We Proclaim Jesus.
It is the nature of man to invest himself in something that he knows will work and produce results. A farmer does not toil in plowing his field and in planting seeds without expecting to harvest some crop. Even if there is a major destruction of the crop, the farmer sees convincing evidence that his work was not altogether vain. He knows that planting seeds does produce crops.
So it is with the labor and toil of prayer. Prayer does work. It is not vain. God knows that we need to have an abiding assurance that prayer is answered. As such, He has given us convincing evidence in His Word about the certainty of receiving answers to our prayers. This convincing evidence is intended to be burning in our hearts as we approach our Father in the name of His Son. Failures and fears rob many of us of this blessed assurance. Moreover, the whispers and lies of our adversary about the futility of the labor of prayer further erodes the foundation of our confidence in God's willingness and ability to answer our prayers.
A. The Promises and Assurances of God to Answer Prayer
"Because he loves Me, says the LORD, I will rescue him; I will protect him for he acknowledges My name. He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him" (Psalm 91:14-15).
"But you when you pray, go into your inner room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will repay you" (Matthew 6:6).
"Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and the door shall be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened. Or what man is there among you, when his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he shall ask for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!" (Matthew 7:7-11).
"Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us"(Ephesians 3:20).
"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you" (John 15:7).
"Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight" (1 John 3:21-22).
"And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked of Him" (1 John 5:14-15).
|1. Prayer made according to God's will will surely be answered.|
|2. The most pervasive feature of Christ's teaching on prayer is the assurance that prayer will be answered.|
|3. God is a willing giver, not a reluctant giver.|
B. Eager and Earnest Anticipation of Answers to Our Prayers
"I will stand on my guard post and station myself on the rampart; and I will keep watch to see what He will speak to me, and how I may reply when I am reproved. Then the Lord answered me and said, Record the vision and inscribe it on tablets, that the one who reads it may run. For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it hastens toward the goal, and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay" (Habakkuk 2:1-3).
"For I know that this shall turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I shall not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ shall even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death"(Philippians 1:19-20).
"Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, since I know that you will do even more than what I say. And at the same time also prepare me a lodging; for I hope that through your prayers I shall be given to you" (Philemon 21-22).
|1. Praying men and women who petition God effectively do so with an expectant spirit.|
|2. The spirit of eager expectation is different from wishful thinking.|
|3. Many believers pray without expecting God's response to their prayers.|
|4. How can this spirit of eager expectation be developed in believers?|
Andrew Murray wrote: "It is significant that the Lord should have thought it necessary to repeat the truth in so many forms. It proves that He knows our heart, how doubt and distrust toward God are natural to us, and how easily we are inclined to rest in prayer as a religious duty without expecting an answer.
As long as in prayer we just pour out our hearts in a multitude of requests without taking time to see whether each one is sent with the purpose and expectation of getting an answer, not many will reach the mark. But if, as in silence of soul we bow before the Lord, we were to ask such questions as these: What is my real desire? Do I ask for it with faith, expecting to receive? Am I ready to place it-and leave it-in the Father's keeping? Is it settled between God and me that I will receive the answer? We should learn to pray so that God would see and we would know what we really expect.