“Faith Stays! Bold Humility”, Scripture, Notes, and Prayer from L.Willows

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Faith Stays! Bold Humility from L.Willows

My Pastor, during our fellowship meeting this week concerning answered prayers, said, “It is nice to have answered prayer. It is nice to ride the wave as long as you can but also good to see the pain of it and see what it feels like to see Jesus there and see what it feels like to have his love there. That is more. It requires humility to stay in the corner station with Jesus even when he is silent. Faith stays! He may not be speaking but He is always listening.” (Pastor Tom Holliday, Alexandria Presbyterian Church)

Sometimes our lives and the lives of those around us become complicated. Things unforeseen to us happen. Life and the unexpected begins to call again. Perhaps something that you felt was certain has been “taken away” or a prayer that you have been faithfully persisting seems left unanswered. Here, he is saying is ground for fertile faith. Here is where we really find our hearts with Jesus and have a chance to feel and know his love.

When we don’t get what we want, our hearts start to measure the distance between the longing and what it will take to find peace.

The next thing that my Pastor said was that “It requires humility to stay in the corner station with Jesus even when he is silent.”

Now I am stepping back from that a bit and asking myself if I really had any humility, to begin with. Of course, I assumed that I did but what if I didn’t? If part of me felt regret about unanswered prayer, or part even pitied myself for the loss of what I did not receive that was a form of turning away from that “corner station” with Jesus when he is silent.

It can look lots of ways:
+I could be silent myself and just stop praying.
+I could be silent myself by becoming “too busy” for God.
+I could turn away by deciding that I want to explore ‘alternative ways’ of getting what I want.
+I could ‘resist’ by pretending that I just don’t care anymore and close up my heart.
+I could rebel and shut down my “feelings” for The Lord.
+I can leave in many ways.

But we need to go the distance, we need to stay in that corner station with Jesus. We need to have the courage to stay! Be stronger than our fears. Be larger than closing our hearts. Ask the Holy Spirit to give us the strength to have more faith and deepen our strength.

We need to dig in the most when we want to leave or at least when our “hope does”. Our hope sometimes feels like it wants to just let go and walk away. That is when we need to hold fast and remember the love that Jesus has for us, how much he held on for us! We can ask for help. We can say, “Lord, help me” when we feel like we are weakening. It works.

The Humility that staying requires is filled with surrender. It asks us to face our hearts boldly and take risks. It asks us to be strong and dig into faith.

Humility is not something that belongs to a weak character,  it is a bold strength. It comes from shedding what is not true about ourselves. We are not what is apart from God. We are not our feelings, our doubts, our fears or our flights and losses. Most especially we are not our desire to control outcomes. That is a fantasy of our minds!

The Humility that staying requires is the welcome mat before the doorway to Faith. It is what we stand upon when we knock at the door and say, “Lord, help me.”

I am so grateful for the lesson that was presented. I needed to take a second look at the status, or what the “corner station” of my own humility was. Do I need to keep refreshing this? Is humility something that we need to “shake out” on a regular basis just like the welcome mats at a doorway that gets dusty? Or even very heavy laden with the weight of what we don’t realize we have put on it?

If it is before the door to Christ, I would wish that this precious entry be the fabric of my greatest treasure, pure love woven and grounded in a faith fibered with his word, his truth and God’s promises of His Goodness and eternal assurance of abiding Presence.

© 2019 Linda Willows

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

2 Timothy 1:12 “For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.”

 Isaiah 43:19 “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

Job 42:2 “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”

Genesis 28:15 “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

“The Secrets of Answered Prayer”, by Dr. John F. Walvoord

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Does God Let Your Prayers Go Unanswered?

by John F. Walvoord
Dr. Walvoord, one of evangelicalism’s most prominent 20th-century leaders, was a man of remarkable depth and breadth. Though best known for his encyclopedic grasp of Bible prophecy, he was also a man who understood and taught the core of Christian theology with unusual clarity and conviction. For further information discover walvoord.com

In my fifty years of leadership and teaching at Dallas Theological Seminary, I saw many dramatic answers to prayer. But I have also seen many of my prayers go unanswered. The answered prayers have built my faith, strengthened my walk with God, and given me hope in the midst of perplexing problems. But the silence of God creates tension for me. I find God’s silence difficult or sometimes impossible to explain.

Is God Really Silent?

Because of this tension, I have done a great deal of thinking and a great deal of Scripture-searching. I want to know why the same God who miraculously supplies a faculty member to the Seminary allows the family of another faculty member to experience grief and tragedy in the midst of our prayers to the contrary. I want to know why some of our needs are met so miraculously while other needs are seemingly ignored.

In the midst of these questions I remain firmly convinced that God answers prayer. This is my testimony and yours. But all of us have also experienced the silence of God. We have echoed the experience of Habakkuk, “How long, 0 Lord, will I call for help, And Thou wilt not hear?” (Hab. 1:2).* We share David’s prophetic anticipation of the experience of Christ, “O my God, I cry by day, but Thou dost not answer; And by night, but I have no rest” (Ps. 22:2).

The Secret of Answered Prayer

What is the secret of answered prayer? Why are some prayers unanswered? I find my answers to those perplexing questions in the Bible. The same Scriptures that assure us God will answer prayer also explain why some of our prayers are seemingly unanswered. These passages have taught me to ask four basic questions about my prayers.

Have you prayed? The first and fundamental principle of answered prayer is faithfulness in prayer itself. Paul urged the Thessalonians, “pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:17-18). Paul exhorted the Ephesians, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” (Eph. 6:18a). Christ assured His disciples, “Ask and it will be given you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matt. 7:7-8).

Faithful continued prayer is one key to answered prayer. As James expresses it, “You do not have, because you do not ask God” (James 4:2b). In the words of
“What a Friend We Have in Jesus”:

O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.

If we expect God to answer, we must be faithful in prayer. Yet there is also the wonderful principle of grace that enables God to give us more than we ask. Countless blessings are showered on the Christian every day. Paul expressed this, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Eph. 3:20). But it all begins with faithful prayer.

Have you prayed according to the will of God? Again and again in the Bible the truth is emphasized that prayer must be according to God’s will. Prayer is not a means for us to persuade a reluctant God to do something which is against His better judgment. Prayer, rather is coming to God for the fulfillment of His will, coming to a God who delights to answer prayer.

Praying in the will of God means that the prayer must be in harmony with what God has revealed to be His plan for the world. Our petitions must be in harmony with God’s holy and righteous character. What we desire from God must be to the best interest of ourselves and others, even though we may not always know what is ultimately best.

If we pray in the will of God, we can be sure that God will answer. The Apostle John wrote, “We have this assurance in approaching God, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us —whatever we ask — we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15).

These are great promises. In prayer we can approach God with complete assurance of His ability to answer us. There is no limit to what we can ask, if it is according to His will.

John goes on to say that there are prayer requests that God cannot answer because they are not according to His will and not for our best interest (1 John 5:16). James expressed it, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:3).

Selfish prayers will not be honored by God. Prayer is God’s appointed means to receive what is best for us and others and to realize what Paul called “what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Rom. 12:2b). But what infinite power and possibilities there are in prayer that is according to the will of God.

Is it God’s time to answer your prayers? Many times in the experience of those who pray faithfully, God does not say, “No,” but, “Wait.”

There is a proper timing for answered prayer.

Sometimes God needs to wait until we are ready for the answer, or perhaps others need to be made ready. Sometimes a delay is necessary to fit into God’s overall program. Daniel learned that lesson.

For sixty years Daniel prayed for the return of Israel to Jerusalem, for the rebuilding of the city of God which lay in ruins. It seemed that there was no answer from God. Then Daniel discovered the word of the Lord to Jeremiah, which had said that there would be a wait of seventy years before the captives of Israel could return to their city (Jer. 29:10). With this information, Daniel went to the Lord in fervent prayer. His prayer is one of the great prayers of Scripture (Dan. 9:3-19).

When Daniel began to pray, about sixty-eight of the seventy years had already passed. In answer to Daniel’s prayer — and in keeping with God’s timetable — the Book of Ezra records the return of Israel to its ancient land and capital city. So delay in answering prayer does not mean that God has not heard.

I know a godly Christian family that had a wayward son. For many years they prayed for that boy, but there was no answer. Long after the parents had gone to glory, God wonderfully touched that son and restored him to Himself.

The prayers were answered, but in God’s time. God is never late and never early in answering prayer.

Is Your Prayer to the Glory Of God? The most searching question we face in prayer is whether our petition is for our own selfish interest, pride, or attainment, or whether it is really to the glory of God. Answers to Is prayer must always honor God and bring glory to Him. This is one reason prayer must be offered in the name of Christ. Christ assured His disciples, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you… . the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name” (John 15:7, 16b; cf. John 14:13-14).

God delights in honoring His Son. He loves to recognize what His Son has done on the cross to open the floodtides of grace for the believer. Prayer that is offered in the name of Christ and to the glory of Christ is prayer that God can answer. Praying in the name of Christ is a recognition of His infinite person, His deity and majesty. It is recognition of His power to do anything He wills to do. It is recognition of His grace that makes it possible for Him to answer the prayers of imperfect believers. Answered prayer also honors God’s promised word, for God cannot lie.

But prayer which glorifies God requires that the person who prays be one whom God delights to honor. We must do some heart-searching to be sure that there is no hindering sin in our lives.

As the Psalmist prayed, “Search me, 0 God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way” (Ps. 139:23-24).

As the Psalmist expressed it elsewhere, “If I regard wickedness in my heart, The Lord will not hear” (Ps. 66:18). The Psalmist goes on, however, with the reassuring word, “But certainly God has heard; He has given heed to the voice of my prayer” (Ps. 66:19).

Answered Prayer Is Not a Reward for Perfection!

Prayer is not a reward for perfection, but rather is God honoring His servants who earnestly seek to please Him. James writes, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16b). John expressed it, “Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him” (1 John 3:21-22).

God has promised to answer prayer according to His marvelous grace, according to His infinite power, and in keeping with His infinite love and faithfulness. When prayers seem to be unanswered, we must first ask ourselves if we have met the four conditions for answered prayer. Then we can continue to be faithful in prayer. Our attitude can be one of implicit confidence that He “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Eph. 3:20).

As we praise Him for His faithfulness, seek His will and glory, pray faithfully, and wait patiently until God’s time, He will answer us.