By David J. Stewart
James 4:2, “Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.”
If we don't pray, God cannot bless us the way that He wants to, for to do so would feed our pride and arrogance. The person who does not pray is sinfully proud, thinking they can make it without God's help. Hebrews 11:6 says it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God without faith. Prayer is faith.
If we don't pray, then God is not pleased, for without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Only by faith can anyone please God, as did Enoch in Hebrews 11:5. Enoch had this testimony... THAT HE PLEASED GOD!!!
Luke 18:1-7 teaches the parable of the unjust judge. Jesus sums up His parable with Luke 18:8, which says, “I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” The Lord associates prayer with faith.
If we don't pray, it is because we lack faith. Faith and prayer are inseparable. Thus, greater prayer means greater faith. Notice carefully in Luke 11:7 that the Lord bears long with His saints, meaning, He makes them continue in prayer before He answers. The unjust judge didn't care and ignored the widow. Jesus said that the Father does care, but He (like the unjust judge) requires you to ask, and ask, and ask, and ask to receive an answer. The difference is that the unjust judge avenged the woman to get rid of her; but God avenges us and answers our prayers because of FAITH. Prayer is faith, so continued prayer is greater faith. Some answers to prayer require much greater faith, meaning that we must continue in prayer.
If you want to buy some bread at the bakery, you just ask. But if you want to work at the bakery with the baker, that requires much more on your part. Likewise, Jesus told us simply to ask God the Father for our needs, because He already knows what our needs are (Matthew 6:7-8). But if we want to pray for the salvation of souls, that is, for the Holy Spirit to work in the hearts of men (1st Timothy 2:4), then we must pray and pray and pray (1st Timothy 2:1). Why does God require this? That's just the way it is and I cannot explain why. Why did James get beheaded, but then the church prayer and Peter was freed for prison? (Acts 12:1-5). If the church hadn't prayed, would Peter have been slain by Herod? We do not know.
On thing is certain, God is moved by prayer and fasting. When Daniel was thrown into the lion's den, the heathen king, Darius, fasted all night. Did this affect God's decision to protect Daniel? By the way, Daniel was about 90-years old when cast into the lion's den. He was a youth when the 70-years of captivity began, and now the captivity was over. So Daniel was up in years. When Jacob betrayed Esau and stole his inheritance blessing, Esau was already forty years old (Genesis 26:34). So the two brothers were in their 60's 20-years later when they reconciled. It has been found that the average family quarrel takes 20-years to reconcile, which was the case with Jacob and Esau.
Oh, my friend, I cannot stress enough the importance and need for continued prayer. Those foolish believers who don't pray, because they don't see the spiritual purpose and importance, will be held accountable by God at the Judgment Seat of Christ (2nd Corinthians 5:9-11). 1st Thessalonians 5:17 commands for all believers to PRAY WITHOUT CEASING!
If we don't pray, we forfeit God's blessings, for we are told in James 4:2, “ye have not, because ye ask not.” That means if we don't ask, there will be many blessings that are forever forfeited. Prayer is the cure for worry. Philippians 4:6-7 teach us to pray about everything and not to worry. Verse 7 tells us to claim the perfect peace that passeth ALL UNDERSTANDING!!! Don't try to figure everything out; but rather, acknowledge God in all your ways. Let God direct your paths.
In All Thy Ways Acknowledge Him, And He Shall Direct Thy Paths
Pastor Jack Hyles teaches about laboring for the Lord in this timeless MP3 sermon, In All Thy Ways Acknowledge Him, And He Shall Direct Thy Paths. We will be rewarded according to our labors. Our part in Proverbs 3:6 is to “IN ALL THY WAYS ACKNOWLEDGE HIM”; but God's part is “AND HE SHALL DIRECT THY PATHS.” If we do our part, then God has promised to do His part.
For example: A young woman ought not prepare to be a successful wife; but rather to work hard at being a wife. A young woman ought to work hard in preparation to be a wife, as someone would diligently prepare to be a doctor. You quit trying to decide how it's going to turn out, and you just roll your sleeves up and do your best. You be the best wife or husband you can be and trust God with the outcome. God is the Masterbuilder. Friendship is a gift from God. Our part is to work hard at being a friend, and trust God to do the rest. Our part is to labor in prayer continually, and trust God to do the rest.
Likewise, a young man in Bible college ought not prepare and fantasize about having a successful ministry; but rather, work hard to please God by getting the job done! You focus and work hard to be all that you ought to be; but don't decide the outcome or try to direct your own ways. That's God's department. May we all serve God and let God control the outcome. The Bible says in Hebrews 11:38 that it was God's will for some believers to be fed to lions, executed and imprisoned. It may be God's will for you to lose your legs. It may be God's will for you to spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair. It was God's will for the man in John 9:1-5 to be born blind.
It was God's will to cripple Jacob for the rest of his life, permanently disabling him (Genesis 32:25). I have accepted it as God's will that I am permanently afflicted with constant toothache-like neck pain, and painful peripheral neuropathy shooting down my arms and legs (and making my arms feel doubled in size, tingling and spasms of burning all over my body). My afflictions have humbled me and taught me the grace of God as never before. Psalms:119:67 and 71, “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. ...It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.”
Our part is to acknowledge God in all our ways, laboring to please the Lord. But God's part is to direct our paths in life. God may take us in directions that we did not want to go. God led Joseph into imprisonment as a slave in Egypt; but God was directing Joseph's steps. Trust the Lord. Let God take care of the marriage. Let God take care of the friendship. Let God build the church. God determines the outcome. Our part is to labor. Your part is to labor hard to reach people for Christ. You'll be miserable if you have plans and dreams. Let God take care of that. Your part is to get to work! Spend the time you spend at the lawyer's office, instead reading good books on how to be a good wife. Let God direct, you work hard and follow. Burn all those how to be successful books! If you live in the Bible, pray continually and trust the Lord, then you will be as successful as you can be in the Lord.
1st Corinthians 3:8-9, “Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.” You and I are God's building!!! He is the Masterbuilder! You labor for the Lord (1st Corinthians 3:6-7). You can't acknowledge Him if you're over here directing your own path. You're doing His work and not doing your work. So your work and His work go undone, because you're more concerned about results than doing what you're supposed to do. Don't be more concerned about results than you are about getting the job done. END
Souls are Dying
Too long I've laid me down to sleep, and prayed the Lord my soul to keep.
I should awake before I die, and realize time is passing by;
And rise and go and tell the lost, despite my plans despite the cost.
Too long I've laid me down to sleep, while multitudes about me weep;
And other cries of dark despair, for no one ever seems to care.
My life is short, and soon I'll stand, with sinner's bloods upon my hand;
Unless I wake before I die, and realize time is passing me by.
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