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TITLE: TALKING TO GOD
Subtitle: God Answers Every Prayer Of The Genuine Believer!
I know many of you will instantly take exception to the subtitle, but it is an absolute and undeniable fact. God does--without fail--answer every prayer of His children, but the definition of "answer" is where the problem lies with entirely too many professing Christians. They have been listening to the "prosperity preachers" and after praying for a shiny new BMW they get all upset because God does not answer! When in actual point of fact the instantaneous answer was "No!"--as the selfish prayer bounced off the ceiling--because it did not take His will into consideration. God always answers our petitions with a, "Yes," "No," or "Wait until later" and He is under no obligation whatsoever.
Much confusion exists over the following passage of Scripture:
"And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it" John 14:13-14 (KJV).
At first glance this would seem to be a blanket formula for receiving whatever we desire. All we have to do is invoke the Name of Jesus Christ and voila, it is supposed to appear! When it doesn't, (which is certainly the norm), a lack of faith is claimed by those teaching such nonsense. But the error of such teaching is ignorance of the following verse:
"And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us" 1 John 5:14 (KJV, emphasis mine).
If we ask for something contrary to His will, He will not listen and the answer is an automatic "No!" Would you give heed to your child if they asked for a loaded gun to take to school to show their friends? I hope not! And neither will God entertain such ridiculous and infantile requests from His children. Just because we really want them is of no importance because God does not spoil us by catering to our every whim. Requests are only met when they coincide with His will for our lives. And the sooner we realize this, the better. God did promise the children of Israel in the Old Testament that He would bless them both spiritually and materially if they obeyed His commandments, but that promise is nowhere restated to Christians in the New Testament. The following is but one of many such promises to Israel:
"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.  And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts" Malachi 3:10-11(KJV).
And, incidentally, the tithe per se is not a requirement for Christians. We are but stewards of that which Christ entrusts to us of His own and we are greatly blessed by not being limited to a percentage for giving! He is pleased when we use His money and possessions to promote and further the cause of Christ on earth. And we cheat ourselves out of untold blessings when we act like it belongs to us and use it for purely selfish purposes. (See our article www.cuttingedge.org/articles/p112.htm for more on the subject of stewardship).
Prayer is nothing more complicated than talking with God and we err greviously when we try to package it into some sort of formula and think that we are being very pious by doing so. The so-called "Lord's Prayer" was not meant to be a panacea of protection chanted mindlessly by football players about to enter an athletic competition, or recited as a means of penance after confession or in any of the seemingly endless ways in which it has come to be used. It was given at the request of the apostles when they asked the Lord to teach them how to pray, as we see in the following passage:
"And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.  And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.  Give us day by day our daily bread.  And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil" Luke 11:1-4 (KJV, emphasis mine).
But we do not gain a full understanding of what He taught them without seeing this prayer in the larger context of what He had to say about it in His Sermon on the Mount:
"Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.  Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.  But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:  That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.  And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.  But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.  But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.  Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.  After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.  For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:  But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" Matthew 6:1-15 (KJV, emphasis mine).
That which has come to be known as the "Lord's Prayer" was one Jesus Christ would never pray Himself, because He was without sin and needed no forgiveness. The prayer that He offered up in the Garden of Gethsemane prior to His crucifixion would much more properly be termed "The Lord's Prayer." But in any case, it was intended to be a model for His disciples as they learned how to pray to their heavenly Father. "Vain repetitions" were to be avoided because the Jews themselves had fallen into the heathen habit of chanting words without really giving thought to what was being said. Would we attempt to converse with our earthly father using such methods? If we did, he would probably take us to the shrink for a check-up! And it is just that silly to try to talk with God by rattling off the spiritual equivalent of nursery rhymes! TALK TO HIM!!! Be reverent and respectful, but pour out your heart to Him in everyday language. Tell Him about the innermost desires of your heart and bare your soul before Him in love and adoration. He knows infinitely more about us than we do, so we are not letting Him in on any secrets--just agreeing with Him as to the current condition of our heart and life. That's what the word "amen" means--agreeing with God! Use the little acrostic A.C.T.S. as an aid to approaching Him.
First offer your Adoration. Are you not thrilled when someone--especially your own child, or grandchild--tells you that they love you? Most of us fail miserably by not telling the Lord Jesus Christ many times each day that we love Him and truly appreciate all that He has done, and is still doing, for us. We need to be reminded often of how much we owe Him!
Then we should offer our Confession. Tell the Lord what we have done in violation of His perfections--sinful acts of both omission and commission--not because He does not know about them, but to agree that they were wrong and express our sorrow and repentance for having done wrong. Claim 1 John 1:9 by asking for forgiveness and cleansing and then:
Offer Thanksgiving for His mercy and grace. Just as expressions of love are appreciated, God is pleased when we offer Him praise from a thankful heart. Then, and only then, should we close our prayers with:
Supplication. All too frequently we blunder in before His throne of grace and selfishly beg Him for things without taking the time to properly acknowledge Him for Who He is! I know that most of us--particularly Americans--are not too fond of the concept of royalty, but our Savior is King of kings and Lord of lord's. And even though we are His beloved children and have the wonderful priviledge of approaching Him any time we please, we owe Him the reverence, courtesy and respect befitting His exalted and majestic Person. Truly, as the line from a familiar old hymn says, "What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer."
Are you making proper use of this blessed privilege? Or would you have to admit that you are usually on your face before Him seeking "signs and wonders" and trying to find a miracle under every bush? When the comment was made by the Lord in Matthew 17:20 that if the disciples had faith "as a grain of mustard seed" (the smallest seed known to them) they could "remove mountains"--what did He mean? Was He criticizing them for a lack of faith or merely pointing out that they had none? The answer is found in the fact that it is not innate to us--we certainly were not born with faith and if we are to possess it to any degree, God must supply it. This principle is stated in Romans 12:3, where we find the following:
"For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn every one among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought--not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance; but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him" (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible commentary, emphasis mine).
Notice too that all of us do not possess the same amount. God gives faith in proportion to the task(s) required of the individual.and if we are not up to "removing mountains" it is because God has not willed that we do so. What He requires, He furnishes. Later on, the same disciples who had no faith were given miracle-working faith and they utilized it for the glory of God by authenticating the message being preached. The miracles gave visual proof to a largely ignorant populace that what they were being told was from God. Historically, the children of Israel had always walked by sight and not by faith (following the Shekinah Glory cloud out of Egypt is a good example), so this was just the final "installment" leading them to their promised Messiah. The miracles obviously accomplished little where the spiritual life of Israel was concerned because shortly thereafter they rejected Jesus Christ and murdered Him. During the founding of the Church at Pentecost, God saw to it that miracles continued to be performed as a temporary witness to the Jews because the saved among them would be the nucleus of the early Church--but once the apostle Paul articulated the doctrine that Christians are to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor.5:7), the miracles lost their relevance and ceased. Therefore, to continuously seek "signs and miracles" today by praying for them and interpreting every recovery of seriously ill people as being a miracle is to attempt to walk by sight--not by faith. When we get right down to it, all healing is divine healing and a scratch that does not become infected is itself a miracle considering the innumerable hordes of bacteria swarming all over it, but to place it in the category of a "sign" from God is not wise.
We must also be extremely cautious about "God talking to us" in prayer. While this did happen to the apostles and others during the transistion between Law and Grace, it was divine revelation and served a specific purpose. The New Testament was still in the process of being written and the Church had to depend upon the direct hand of God for its instruction. Once the canon of Scripture was completed and available to the various Churches in written form, it was God's final Word to man. Everything we need to know about spiritual matters is contained within its pages and when God speaks to us it is by this medium. We speak to Him by prayer and He speaks to us through His Word. Receiving impressions from God during times of prayer is one thing, but those who insist that He speaks to them in an audible voice are on extremely shaky theological ground.
Deception is the greatest threat facing the Church today and we must be aware that Satan is doing his best to pull the wool over the eyes of believers and make them see things his way. Emotionalism in worship is one of his most effective tools and when he can entice a child of God to quit thinking and start "feeling"--the battle for the control of the flesh is lost. Prayer itself can become a sin when we set aside logic and rational thinking by yielding the intellect to the control of emotions. Paul clearly tells us that in our flesh "....dwelleth no good thing" (Romans 7:18) and it is our spiritual enemy. Emotion is as natural as breathing and when kept under control by the intellect it is not spiritually harmful, but if it is allowed to run wild--nothing good is likely to come of it. God is never honored by displays of our flesh.
We are exhorted by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to "pray without ceasing." Does this mean we are supposed to be on our knees constantly? Of course not, but throughout each day we should be aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit within us and seek His guidance in all things. Our every thought is an open book to Him and we need to ensure that those thoughts are acceptable in His sight, by maintaining a proper attitude of prayer--a back-and-forth dialogue between best friends. Verse 19 of 1 Thess. chapter 5 says, "Quench not the Spirit." To quench a fire is to pour water on it and put it out! To quench the Holy Spirit is to allow unconfessed sin to break the fellowship and communication. To restore that relationship and re-open the "phone line" to heaven, we must take the initiative and claim the promise made in the following verse (referred to earlier, but not quoted):
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" 1 John 1:9 (KJV)
When we are in the proper relationship with God, our prayers are heard and answered in accord with His good and perfect will. The Holy Spirit aids our understanding of the Scriptures by speaking to our hearts through them. Getting spiritual guidance by any other means is playing with fire! The "mystery of iniquity" (2 Thess.2:7) is about to burst into full bloom and the air is full of spiritual deception so thick one can almost cut it with a knife. Pray constantly for godly wisdom and understand that we must not place any confidence in our flesh. Proverbs 16:18 says, "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall." May God help you to stand firm in these evil days, is our prayer.
If you have been born again and received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, but have been very lukewarm in your spiritual walk with Him, you need to immediately ask Him for forgiveness and for renewal. He will instantly forgive you, and fill your heart with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Then, you need to begin a daily walk of prayer and personal Bible Study.
If you have never placed your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior, but have come to sense His reality and the approaching End of the Age, and want to receive His FREE Gift of Eternal Life, you can do so now, in the privacy of your home. Once you truly believe in Him as Lord and Savior, you are spiritually Born Again, and are as assured of Heaven as if you were already there. Then, you can rest assured that the Kingdom of Antichrist will not touch you spiritually. If you would like to become Born Again, turn to our Salvation Page now.
We hope you have been blessed by this ministry, which seeks to educate and warn people, so that they can see the coming New World Order—Kingdom of Antichrist—in their daily news.
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