The Answer to Prayer

For a while now I have wanted to dive into the subject of prayer. Sunday I went to my shelf and pulled out Spurgeon on Prayer: How to Converse with God. The sermon that bares the title of the book was my choice. Spurgeon relayed a story that really caught my attention but before I share that, I want to look at a couple of Scriptures.

Pray without ceasing, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 NKJV. When I was younger, I always wondered how in the world anyone could pray without ceasing. But then I came across meditating on the word day and night in several verses. Praying without ceasing, like meditating day and night is simply an attitude of the heart that is fixed on the Lord.Over the years I’ve heard sermons and seen books on how to get your prayers answered, the seven types of prayer, steps to getting your prayers answered and the like. Some of those things have been good, some not so much. Some things have been biblical and some things are so far outside of Scripture I don’t know how we have fallen for it.

Look at Philippians 4:6-9 NKJV “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”

How many of us are anxious before we pray? Sometimes we pray to get things off our chest, we pray out of fear, desperation and yes, there are times when we pray full of hope and full of faith. But regardless of our emotions, we shouldn’t be anxious. I think a lot of times we are anxious before and after prayer because we prayed and went about our day and didn’t give God time to respond.

In God responding I’m not talking about a still small voice or a thought that we perceive as the Lord speaking. Do we allow the Lord to speak through His Word before or after prayer? How many of us pray but don’t spend time in the Scriptures? Have you ever had the question, why aren’t my prayers being answered? Could it be because we aren’t spending time in the answer?

Charles Spurgeon relayed this story in his sermon, How to Converse with God. ” A missionary some years ago, returning from South Africa, gave a description of the work that had been accomplished there through the preaching of the gospel, and among other things he pictured a little incident of which he had been an eyewitness. He said that one morning he saw a converted African chieftain sitting under a palm tree with his Bible open before him. Every now and then he cast his eyes on his Book and read a passage, and then he paused and looked up a little while, and his lips were seen to be in motion. Thus he continued alternately to look down on the Scriptures and to turn his eyes upward towards Heaven. The missionary passed by without disturbing the good man, but a little while after he mentioned to him what he had seen, and asked him why it was that sometimes he read, and sometimes he looked up. The African replied, “I look down to the book and God speaks to me, and then I look up in prayer, and speak to the Lord, and in this way we keep up a holy talk with each other.” I would set this picture before you, as being the mirror and pattern of conversation with Heaven – the heart of hearkening to the voice of God and then replying in prayer and praise.”

Could it be that as we wait for God’s response to our prayer, the answer is sitting on the table beside us? As we approach God in prayer let us not do it apart from His Written Word. When we don’t know what to pray, perhaps we could pray the model prayer found in the gospels. Perhaps one of David’s prayers in the Psalms would be fitting for our circumstances, or maybe we would benefit from turning to Ephesians and reading the prayers of Paul for the Church.Instead of looking for outside answers, signs, or inner voices, let us turn to the Word of God for the answers there in. Will there be times where a specific answer won’t be found in the text? Yes, but wisdom, a principle, or general direction will be there to help you. The benefits of the Scripture in our prayer life is immense, avail yourself to them.

I pray this post has been a blessing to you. I encourage you to pick up Spurgeon on Prayer to be a devotional companion to your prayer life.

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