself to the best audience. Believe it or not, everybody doesn't know what you do and that you are really great at it. Friends and family included. And everybody doesn't care. Friends and family included. But someone is desperately seeking what you have to offer. The saying goes that there is no distance in prayer. While you are praying for opportunities, also seek opportunities locally and abroad. I'll admit that I prefer face-to-face meetings over lunch or dinner when discussing ministry, business or just life. However, that isn't always possible. So, I take advantage of online social networking. You can find a social network for just about anything.

  5. Know that you are valuable, needed, and sought-after regardless of your personal economic situation or the global economic situation. Genesis 41:56 & 57 (English Standard Version) So when the famine had spread over all the land, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. Moreover, all the earth came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth. As I was mediating that morning, I was reminded of Joesph in the Bible. His story is amazing. It would make a great drama movie. The life lessons are numerous. In every place Joseph shined. He was respected and sought-after. You have to read his story to see where he began and appreciate where he ended up.

  6. Expect more. This also came to my thoughts as I was driving. Yes, bad news abounds. We're surrounded by it. I'm a news junkie, but sometimes, I have to shut it down. When I face negativity and limitations whether external or internal, I am reminded of my personal mantra (based on Philippians 4:8&9):
    I am at my best when I fill my mind and meditate on things that are true, honest, reputable, authentic, pure, and compelling; the best, not the worst; lovely, not ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. When I do this God, who makes everything work together for my good, will work me into his most excellent harmonies.

    Let's pray -

    Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for what you have already done in my life. Thank you for what you are doing right now. Open my eyes to see situations and circumstances as opportunities to shine. Wherever I am, whether on purpose, by default, accident or mishap, I trust you in the midst of it. Knowing that your purpose and plans for my life are not canceled nor on hold, I continue to use my gifts. As a result, You will reward me with favor and opportunities. And I promise to appreciate it and manage it properly. In Jesus name. Amen.