Weekly Devotional

Prayer Saves Lives

Are effective prayers answered?

Written by Lois on 25/04/2017

Be sure to pray that God will make a way for us to spread His message and explain the mystery of Christ... Please pray I will make the message as clear as possible.

Colossians 4:3-4 CEV

The Old and New Testaments have many illustrations of strong and effectual prayers. In John 17:24 Jesus prays: “Father, I want everyone You have given me to be with me, wherever I am. Then they will see the glory that You have given me, because You loved me before the world was created.”

In John chapter 17, Jesus prays for Himself, explaining exactly who He is. He continues to pray for His disciples and His followers (us). If we want an answer from God, wouldn’t this be the kind of prayer to send to Him? Ephesians 6:18-19 says, “Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit...Pray that I will be given the message to speak and that I may fearlessly explain the mystery about the good news.” Praying in the Spirit is surrendering to the power of the Holy Spirit: Romans 8:26-27 says, “...the Spirit is here to help us. For example, when we don’t know what to pray for, the Spirit prays for us in ways that cannot be put into words. All of our thoughts are known to God. He can understand what is in the mind of the Spirit, as the Spirit prays for God’s people.”

In Daniel 9:4-23, the prophet Daniel illustrates what an effectual prayer sounds like when he prays in the Spirit:

First, Daniel Offers Praise to God: “Our Lord, You are a great and fearsome God, and You faithfully keep Your agreement with those who love and obey You.” (Daniel 9:4) Daniel's example shows us how to begin prayer with praise to Jesus, even while we have a request or concern.

Second, Daniel confesses, repenting from His and Israel’s Sin: “But we have sinned terribly by rebelling against You and rejecting Your laws and teachings.” (Daniel 9:5) Confession is agreeing with God about our sin. Sin keeps us from “walking in the light” in fellowship with Him (1 John 1:7-9). Seeing things His way aligns us with Him as we admit He was right all along.

Third, Daniel prays in faith: “…Everything You do is right, our Lord…”

“Without faith no one can please God. We must believe that God is real and he rewards everyone who searches for Him.” (Hebrews 11:6) See how personal it is? All He does is right, and He rewards those who seek Him!

Fourth, Daniel petitions God to answer his prayer: “Lord God, I beg You to answer my prayers and bring honor to Yourself... Please show mercy to Your chosen city... Forgive us! Hurry and do something…” (9:17-19) This is God-centered prayer — Daniel knows that God’s answer to his request will honor Him, and that mercy towards His chosen city reflects on Him.

God answers in Daniel 9:20-23: “I was still confessing my sins and those of all Israel to the Lord my God...when Gabriel suddenly came flying in at the time of evening sacrifice…‘Daniel, I (Gabriel) am here to help you understand…God thinks highly of you, and at the very moment you (Daniel) started praying, I was sent to give you the answer.’”

Daniel was humble, but he expected an answer. He saw things God's way, even though doing so counted against him and his people. But he also knew God's promises to His people if they confess and seek Him.

How can you pray like Daniel? Here are some ideas:

  1. Align yourself with what God wants in the world. Jesus is the rightful sovereign of this whole earth, and He wants to rule it. That's the big plan, and you have a part in it. Not everyone has acknowledged Him as their ruler yet; but it's in their best interests to do so, because He loved them and gave Himself for them. His main purpose for leaving us here is to bring them all under His rule and protection from the penalty their sin deserves. Does your plan fit with the big plan?
  2. Consider God's greatness, His great love and mercy. Looking at how He has worked in the past, can He justly answer your prayer? Is it good for you and others? What changes to your request would make it better reflect His right to define what's best? Like Daniel's request, petitions that matter consider these two points first.
  3. Even if these two questions are answered, it's possible that the answer is "no" or "wait." Without knowing the rest of the story, Job couldn't understand why he suffered. (Job 7:20-21) Paul also had to be specifically told why he endured his "thorn." (2 Corinthians 12:7-10) There's even a picture in heaven of souls awaiting justice who are told to "wait" because a threshold has not yet been achieved. (Revelation 6:9-11)

It honors God to pray with every expectation that requests in His will are going to be answered. Do not be shamed into silence by the assumption that your requests are too small for His notice. (See Luke 12:32) Keep asking. Keep seeking. Keep knocking. (Luke 11:5-13) As your relationship with Him grows, like Daniel's did, He will bring you in line with His purposes and you'll see more and more of your bold prayers get answered in His timing.

Pray this week:

Father, would you help me understand this message about effective prayers for spreading the Gospel? In Jesus’ name. Amen

Do I really believe I should get an answer to my prayer?

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