I asked repeatedly in prayer that God would change my eyes from blue to green when I was a small child. You know what? He did it!
Now I am praying repeatedly for Christ to come for his Bride. I trust Him to do it because it is written, and when I was a babe He proved to me He Is! Before I could ever read, even.
I think we should leave God's answers up to God. That's my 2 cents worth.
This thread got a little bit sidetracked. I'm going to re-study the Book of James before I make any more posts. (Taming the tongue is an impossible thing to do without changing the heart.)
New International Version (©1984)
After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this."
It wasn't my intention to be harsh so much as to beat back this line of thinking where if you should pray hard enough, you can grant immortality to your loved ones and if you can't it's because you didn't have enough faith so they died.
That's what it boils down to, and it's ridiculous.
There is a method to what I am saying, I'm not trying to be difficult to understand or cold so much as rhetorical with the thought. I want you to think about it.
Mitsy, I'm sorry your cat died. That is a tragedy and I'm not making light of it. I'm trying to help you understand because you said "you don't know anything anymore" with regards to this.
I would contend you probably know more then you think you do about it. If you didn't, you certainly do now. Not for reason of me so much as for the others here who are blessed to say things much better then I can manage.
It wasn't my intention to be disrespectful to anybody. I'm sorry if that's how I came off.
I can't count the blessings I've had in my life that came from Him and Him alone! He doesn't always answer prayers "yes", there are three answers to our prayers. They are "yes", "no" and "wait". To me the accomplishment is how do we discern His answer. Not how to get what we want, but how to recognize what He wants for us.
Some people are very discerning of exactly what the Lord's will is in their lives. They'll even say things like "God told me". I have no doubt He does indeed communicate with some of us more directly than He does with others. I'm one of the others. He doesn't talk to me but I've come to realize lately, I don't know how to listen. I'm trying to learn that now.
This much about prayer I do know, it's for praising God and thanking Him for all the blessing in our life. It's for asking forgiveness and for His will in our lives. It's for presenting our needs and the needs of others to Him. At the end of it I'm learning to take time to say "here I am Lord, your servant is listening". I'm new to this, I'm not getting any sense of His presence or will at this point, but as I learn, I hope it will come.
The apostle Paul was very in tune with the Lord. I don't have that gift and I'm guessing many Christians don't. I wonder sometimes if that isn't a test to sharpen our faith. Paul saw Jesus, Paul and the other apostles communed directly with Jesus, the Lord sent a man to Paul bound in ropes to show Paul what would happen to him. I watch a lot of good preachers on TV, they all say the Lord somehow communicates with them. I imagine it would be very important for the Lord to communicate closely with a pastor. I'm a sheep. I don't get that much communication, although I would like to. I remember what Jesus said about us: "blessed are those who have not seen, but still believe".
Genesis, I have been praying for you and I will pray that the Lord show you His will. If many of us get together and pray this for you, it should be a great help to you. If you are not already doing so, I suggest trying to set some time apart everyday where you are available to listen to anything the Lord has to say to you. Maybe it will help you to know what you should do.
My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.
For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; the fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.
Baruch haba b'Shem Adonai!
I think most people will agree with what I wrote in regards to prayer below.MT 7:7 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
MT 7:9 "Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
MT 18:19 "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."
MK 11:22 "Have faith in God," Jesus answered. 23 "I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, `Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. "
LK 11:9 "So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
LK 11:11 "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"
JN 15:5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
I've stopped trying to analyse it!I've been prayed for my Kitty to be healed years ago. He died from cancer anyway.
Believe & you will receive??? I don't know anything anymore.
Pray in the will of God. The Bible says He provides yet I know many Believers who are not getting their needs (not wants but needs met). Is it His will to heal me? I don't know because God doesn't speak to me directly.
Since my Kitty died of cancer I pray but I don't expect to get what I have prayed for anymore. (I'm being honest here and I'm not trying to be controversial).
I've seen many brothers and sisters in Christ not get what they have prayed for as well it's not just me. Maybe it is wrong motives or sin or whatever. I've stopped trying to analyse it and just leave it up to God.
Ask and hope. God will say yes or no. We can't control God's answers to our prayers.
If you get a YES then great, If NO then we need to learn to accept it and remember God is Perfect, Just and Holy.
I don't have the answers to those who come across these verses and then like me have a similar experience where what you pray for and sincerely hope for doesn't come to pass.
My point was that you can't just pray and expect to get what you prayed for even though there are many verses (most of which I have put at the start of this post for you) that make it look otherwise.
I did pray for my Kitty to get better. Some of you here prayed with me. In the end God didn't give me what I asked for. I understand full well God can say NO and He is not obliged to say always YES. I accept that and I understand but it doesn't marry up with what we read in God's Word does it?
I don't know what to think anymore or what to say to those people who come across verses like these that make it look like you can ASK for Anything (almost) and God WILL give it to you. That is what some of the wording is in these verses.
My experience and that of other people around me is contrary to these verses. We often do not get what we ask for and that is fine because God is God.
I think this is what the OP is talking about. Here are verses full of promises of answered prayer in the positive but how are we to interpret them.
I know there are verses that say what you Pray for should be in God's Will.
So then you get verses like the one below:-
It almost gurantees healing. Yet I know many Brothers and Sisters in Christ who have not been healed and have as a result of some sickness gone to be with the Lord in the prime of their lives.JAS 5:13 Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14 Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
Personally I don't hope for a YES anymore from God. When I prayed for my Kitty I was hoping for a YES but I also prayed God would take him without allowing him to suffer too long or too much according to His Will. It was hard to lose him in that way and it was hard to get a NO from God for a pet that was like a child for me (because I could not have children my cats have been like children to me). So I read these verses but don't know what to make of them. No idea?
I learned some years ago, quite painfully, that praying is not a cause that leads to effect. Even where some dire needs were at stake are presented in prayer, that are not answered, I'm left to continue on regardless.
It's very seldom that I advise someone on how to deal with a very difficult situation (for example) other than to understand how they feel and offer some compassion.
Rather than pontificating on what I know, or think I know, I rather show how much I care.
Thus going through life trials and tribulations can be very beneficial, in ministering to those in need who might need someone just to listen to them, who know what it is like to suffer in similar situations and circumstances.
One other powerful thing I needed to learn was that just because my prayers were not seemingly answered, did not mean that I was at some kind of fault, for example, because of a lack of faith or failing to live a good enough life.
My understanding is that many things will not be answered until we are in eternity. Though I have noticed, that while some difficulties and trials on earth appeared to reveal personal failure, shortcomings, and weakness, it can lead to incredible growth as well.
When I look at the prayers and lives of the Apostles and Christ, or even the lives of people like Paul, I see your top post, not your bottom post. It would have been strange for Paul to have prayed for a nice hotel and a great Mediterranean meal as he went on his journies. Instead, he had a small bag of some figs, and who knows, some guy walking by offered some bread, all as he was on his journey to bring the gospel to the world. Both needs were very real, one need eclipsed the other so much it just was not worth mentioning.
Or even Christ, who spoke much about our ordinary needs, because thats typically all we focus on. Ok, so we are not Jesus, but we also can see how He lived, what He prayed for, all the while He had great immediate needs, very practical needs, just as we do. Yet we know our heavenly Father has given us life, wisdom, fruit to bear and joy to sing. Yet again, we know all too well what we often have in mind, and its easy to see what James had in mind when he penned that scripture.
I think its more true than we want to accept, that these things in our lives that we pray for are just not that important in the grand scheme of things. Yes, even our beloved pets, He still loves them more than we do, and this world is still cursed, so things will die, and we know they will die, and we know that God can instantly heal them, and we know that God doesn't stop the world for us, and at least I recognize that it would be wrong for the Lord to do such things for me as I demand, want, conjole out of Him or pleading. I think the closer we come to know the Lord, the less we will pray for our ordinary needs, He knows them quite well already. It really sounds by your post you have good understanding already Mitsy. This world is passing away, but the really important things are right there for us, and the temporary things are not to be held tightly. He tells us all these things, but we are just human and its difficult to accept. We are like Jonah in chapter 4. After all Jonah experienced, after the Lord showing him how much He cared for men and beast, our thoughts often revolve on our comforts and our desires. Thankfully, the Lord knows us well.
Some of the things we actually are promised in this age are not mentioned much, such as suffering and being hated. They relate to the things which are in the center of His will, for them to believe on His Son. Christ Jesus gave up all these things for us, to bring us life and everlasting joy. We turn around and are mainly concerned with the things He gave up and didn't even consider much, and are not that impressed with the real riches He brought to us. I don't mean just you Mitsy, its all of us. But, we can at least see these things, see how we should be.
Don't panic! Just be Rapture Ready.
I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will put them on trial for what they did to my inheritance, my people Israel, because they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land.
Genesis22 and Mitsy:
I too have struggled over the years with these verses about prayer, and about the questions that have been raised. My frustrations drove me to read the Bible more carefully and study more about prayer. Perhaps some of what I found may help you too.
I don't find in the Bible where believers use these promises as "formulas" to try to get things to turn out the way they want, nor are we taught to pray this way. What does it mean to pray in Jesus' name? Does it mean to pray for anything we want as long as it's not sinful, then at the end say "in Jesus' name I pray, Amen"? I actually used to think that. No, it means, if we pray as Jesus would, then we can pray in the authority of His name. So then we must read the Gospels carefully and see what Jesus was all about. What kinds of things would He ask the Father for? Read Matthew 6:7-13 and John 17.
In the Old Testament, obedient believers were promised physical blessings. But the church is promised tribulations, John 16:33, Acts 14:22, Romans 8:35, II Corinthians 1:5, Philippians 1:29-30, I Thessalonians 3:3, II Timothy 3:12, I Peter 4:12-19. Psalm 11:4-5 and Proverbs 17:3 explain why we can expect these things in our lives. Paul tells of his tribulations in II Corinthians 11:23-28. We don't see him presenting these experiences as times when God let him down or didn't answer prayer; apparently Paul was more concerned about serving the Lord no matter what, than his personal pleasure and comfort.
So what does Paul pray for? Romans 1:8-12, I Corinthians 1:4-8, II Corinthians 1:8-11, Ephesians 1:15-23, Philippians 1:3-11, Colossians 1:3-12, I Thessalonians 1:2-5, II Thessalonians 1:3,11-12, II Timothy 1:3, Philemon 1:4-6.
We find that the Bible presents prayer as about God and for the fulfilling of God's purposes in our lives and in this world. It's not for giving us what we want. I used to think Psalm 37:4 meant that whatever I really wanted, God would give me, as a reward for trying my best to live for Him, but now I understand that it means that, as I draw closer to the Lord, His desires will become my desires. Warning: If you want something really bad, more than you actually desire God's will, He may give it to you to teach you a lesson, Psalm 78:18,29, 106:15.
God will meet our needs in the way He sees best. He may allow us to experience great need in order to test us, to increase our faith and dependence on Him, to be a testimony to those around us, etc. II Corinthians 1:3-7. Or He may choose to provide temporal blessings. He is able to give us everything, Eph. 3:20, but He does not always choose to, for His own inscrutable reasons. Many Christians have been tortured and killed for their faith and God did not choose to save them; others see God intervene in miraculous ways. He has a different plan for each of us. But Ephesians 1:3 makes it clear that for the church, our blessings are spiritual, not necessarily physical. This might not be what we want to hear. But Jude 24-25 tells us what it's really all about.
The promises quoted earlier in this thread are a little clearer when considered in the light of other things the Bible presents about prayer.
Wow, I have a lot to respond to! lol Thank you all for the help and prayers. It means more to me than you know. As much as I appreciate all of your personal stories of how things have worked out in your lives (I really do), I really need to just focus strictly on what the bible says right now. Opinions and situations only go so far, but the bible is a solid rock that I know is from God. I'm still confused about those verses in Mark 11, honestly, even after all this and talking to various people at my church (who all agree with you guys). Everything that you guys are saying is what I've always thought, but it's not what those verses seem to say. I don't want to miss quote scripture, but I'm just saying in honesty that I'm confused. It doesn't say "believe that God can do this", it says we must believe that He will. And it doesn't say to do this only when it's something we really need (Jesus really didn't need for the fig tree to wither). It even says that if we believe a mountain will move it will(not just can). Nobody needs a mountain to move. Also, Jesus didn't ask if it was God's will for the fig tree to wither before making it wither (or, at least it's not written in scripture that He did)...He just believed that it would and it did. Granted, if God would have told Him no, I'm positive that Jesus wouldn't have been angry with God or anything. He would have kept trusting His plan.
I want to take Jesus' example of how He prayed...but Jesus prayed in so many different ways that it's hard to know which one to take after. In Matthew 6:10, He asks only for God's will and doesn't ask for anything specific. In Mark 11:20-26, He made the fig tree wither simply by believing that it would (not that it could, but that it would- His words, not mine) and told us to do the same thing when we pray for something. In Matthew 26:42, it's kind of in between those two. He says "if this cup cannot pass away unless I drink it, your will be done" He said for God's will to be done IF there's no other way.
Also, on the subject of hearing from God. I do hear from God. Not audibly, but mostly confirmation through scripture. For example, when I felt like maybe I needed to rely more on the joy of the LORD instead of other things, about 5 people sent me the scripture that says "the joy of the LORD is my strength" -and I hadn't told anybody that I thought that! That's typically how I hear from God. My pastor at church will preach on exactly what I'm going through without having any idea about my situation, or I'll choose a random page to open my bible to and it's exactly the answer I've needed....etc.
Jan51, I wanted to reply to you separately because I have a lot of thoughts with all those scriptures. First, I guess I should tell you my basic situation (I can't remember if you've responded in my other thread or not). Basically, my boyfriend broke up with me because he thinks we have to many differences. We're both saved, but we disagree about things like what churches are good, if we should homeschool our kids when we get married, etc and he thinks God will give me someone who is more like me. I disagree and think that those are issues will work out over time. I mean, I'm 18, it's probably going to be another 10 years before I have a school aged child...do I really need to marry someone based on what kind of schooling they'll let my kids do 10 years from now? In the bible, they didn't date and make sure they agreed on every issue. They just made sure they were both saved, got married, and made it work. So anyways, I'm praying first of all that my friendship with this guy will be okay, because we've been best friends long before we dated and I don't want to ruin that. I'm also praying that we can get married (this is where I don't know if I should be praying for that specifically or not), and I'm also praying for him to stay strong in God and follow His lead no matter what that is (Paul prayed that in the verses you posted, so I know for sure that's ok and is the will of God). I know that these things I want aren't able to fulfill me (I know because I've had them before, and they made me happy, but not compared to having God), so I definitely don't want to desire it more than I desire God. That definitely is something I need to work on...and actually might be why God isn't giving me what I want yet. He might need to make sure I don't desire it more than I desire Him (like the story of Abraham and Isaac). Not leaning on my own understanding, but it's just a posibility.
Again, please know that I'm not saying I'm right. I'm saying I'm confused and seeking God's wisdom (because a prayer for wisdom is definitely a prayer that He always says yes to). I think I'm just over complicating my mind right now. Thank you for bearing with me.
I'm not sure I can really answer your question, I just know that when I pray about my situation I usually basically say "If we are going to lose the house, I would really like for us to go to Tennessee, but I know that Your will is best, so however it turns out, I'll be okay with that."
I am not my own, I've surrendered to You, Lord.
I am not of this world, Heaven is my home.
- Chelsie Boyd (written by Jesse Shuster)
Please visit my friend Chelsie's site and listen to her beautiful Christian music: http://www.chelsieboyd.com/
Basically, my boyfriend broke up with me because he thinks we have to many differences. We're both saved, but we disagree about things like what churches are good, if we should homeschool our kids when we get married, etc and he thinks God will give me someone who is more like me. I disagree and think that those are issues will work out over time. I mean, I'm 18, it's probably going to be another 10 years before I have a school aged child...do I really need to marry someone based on what kind of schooling they'll let my kids do 10 years from now? In the bible, they didn't date and make sure they agreed on every issue. They just made sure they were both saved, got married, and made it work. So anyways, I'm praying first of all that my friendship with this guy will be okay, because we've been best friends long before we dated and I don't want to ruin that. I'm also praying that we can get married (this is where I don't know if I should be praying for that specifically or not), and I'm also praying for him to stay strong in God and follow His lead no matter what that is
Ok, now this thread makes a whole lot more sense to me.
Sweetie, you are only 18 years old and the Lord has plenty of time to answer your prayers. Sometimes it helps to break it all down, and read between all the lines and what I see here is a young girl heartbroken that her boyfriend broke up with her and what she really wants is to have him back and for them to ultimately get married. There's nothing wrong with praying that prayer, nothing at all. But I believe that God can and does break it down even further...what you ultimately want is to be in a healthy relationship with a Christian man who loves and honors you...some point in the future, you would like to get married, you would like to have children and raise them in a stable, Christian home. Yes, God wants those things for you as well.
It's just that, perhaps, it isn't the right time for that now because you still have some growing and developing to do. It could be that God wants to accomplish something in you (or your boyfriend) but it can only be done while you're apart. Just know that while you may feel that God isn't answering your prayers, I believe He is actively working on them right now!
For whatever reason, your ex-boyfriend is feeling like the two of you are too different. Fine. Maybe he needs some time to separate from you, think about everything and maybe he will come back more sure than ever. If the relationship resumes, trust me, it's MUCH better for him to be certain of how he feels for you and that your relationship is right for him now than to carry those doubts for years and into marriage and then eventually to decide it was never what he wanted and to leave you after several years of marriage and a couple of kids. It happens ALL the time. So for now, let this ex-boyfriend have his space, keep the friendship and continue praying for him.
It could also be that God has someone better in mind for you. I know that's not what you want to hear, but that is where your faith in Him has to come in. Sweetie, it's hard to see when you're only 18 but I can look back at my life now and remember the 2 or 3 men I prayed for God to let me marry. I see their lives now and I can honestly rejoice that God did not answer those prayers. Some of the men have gone down horrible paths...with divorces, several different jobs and then some of them have stable homes and families but God is no where to be found in their lives. And while my marriage now certainly has it's problems, overall, this is far and away better than what it would have been had I married one of those other guys.
Last summer my little girls painted and decorated these little "burden boxes" where they would write down their prayers to God on little, cut out pieces of paper. After their prayers were answered, they would move them from their "burden boxes" to their "Praise jars" that they had also decorated. It was such a cute idea that I decided to try it myself. I just used an old shoe box and put a few pressing concerns that I was praying about into the box, placed it under my bed and actually forgot about it for a while. One day I was cleaning my room and found it under my bed. I opened it and was absolutely amazed! Every prayer had been answered except one!! It was a real faith builder for me, maybe it would be for you too. :hug