Devotional—The God Who Answers Prayers from The Struggle of Sanctification by Sonya Johnson
“Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When You said, ‘Seek My face,’ My heart said to You, ‘Your face, Lord, I will seek.'” –Psalm 27:7-8
God’s promise to the righteous: “When he calls out to Me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble. I will deliver him and honor him.” –Psalm 91:15
We serve a dependable God who promises us that He will answer our prayers. Throughout the Scriptures, we find examples of those who prayed for God’s divine intervention and received a yes answer. Elijah’s prayer for three years of no rain, King David’s prayer of confession and repentance, King Hezekiah’s prayer to extend his life, Jesus’ prayer to raise Lazarus along with His prayers in John chapter 17, and the Garden of Gethsemane.
When Paul and Silas were wrongly imprisoned, God intervened. “But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake so that the foundations of the prison were shaken, and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.” Acts 16:25
The Dilemma of Today’s Prayers–Praying Amiss
The confusion of hearing mixed messages from self-exalting pastors, Bible teachers who give their version of the Scriptures, and self-proclaimed prophets who prophesy a false interpretation of the Word of God, truth combined with prosperity teachings has led many to pray for material possessions. The Apostle James tells us, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:3). Definition of Amiss: wrongly or inappropriately. The prevailing reason for inappropriate prayers originates from our hearts’ lusts [desires]. God will not give us the desires of our hearts unless they benefit us spiritually.
But Jesus tells us to ask: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will also do; and greater works than these he will do because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” (John 14:12-14)
Jesus’ promise to answer our prayers with yes has a condition. He will give a yes answer to our prayers if we are asking for the spiritual things that are necessary to do His will to perform greater works. Throughout Jesus’ life of 33 years, His works reflect the ministry of salvation and miracles of provisions and healing. What exactly does that mean? Are we limited in our prayers to God?
“Then a great multitude followed Him because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased.” (John 6:2)
People Who Followed Jesus Because of His Power to Give to Them
“…when the people, therefore, saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they also got into boats and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did You come here?” (John 6:24-25)
“Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God, the Father has given me the seal of his approval.'” (Johns 6:26-27).
The crowd of people followed Jesus because He fed them not because they were interested in having spiritual insight–the understanding, knowledge, and wisdom that He was the Son of God and the power and authority that was given to Him by God, His Father.
The Prayers of Today’s Christians
Are we praying for others? Or do we simply ask only for ourselves and our families? Our priority in prayer is usually for material possessions. Or, we pray for deliverance from the consequences of our wayward actions. Even for those suffering from physical illnesses, God may not provide healing for them.
In Matthew chapter 6, verses 25 to 34, God has promised to give us provisions–the things that we need daily. Our daily prayers should reflect asking for spiritual blessings in our lives: Forgiveness of our sins, for God to reveal His will for our lives, the anointing of the Holy Spirit, wisdom and discernment of the Holy Scriptures, a deeper relationship with Christ, our purpose and spiritual assignments, and daily protection from spiritual warfare.
In Isaiah chapter 38, we read of King Hezekiah’s physical condition, his prayer, and God’s answer.
Hezekiah’s Predicament: “In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live ‘” (Isaiah 38:1).
Hezekiah’s Prayer: “Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the Lord, and said, ‘Remember now, O Lord, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what is good in Your sight.’ And Hezekiah wept bitterly” (Isaiah 38:2-3).
God’s Answer: “And the word of the Lord came to Isaiah, saying, ‘Go and tell Hezekiah, Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will add to your days fifteen years’ ” (Isaiah 38:4-5).
In Daniel chapter 10, we read about Daniel who fasted and prayed for three weeks as he fervently petitioned God to understand His vision. To excel in the divine knowledge required for our journey of Sanctification, we must make our spiritual connection with God our number one priority. Never forget the earth as we know it will one day be non-existent. Every day we should prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus, our King of Kings and Lord of Lords to live with Him in the New Heaven and New Earth. Amen.
Jesus’ prayer in John chapter 17 gives us an example of praying for ourselves and others.
Bible Study: John 17
Prayer: God, we admit that our prayers have been self-focused, and we ask for forgiveness for this sin. We pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit, knowledge, wisdom, understanding, and a deeper relationship with Jesus. Lord, we ask You to give provisions to those in need. This prayer we pray in the Worthy name of Jesus, Amen.