Prayer And Trusting Upon The Lord
By David J. Stewart
John 6:70, “Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?”
Jesus chose 11 sincere men and one devil. Somebody got passed over so Judas could get in. Many qualified men would have made good apostles, but the Lord instead chose a thief (John 12:6). Do you know what that means? We never know the ways of God, so we have to trust Him. God knows what He is doing. We trust Him by abiding in the Scriptures and praying without fainting. Prayer works! One way or another, prayer works!
One thing that I have learned about God in my life is that His working hand cannot be seen in days, weeks, months or even years; but rather, over decades. Man lives within a 24 hour cycle, from one day to the next. However, the Bible teaches that one day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 2nd Peter 3:8, “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” God lives in eternity where there is no time. Mankind lives in the creation of time.
So, naturally, mankind views answers to prayer very differently than God does. Since one day is as a thousand years to God, then a 70 year average human lifespan is like an hour to God. Our entire life is like a vapour to God, as James 4:14 teaches. When we pray, we have a natural tendency to keep track of how many days have passed since we made our request to God. As time passes, if we don't see God's hand working, it is very easy to come to the erroneous conclusion that God is not listening to us, or that God is not answering our prayer(s). I've learned to let God be God. I pray and then trust God to take it from there. It's not my place to question if God is doing His job. One of our troubles as Christians is that we try to do God's job instead of the work God has given us to do. God doesn't need our help to rule the universe!
God's thoughts and ways are drastically different than ours. This truth is found in Isaiah 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Again, God's thoughts and works are very different than we think, desire or expect Him to. This is why it is often said that God works in mysterious ways. They're only mysterious to us, because we cannot see the hand of God at work oftentimes. We see this in the life of Joseph. After being betrayed by his 10 half-brothers and ending up rotting in an Egyptian prison, Joseph no doubt was utterly discouraged and thought that all hope was gone. Yet, God remembered Joseph and had great plans for the wayward lad from Israel, who eventually became governor over all of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh. Ah! God never forsook Joseph, even through his suffering and pain.
We see the hand of God at work in the wonderful story of Esther in the Old Testament. You won't find “God” mentioned even once in the entire book of Esther; yet we see the hand and providence of God at work behind the scenes from start to finish. The great truth to be learned is to trust the HEART of God when you cannot see the HAND of God. Prayer requires trust, because God does not work within our time table, nor does He work in the manner in which we as humans expect Him to work. God works in such a quiet way in the background of life that only the historical records will be able to reveal His hand at work. God still does miracles today!
Ah! But one great truth lacking in the prayer lives of most Christians is the element of unquestioning trust in God. People pray, look for next-to-immediate results, and then become frustrated. So they stop praying altogether. Our duty is to pray, period, God takes care of the rest. I realized a long time ago that it wasn't my place to decide who, what, where, when, how and why God answers my prayers. That is God's department! Our part is to pray as the Lord commanded. Trust upon the Lord. Have faith in God!
Casting All Our Cares Upon The Lord
In 1st Peter 5:7 we read, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” Literally, God wants to throw (cast, hurl) everything His way that causes us concern, grief and worry. I cast many things toward the Lord. So why do things often go from bad to worse after bringing our burdens to the Lord? I think one main reason is to strengthen us. If a parent spoils their child by doing everything for them, then the child won't learn to carry burdens and handle stress in life. Likewise, God often steps back and we only see one set of footprints, feeling like God has abandoned us. But years later we realize that those footprints were God's, because He was carrying us the entire time. Unshakable faith comes from having our faith shaken.
Prayer must include trust, otherwise a person will become frustrated and quit when they don't see immediate results. Remember, God lives in eternity, but man lives in time. God can answer our prayers outside of the boundaries of time, which means that we will not be able to detect what God is doing within time. That's a deep and philosophical truth, but true nonetheless and I think important to grasp in prayer. Some people DO claim immediate prayer results (usually Charismatic whackos), but most people who are honest all too well know the feeling of praying and then wondering if God is going to answer them. Many times I have FELT like God wasn't hearing me, or didn't care; but I KNEW in my heart of hearts that God does care and always hears the prayers of His children, each and every one (Hebrews 4:15-16).
It's very important to always go by what the Bible says, instead of following our feelings and emotions. The Bible is a collection of PROMISES from the Lord, thousands of them! You can count on God to honor His promises. Our emotions are constantly changing. Jesus loves me this I know... why, because I feel it? No, FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO!!! Amen!
Why Pray If God Already Knows My Needs And My Cares?
God is aware of our situation 100% of the time. Nothing ever occurs to God...
Matthew 6:7-8, “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.”
Yes, God already KNOWS what things we have need of, but DO WE KNOW that we need God? I believe that God wants us to pray to show that we are humble, and to keep us humble. Proud people don't pray. With few exceptions, rich people are sinfully arrogant and extremely proud. Proverbs 18:23, “The poor useth intreaties; but the rich answereth roughly.” James 5:1-6 indicts most rich people. Rich people think they are already self-sufficient, so most of them don't want God. Yet, God is kind to the evil and to the unthankful (Luke 6:35). We all have to die one day, “BUT AFTER THIS THE JUDGMENT” (Hebrews 9:27; Ecclesiastes 12:14).
NOTE: Tragically, there are over 1,600,000,000 Islamic Muslims in the world who all deny that Jesus is the Christ. They deny that Jesus died on the cross. They deny that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. 1st John 2:22 calls them Antichrists. No one prays with the devotion of Muslims, who lay prostrate on the faces in humility toward Allah. Sadly, Allah is a fraud, concocted by the heretic Muhammad. Allah is a myth, who doesn't really exist. Thus, Muslims are praying heathen prayers to a false imaginative god. The Koran teaches that Allah has no son; but the Word of God, the Bible, teaches that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. Thus, Allah cannot be the true and living God of the Bible.
God KNOWS our every concern, need and trouble. If we want God to work, then we've got to pray. If we don't pray, then God will not work. God resists the proud. You see, if we pray then God gets all the glory. However, if we work in our own humanistic might and power, then God's Spirit cannot work, because our pride hinders God from using us. If we do everything in our own human effort, then God cannot help us like we need Him to. Zechariah 4:6, “Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” I pray for God's Spirit to use my humble labors online to reach others for Christ. It's NOT our power, influence, intellect, wisdom nor might that changes lives for eternity; but rather, the blessed Spirit of God. If we humbly pray and trust upon the Lord, then He will move in our life and work.
The Bible teaches that God RESISTS the proud. Proverbs 8:13, “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.” God HATES pride, arrogance, the evil way and a mouth that speaks against God and His Word in rebellion. The Bible tells us that God resists proud people, but gives GRACE to the humble...
James 4:6-8, “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”
I found a great definition for “grace” directly from the Bible...
Hebrews 4:15-16, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
Grace is God's help in time of need. I love that. So let's put James 4:6 together with Hebrews 4:16. God helps those who are humble. If a person is sinfully proud, God resists them. James 4:7-8 tell us HOW to humble ourselves in God's sight, that is, by submitting ourselves to God and resisting the Devil. Prayer is the opposite of pride. 2nd Chronicles 7:14 says IF MY PEOPLE will humble themselves AND PRAY, SEEK MY FACE and TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS!!! Notice that it all starts with being HUMBLE. Humility is praying because we know that we cannot go it alone and need God's help. When we don't pray and read our Bible, we are saying to God that we can make it without Him. Prayer is dependence upon God.
Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” Pride keeps a person from praying and drawing near to God.
Here's a precious Scripture passage that teaches how much God knows everything about the details of our life. God knows our every thought. God knows when we lay down, and when we rise up. God knows all and never misses a single word that leaves our mouth. Literally, every thought, word and deed of our lives is being recorded in Heaven. ...
Psalms 139:1-7, “O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?”
Most of the people who pray in this world aren't even born-again Christians. Prayer is not a recital. Prayer is not a performance. Prayer is not therapy. Prayer is not powerful by itself. We hear about the power of prayer, but the power rests in an omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing) and omnipresent (everywhere) God. Prayer is the act of humbling oneself to petition God with a need or request. Prayer is asking God. Prayer is dependence upon God to meet our needs, solve our problems and align our life in accordance with God's will. Prayer must always be in agreement with the Scriptures to be effective. If we pray contrary to the Scriptures, then we are going to be disappointed. Prayer is placing our problems into God's hands and then trusting Him. Prayer is evidence to God that we know how much WE NEED HIM. Do you need God to work in your life? Do you trust God?
May we all pray continually and trust the Lord enough to keep praying, even when we don't see immediate answers. God's hand is seen working over decades, not in months or even years. Atheists have a heyday with things like what I am saying, which is exactly why I believe God works the quiet way that He does. If you are looking for excuses to quit on God, He'll give you as many reasons as you want.
I was looking at the moon last night, and admiring the stars late at night. I saw the Big Dipper constellation, which I have been admiring since childhood each time I inadvertently notice it. I began to think about how insane unbelieving evolutionists are with their Big Bang garbage theories. How could a massive explosion 13 billions years ago form all the constellations of stars? Did all the awesome celestial designs in the heaven's just happen by coincidence? The answer has to be “yes” if you believe in the Big Bang fraud. Did you know that the Bible mentions the constellations of Orion and Arcturus? Job 9:9, “Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south.” Job 38:31, “Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?”
God created the stars for men, as signs. In the old days before GPS tracking existed, ship navigators used the stars to determine their location and plot the ship's course. There are different constellations during different seasons, because God made it that way. Genesis 1:14, “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.” There is no way that the perfect order, symmetry and handiwork of the universe just happened from a big explosion, anymore than a library of books could result from a pile of dynamite exploding.
God created man and gave him dominion over the earth. As such, man needs God's help. Prayer is God's way for man to requisition God for his needs. God will give us everything that we need to serve Him. Most people pray for selfish things, failing to understand that God put us here for a reason, that is, for His pleasure (Revelation 4:11).
The core belief of satanists, taught by Anton LaVey (founder of the Church Of Satan) and Aleister Crowley (the self-proclaimed wickedest man in the world), is that people should DO YOUR OWN THING! Live it up! That's man's law, not God's holy Law. People who don't trust the Lord and live selfishly don't pray. There is a correlation between trusting upon the Lord and prayer. People who pray, but then quit, do so because they don't trust God to answer their prayers. A greater faith is required to keep praying when it seems that God is not listening and answering. Faith pleases God (Hebrews 11:6).
The Bible teaches in Luke 18:1-8 that this is exactly why God makes us ask and ask and ask before answering. But unlike the unjust judge who didn't care, God DOES care and wants us to have greater faith. God tests our faith, shaking our confidence, seeing if we'll grow or turn by the way. If you are going through woeful tribulation, affliction and suffering as I have for several years, then rejoice “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1st Peter 1:7). Keep on praying!!!
The Bible is often falling apart of the man that is not!
"In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."
—2nd Thessalonians 1:8
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