We are to ask God for whatever we need, and never stop praying. When we ask of God, invoking the name of the Messiah, his son, Yeshua, we will receive that which we ask for.
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This is a promise we have been given by Yeshua, himself, and it is trustworthy, so why is it that not everything we ask for is received?
Did Yeshua lie? Does God reject prayers in his son’s name haphazardly?
Of course not!
Often we pray for things we don’t really need but we want, stemming from worldly desire and not from wanting to better serve God. In other words, pray all you want to to win the lottery or for a new car because you’re bored with the one you have, but those aren’t the types of prayers God will honor.
Well, probably not: truthfully, I can’t speak for God, but I believe the types of prayers Yeshua was talking about are those in which we can do more for God’s work in the world. If you pray for money so that you can continue to run a ministry, that is more likely to be answered than asking for money so you can get a new lawnmower.
And any righteous prayer you make is heard, but God will not always do all you ask. More often than not, at least in my personal experience, God expects you to make an effort to achieve that which you are praying about.
If you are suffering from some disease and pray for healing, God will hear you but I think he will expect you to continue to take your medicine, listen to the doctors, and work towards getting better.
If you are having financial difficulties and need to find a better job, pray to God for help, but don’t expect to get a phone call out of the blue offering you a job. You need to write that updated resume and get it out there so that God can then make sure the right people see it.
Our God is a God of action, not a God of sitting around waiting for it to happen.
Abraham is a great example of what I am talking about: maybe you haven’t thought about it, but Abraham was in his late 90s and Sarah in her early 90s when God said he would have a son through Sarah. Abraham believed him, so what do you think he must have done that night, and for a number of nights after that? Uh-huh, that’s right, even though they were both way past the age for doing that. Abraham knew that God would empower him but not do it all for him.
When God told the Prophets to take his word to the people, except for Jonah (at first), they immediately told the people what God told them to say, despite the “flak” they took for speaking it, especially Jeremiah!
In my own life, if I may share this with you, I asked God repeatedly to help me see people as he sees them and not the way TV and marketing companies have taught me to see people, which is as sexually attractive things. Let’s face it: we are indoctrinated by TV and the media to identify people by their sexual attractiveness or by some other physical attribute. I mean, how many ugly people do you see on the TV or in magazines drinking Pepsi or driving a new model car?
Back to the point: I asked God, and still do, to simply excise this part of my brain and you know what he told me? He said it doesn’t work that way: I have to take charge of myself and try to control what I do, remembering what it is that he wants from me. But he hasn’t left me alone: he does help me.
For instance, if I look at a cute woman jogging and think she is attractive, even though it isn’t lustful, just seeing her as a sexual entity instead of as a person is what I have asked God to help me stop doing, or when I have arguments in my head that I have asked him to help me overcome (I have posted in the past about how wrong it is to rehearse our anger), I find that something happens to take my mind off those thoughts. Most of the time this happens when I am driving somewhere, and as I start to do what is wrong, all of a sudden the car ahead of me will hit the brakes for no observable reason, shocking me back into reality. Or I will bite my tongue or something unusual will take my mind away from what I am doing.
It took me a while to realize that these weren’t coincidences, they were God answering my prayer by empowering me to overcome that which I asked him to take away from me. You see, by having things take my mind off what I am thinking, he is taking me off the wrong path and allowing me to get back onto the right path. It’s like we are working together, and you know what? It’s kind of cool being able to team up with God.
So here is the point: pray for what you need and not just for what you want, pray for that which helps you to do more for God, and then get off your tuchas and do what needs to be done, as if you have ready been answered.
Now, that doesn’t mean pray for a new job then go quit- no, that isn’t smart. And don’t pray for something in order to test God- he doesn’t really like it when we do that, and that prayer probably won’t be answered.
Pray to God, ask for what you believe you need to be a better and more obedient servant to God, and then trust in God to answer. The answer may not come right away, and the answer may not be what you expect or ask for, exactly, but it will be for what you need. And the answer may also be…No! No, not never, or no, not just yet, but that doesn’t mean your prayer isn’t going to have results. Maybe God is saying “No” because he needs you to reevaluate what you are asking about.
There is no easy answer to why prayers are answered sometimes and why they aren’t other times, but the idea is to keep praying and keep asking, just as in the parable Yeshua told about the woman asking the unfair judge for justice. She became such a nudge that the judge finally gave her justice just to get her off his back.
God already wants to do good things for you and he knows what is best for you; he will answer your prayers but he won’t do it all for you because he empowers us but he won’t enable us.
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That’s it for today, so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!