Involved God

Posted by Pastor Greg Allen on June 17, 2008 under Ask the Pastor | Be the First to Comment

A visitor to our website writes:

Does God still answer prayers and get involved in situations in our daily lives?

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Dear friend,

Thank you for writing to our website and sending in a question.  I’m always gratified to learn that someone out there is sees our website and takes the time to write.  And the answer to your question is yes; God DOES still answer prayer, and is very much involved in the situations of people’s lives.

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The Bible teaches us that there is an important condition involved, before we have a right to expect God to hear us and answer our prayers.  We must have placed our trust in the sacrifice that His Son Jesus Christ has made for us on the cross; and we must have entered into a relationship with God through faith in Jesus.  The Bible says, “But as many as received Him [that is, Jesus], to them He [that is, God the Father] gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe on His [that is, Jesus'] name” (John 1:12).  I have talked to many people who were frustrated because they prayed, but it didn’t seem as if God was hearing them.  And that was because they hadn’t taken the first and most important step of coming to God through His Son.

You see; God is a holy God, and a barrier of sin stands between us and Him.  But God, in love, provided a way for that barrier of sin to be removed.  He sent His Son Jesus to take our sins upon Himself on the cross and pay the penalty for them.  Our sins are fully forgiven by God when we (1) acknowledge to Him that we are sinners, (2) believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for those sins, and (3) personally receive God’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ by faith.  Once we have done so, God gives us the right to be called His children.  And He is always glad to hear from His children and to answer their prayers to Him.

I sincerely hope that you have taken that first step, and have placed your trust in Jesus Christ.  I like to say that the first prayer that the Father wants to hear from us is the one in which we confess our sin to Him and place our trust in the cross of His Son Jesus.  If we’ve prayed that first prayer, we can trust Him to hear the others.  (And by the way; if you haven’t done so already, why not stop reading right now and pray that first, all-important prayer, and receive God’s forgiveness through Jesus?)

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Now; for those of us who have placed our trust in Jesus, and have entered into a relationship with God the Father through Him, the Bible teaches us that we have every right to bring our concerns to the Father and know that He hears them and answers them.  In fact, the Bible urges us to do so.  1 Peter 5:6-7 says, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”  Jesus promised His disciples that “whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:13-14).  To ask “in Jesus’ name” implies that we are praying our prayers as someone who has genuinely trusted Jesus as our Savior, and have sought to come to the Father only through Him.  Only those who have done so can expect to be heard by the Father.  Jesus told His disciples about the time when He would have purchased their forgiveness on the cross; and told them, “In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God” (John 16:26-27).

And there’s lots of other indications in the Bible that we who have trusted in Jesus and pray in His name–having become God’s children by faith–are heard by the Father.  Jesus once taught; “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.  Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent?  If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him” (Matthew 7:7-11).  Paul wrote, “What then shall we say to these things?  If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32).  1 John 5:14-15 says, “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, 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 the petitions that we have asked of Him.”

That last verse reminds me of something important.  One of the things we have to always be careful of is that our prayers are requests for of things that are in accordance with God’s will for us.  We cannot expect God to answer our prayers when we ask for sinful things; or ask for things out of a sinful motive.  The apostle James wrote, “Where do wars and fights come from among you?  Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?  You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.  You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:1-3).  It’s always important to check our motives when we come to the Father in prayer–making sure we’re truly praying as those who behave as His children; and in a way that would be in keeping with what it means to pray “in Jesus’ name”.

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One way I know that God answers prayer and is involved in the lives of His people is because I see Him do so all the time–both in my personal life, and in the life of my church family.  I am privileged to pastor a wonderful church that is very committed to the power of prayer.  Every Sunday, we have a major portion of our worship service devoted to bringing one another’s needs together before God in prayer.  And we constantly see amazing answers to those prayers.  It’s truly one of the highlights of our week as a church family to pray for one another and rejoice in God’s good answers.

We have found as a church family that He doesn’t always answer our prayers in the ways that we pray, though.  Sometimes we pray wrongly; or we pray with the wrong expectations.  Someone has wisely said that God answers our prayers in three ways (1) Yes; (2) No; and (3) Wait.  But we have always found that He does answer–and that His answers were always better than what it was that we were asking for.  He always knows what is best for us.  He always proves to us that He hears us when we pray when we sincerely seek Him through Jesus; and that He moves His mighty hand on our behalf whenever come to Him in faith.

In Jesus’ love,
Pastor Greg
Bethany Bible Church

(All Scripture quotes are taken from the New King James Version.)

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