Jesus said more than one time, “Ask for anything, believing, it will be done for you”.
How many times have you prayed, believing this to be true, and your then your prayer was not answered? Truthfully, I have prayed, believing (or at least thinking that I was believing) and my prayer did not seem to be answered. It strikes at my faith.
Have you ever felt like He was not listening to your prayer, or that Christ meant that prayers would be answered only for these twelve men, or, although you won’t admit it to fellow Christians, that this idea that you can ask for anything is all a bunch of baloney??
-My dad had a stroke 22 years ago and I prayed and prayed, earnestly, for his recovery. But he still died.
-At my first camp a staff was hit by lightning. For twelve days I prayed for her and begged God to take my life but please restore life to that sixteen year old junior staff. But she also passed away.
-Early this morning, in my time of prayer, I asked God to send me a word or encouragement this morning, but the first two emails I opened after my prayers were anything but encouraging. What happened?
As I read the entire Bible and not just a verse here and a verse there, I note that some times Jesus prayed and things happened just like He said—immediately.
Other times He prayed, and things did not happen as He initially intended—i.e. “let this cup pass from me”, or in Nazareth where He “could not perform many miracles because of their lack of faith”. God said “no” a couple of times, at least, to His own Son.
Similarly some prayers God seems to answer immediately, e.g. “God please keep me humble”, or “Lord please send something in my life to test my patience”.. Pray those prayers and watch how swiftly He answers!
So why does it not happen at all sometimes? Because He answers “no”, “yes” and “not now” when His beloved pray—-and if we are praying in His will, as Jesus did, we can with total faith, knowing that He does answer, but not in the manner think is best.
I think that if you look at what Jesus said about praying, it’s rather obvious: A follower of Jesus has the super-natural ability to petition God Almighty to intervene in ways that defy our understanding of science, physics, natural law and so forth. But again, Jesus was talking to men and women that truly believed that He was the Son of God and they were living lives obedient to Him. What kind of obedience? Not a morbid life of doing nothing so that they did offend God, but deliberately choosing what they KNEW was right and eschewing what they KNEW was wrong! The disciples were not flawless human beings, but they lived and died knowing Jesus in an intimate and personal way.
Perfect faith? None of us have it——yet. But perfect submission, perfect adoration, perfect acknowledgement that He is Lord—-it’s ours for the taking.
We ought to pray more and not shrink away from asking. He understands our immaturity, our foolish prayers and our tendency to “ask wrongly”. But you’ll never learn to pray in power and you’ll never see the miracle of prayer if you don’t do it.
Pray——and pray without ceasing—-those are the words from Paul to fellow believers. Pray and don’t give up…..pray and believe that He hears….pray and trust that He is good, able and prepared to give us the desires (true desires) of our hearts.