Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Do You Want to Get a Prayer Answered?

Seven Steps to Getting Your Prayer Answered
By Barbara Henderson

'And being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.' Luke 22:44

Well, today is another day in the fall of civilization. In living through the fall of civilization, people are also living through the fall of institutions.
Financial institutions are failing.
Industrial institutions are failing.
Local business institutions are failing.
Religious institutions are failing.
And, even worse, the institution of the family is failing.
Today is worse than just the fall of an empire because when civilization falls, all the empires of the earth fall as well.

If you read Bible prophecy you know eventually the collapse of civilization as we know it is going to happen utterly and completely. From the ashes of today’s civilization will rise a dictator such as the world has never seen. He will usher in a ‘New World Order’ of such fierce control and terror he will make Hitler look like a kindergarten bully. For those who know the Bible to be true and without error, there is no doubt that that time of trouble will come just as predicted.

In the mean time, we observe the world traveling down the road to hell as though the inhabitants were going to a Sunday picnic.

Christians see this happening, and they see nothing that can be done about it. It is going to happen eventually, whether in our life time or not. This makes it harder for us to pray. We cannot stop what God has predicted will happen.

However, there is no knowledge given to mankind regarding exactly who will take what the world has to offer and who will reject the world and turn to Christ. We ought to pray earnestly for the salvation of the lost. We know that one day there will be a great battle called the ‘battle of Armageddon’. In that day, the loss of life will be so great that the blood of the slain will reach up to the bridle on the horses. The good news is that for everyone saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, there will be 5 or 6 quarts of blood less in that valley. Regardless of if the battle comes in our life time or not, every soul saved means one less soul in the devil’s kingdom for eternity.

So, here we are. The end of this age is coming. What should be the game plan of the Christian? Simply put, we are to do what Christians since the time of Christ have done. We are to follow the example of Jesus Christ.

Very near the end of Christ’s life, He gives us an example of what to do in a situation where what appears to be tragedy is going to come to pass. Tragically, I don’t really see a turnaround in world politics and society as a whole. Christ new his life was about to end in a brutal fashion. He knew that He who knew no sin was going to be made sin. (2 Corinthians 5:21) Of course Jesus knew that neither death nor sin could hold him permanently, but knowing what He was about to endure still put Him in agony, in addition to the agony over lost souls that brought Him to earth in the first place. Even a mother looking forward to the birth of her baby doesn’t look forward to the actual physical agony of giving birth. (If she does – she’s a nut!)

So great was the agony of Jesus Christ that it caused His body to sweat blood. How did Jesus endure such anguish? He prayed more earnestly than before! Let me repeat that. When is such agony of spirit that His body responded by sweating blood, Jesus prayed more earnestly than before.

Because Jesus is God, He knows and has always known the names of every human being alive on earth. He knows the names of those alive now, those who have lived in ages past, and those yet to be born. Jesus knows more than their names. He knows them personally, as He created them. His agony was not for His suffering alone, but for all the people of the world. Through His death He gave the gift of eternal life to everyone who would believe in Him. Jesus endured this agony because He loved mankind. He endured the agony of the cross for you and for me.

You and I cannot know the names of all the people of the earth. We may know the names, and even the faces, of a great many people. But, we don’t actually have more than a passing acquaintance with that many people. We know our own families. To a lesser degree we know the people we work with and those with whom we attend church. We know some of the people in the community in which we live. Out of these people, there is only a handful we love so much that their actions or suffering can put us in agony. A parent, a child, a spouse, or another close relative has the power to put us in agony of spirit through their sinful or hurtful actions, or tragedy in their lives.

The human response to a hurt so great that it causes agony of spirit is to first cry until they have no more tears, and then get angry at someone. To do this is to give place to the devil. We should follow the example of Christ. When we are in agony of spirit we should pray more earnestly!

In a sermon Billy Sunday tells this story regarding a fervent prayer of John Knox.
‘John Knox, whom his queen feared more than any other man, was in such agony of prayer that he ran out into the street and fell on his face and cried, “Oh, God, give me Scotland or I’ll die.” And God gave him Scotland, and not only that, He threw England in for good measure.’ ( )

John Knox was but one man. In his agony over the lost condition of his own beloved country he prayed the more earnestly.

In the same sermon Billy Sunday also says, ‘If the church people get right, the whole world will get right. The world is challenging the church instead of the church challenging the world.’

I don’t know about the whole world ‘getting right’ (right with God), but I do know that SOME will get right with God. On judgment day, those who do turn from evil to the God of salvation will be glad someone pointed them to Jesus Christ.

I also believe that the power of prayer in a church begins with the individual who, being in agony over someone or even something, prays the more earnestly.

How then, you might be wondering, can I pray more earnestly?

First, you must be praying to the God of your salvation. That means you must have assurance that you have sincerely gone to God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son. You must be able to truthfully and sincerely say, ‘The blood of Jesus Christ has atoned for my sins. By faith, I know that I have been accepted, and that I am eternally saved.’

Second you must go to God with a clean heart. That means you have confessed all your known sins and turned from them.

Third, you must go to God in meekness, understanding that you cannot gain your heart’s desire through your own merit – as you actually have none. You have no merit – none whatsoever. To be meek is to take the pressure of the outcome of anything off your own shoulders and place it on God’s shoulders. Do not mistakenly believe that to be meek is to be a doormat. Moses was meek, yet he was not afraid to speak directly to the king of Egypt. Actually, the meeker you are toward God, the better your chances of success in anything you attempt. (I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:13)

Fourth, you must go to God boldly. (Hebrews 4:16) You should not approach God with a swagger, but rather with the boldness that comes with knowing you have a command to go to God boldly. You are well within the bounds of proper behavior and attitude toward God when you approach Him according to instructions. You do not have to creep into speak to Him, as though you had no right to be there. Go boldly as you were instructed to do.

Fifth, you must pray earnestly, and with fierce intensity, asking the Holy Spirit to guide you in what you ought to say. (Romans 8:26-27) If you don’t even know how to begin a prayer, let it begin with a request that God would send His Holy Spirit to teach you how to pray in the matter, and to create in your heart an intensity, and an earnestness that will stir up God’s heart to answer your prayer.

Sixth, ask that someone else be given the same burden that you have been given, whether it be salvation of a lost loved one, healing of illness for yourself or a loved one, peace between loved ones or fellow believers, or even some material gain. (Matthew 18:19)

Seventh, continue in prayer. (Luke 18:1-7) Prayers are not answered because the ‘prayees’ becomes weary with well doing. They stop praying for a particular blessing because they have grown weary in well doing! In Galatians 6:9 we are told, ‘And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season, we shall reap, if we faint not.’

Remember James 5:16b which says, ‘The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.’ I paraphrase that verse to encourage myself by saying, ‘the continual passionate prayer of a believer gets results!’

Also remember that nothing is impossible with God. Just as you care about the little things your child needs and wants, God cares about all your needs and wants. He has time and means to answer the greatest prayers – such as ‘give me Scotland or I die’. He has the time and the means to answer even the prayer that may seem unimportant to everyone but you.

Do not grow weary in well doing. Keep praying. In God’s time you will reap if don’t quit. I love Billy Sunday’s quote on the prayer of John Knox for Scotland. Silly Sunday said God gave him
Scotland and threw in England to boot. Your prayer may not only be answered, you may get something else that is wonderful in addition to what you originally asked!

Consider yourself on permanent KP – Keep Praying!

Barbara Henderson