Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy,
Philippians 1:4 NLT
If we are making our requests with joy when we pray, doesn’t that mean that we are expecting God to answer our prayers?
And I’m not talking, about the “name it claim it” kind of false teachings where they tell you to believe something for yourself hard enough until it is real. I’m not talking about using some spirit that you pray to as a genie so that your own selfish wants will be fulfilled. Many people will trade out Almighty God and His offer of salvation to serve that other master who will gladly trade them the things and pleasures of this world in return for their souls.
If I’m praying for others, aren’t those things eternal – like salvation, a fruitful life, spiritual healing and growth, wisdom, understanding, hope, faith, and love – the greatest blessings that we can pray for? And if He does not take pleasure in seeing the wicked be put to death, aren’t those prayers in His will? Aren’t those prayers for permanent blessing and change on the inside of a person going to also result in strength to overcome or persevere through their temporary situations and circumstances?
So which is better to pray for – a change in their temporary circumstances, a change of those visible symptoms evident in their lives, that indicate an opportunity for the touch of God upon their lives that can be met by the physical things of this world – or a permanent solution to the root cause behind it, a miraculous change to demonstrate His power over the whole of His creation that cannot be manufactured and imitated by the prince and ruler of this world?
And if we are praying this kind of prayer for each other, can’t we have great joy in knowing and trusting God to answer our prayer in His time and in His will? If we aren’t demanding that He do it our way and on our time frame, can’t we trust that He knows best and that even Satan is operating within the bounds of what authority and latitude the Lord has allowed because it is for His greater purposes.
Can’t we find peace in knowing that His ways are higher and better than our own and that it isn’t about our understanding it all, but it’s about us being faithful, available, and teachable. It’s about us being willing to be changed and molded on the inside so that we can go out on mission and be used to do His work. It’s about us encountering the very trials and tribulation and persecution that He promised His true followers would encounter from this world, from these unseen powers.
If we remain controlled by our carnal nature, if we are still chasing the things and temptations and pleasures of this world that the enemy has to offer us as a poor substitute for the very power that can reconcile us to God and make us Holy- how can we say that we’ve tasted the living water of eternal blessings that satisfy or thirst forever? How can we say that we have eaten from the bread of life and taken up our cross to follow in the footsteps of Christ? How can we say that we have been washed by the blood of the Lamb AND filled by the Holy Spirit of Christ who lives in us? Do we not know that to enter into the Kingdom of God that we must be born again, that we must not settle for the Baptism of John but cry out for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, that we must be a new creation, changed on the inside as only God can do?
So are we so concerned with the temporary things and circumstances and situations in this world that our eyes are still blind and our ears are still closed to the things of God? Are we not growing in God because we c aren’t seeking Him nearly as much as we are seeking the things the ruler of darkness has to offer us?
He doesn’t say, if you know my name, I’ll let you in. He doesn’t say, if you attended church, I’ll let you in. He doesn’t say give me a part of your life, I’ll let you in. He, says, love me with your WHOLE heart, your WHOLE soul, your WHOLE mind, and your WHOLE strength, and you’ll realize that I have come to live in you.
Stop trying to get yourself into heaven or out of hell for after your body is dead – and start praying that He will come into your life fully while you are still alive. There is work to be done now, today. There are prayers that need to be lifted for others in joy. There are hurting and lost that need hope, love, and encouragement. There are spiritual captives that need to be set free. There are those that are spiritually blind, hungry, and thirsty that he wants you to heal and feed. There is a mission and purpose for your life that doesn’t require your human skill or talent, but that exercises the power of the Holy Spirit of Christ in you to bring the eternal change and the eternal blessings into the lives of those He touches through us.
That’s something to get excited about. That’s a real reason to have joy in prayer.
May we bless you with the only thing that we have to offer you, Lord – our lives, which are worthless without you, for we are nothing and our greatest works are filthy rags – but we know that you can redeem and use us for your work that is eternal, not so that we could be proud or boast in ourselves, but so that we might be humbled and overwhelmed by how much praise and honor, and glory and worship you deserve, Lord. Amen.