Does God answer prayer today?
So many Christians today feel so removed from the Father of spirits, they are happy when things simply work out.
Whatever happened to the Biblical power of God, the mighty deeds?
Many of us are taught that we have a greater power, the simple power of truth, and that the mighty acts of God ended with the Apostles. We are quoted "when that which is perfect is come, that which is part shall be done away with. Then we are told that which is in part is the miracles, that which is perfect is the Word of God.
Thus, when the Word of God was fully given, the miracles ceased.
Thus it cannot be expected that God will answer prayers in an obvious way.
So we are told that we must live in blind faith and miracles, trusting that God loves us, that we have the truth, even when our spiritually neutered walk bears no power.
Look at 2 Tim. 1-5: "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
"For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
"Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
"Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
"Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."
These which deny the power of godliness we are to "turn away from."
We are not to argue with, reason with, accommodate, or "agree to disagree."
We are to simply "turn away from," to go about our own business.
Eph. 5:1: "Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;"
The word "followers" is translated from a form of the Greek word "mimitos." Do you know what a "mimitos" really is? A "mimitos" is not just a follower, but an imitator. The word "dear" is from the Greek "agapetos," which means "beloved."
That is what God called Jesus when He said, "This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased."
We are to imitate God like the beloved children we are. We have the "beloved" part down pat. The trick is part two, "in whom God is well pleased."
God does not ignore His beloved children, nor does He leave us to our own devices.
1 Pet. 5:6-8: "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
"Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:"
We are to cast our care upon God, for He cares for us.
It is our adversary, Satan, that wants us weak and powerless. God cares for us and wants us to embrace His power. He wants us to do it as His beloved children.
Children get excited when they imitate their Daddy.
As Christians, we are not merely a "faith" or a "religion," we are children, beloved children, of Almighty God.
When we go to God as children, we should get excited about being with our Father, we should be imitators of our Father.
We should love our Father.
LOVE BY GIVING
How do we imitate our Father's love?
Well, how did God show love?
John 3:16: "16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Wow. God not only gave, He gave His only begotten son, Jesus. He loved us so much that He allowed Jesus, He asked Jesus, His dearest and truest, to die on Calvary to be our payment.
He gave Jesus so that we could have eternal life, so that we could be His beloved children.
Does He still love of? Of course.
So does He still want to give, to care for us? Of course.
If we are not getting prayers answered, it is not God Who has changed.
Gal. 2:20: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
Jesus as a beloved son imitated his Father. He, too, gave so that we could live. God gave His son, Jesus gave his self. Ironically, they both gave the same thing.
We are to follow Jesus, we are to imitate God, we are to walk in love.
We walk in love the way Jesus did, by giving ourselves.
Not on Calvary. Jesus did that.
But by ministering to the people God has called us to serve.
It is not just the pastor's job to minister. Not just the guy in the collar.
When a man with the ministry of a pastor is not around, it is our job to speak words and perform acts of comfort to the Body. When a teacher is not in the room, we are the teacher. When a man of faith to believe for healings is not around, we are that person. When an evangelist is nowhere to be seen, we are the witness to the unbelievers.
In our hand is the choice whether or not God's power will be shed to the people.
We give by service.
In Christ, neither the strictness of the law avails, nor the license of liberty, but faith of Christ which works by love.
Love is giving. When we love enough to minister in whatever ways we might, we are walking in love, and love energizes faith.
FAITH WORKETH BY LOVE
Gal. 5:6: "For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love."
Does God still answer prayers? Oh, yes He does.
James 1:2-8: "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
"Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
"But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
"But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
"For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
"A double minded man is unstable in all his ways."
We are to cast our cares on God, knowing He cares for us. We are to ask for wisdom in this troubling age.
But we are to ask in faith, unwavering.
Faith, friends, that is energized, that works, by love.
As we fulfill our place in the Body of Christ, ministering, giving, walking in love, our prayers are answered.
Occasionally, for reasons that God has given others to decide, our prayers are not answered as we hoped. This is especially true regarding the health and state of those we love, but to whom God has honored freedom of will.
But in our own walk, we can expect our prayers, whether they are practicalities of our cares, or prayers of love for those in our care, to be answered with power.
Mark 11:22-24: “ And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.
“For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
“Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”
The first thing Jesus says in these three verses is “Have faith in God.”
Of course, you will want to read the section in its entirety for a better grasp of context.
But in this vital summary, the first point Jesus makes is “Have faith in God.”
He does NOT say, “Have faith in the power God has given you.” Jesus said, “Have faith in God.”
To have faith, which is to have trust and an expectation of trustworthiness, you must first have something God has told you to cling onto. To have faith in God is to trust what God has told you and to act on it.
In the context of trusting God, therefore in the context of God telling someone that something is available, you see the second two verses here.
First, that someone who, in the context of trusting something God has told them, will say unto a mountain Jesus could see, “Go take a leap,” and it will.
Each time in the Gospels this account is recorded, it is said to be in the context of faith.
It is not some power we all have inside us, it is the response of material matter to supernatural faith in the powerful Word, the irresistible promises, of God.
Believing by its very nature only works for those who believe in what is true, which is the Word of God, which is quick (alive,) and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword.
Therefore, whatsoever ask in prayer, in the context of believing what God has said, you shall definitely have whatsoever you ask.
Where do we get revelation of God’s Word?
From Scripture, through word of wisdom, through word of knowledge, or through another who knows the same.
Have faith in God.
Mark 16:17-19: "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
"They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
"So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God."
This is the last thing Jesus said before going to sit at the Father's right hand. We should think it is important.
Are we to walk in this power?
Casting out devils. Laying hands on the sick so that they will recover. Protected from accidental poisonings, such as by snakebite.
A Wheeling believer was bit by a copperhead three times. God left the bites as proof she was bit, but the effects of the poison were reversed and healed as soon as she realized what was happening and prayed for herself.
They shall speak in tongues. What is this?
Jude 1:20: "But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,"
Today we are taught that tongues ended with the Apostles, or again with the completion of the Scriptures when Revelation was given.
But the early Church fathers recorded this used of "praying in holy spirit" (here in Jude translated as "praying in the Holy Ghost") well towards the end of the second century A.D.
They recorded the same for all these other miracles, even reporting believers who were raised from the dead as had been Dorcas and Paul.
As late as 177 AD, Irenaeus records in "Against Heresies":
"Christians still heal the blind, deaf, and chase away all sorts of demons. Occasionally the dead are raised...
"Some Christians do certainly and truly drive out devils, so that those who have thus been cleansed from evil spirits frequently both believe in Christ, and join themselves to the Church. Others have foreknowledge of things to come: they see visions, and utter prophetic expressions. Others still, heal the sick by laying their hands upon them, and they are made whole. Yea, moreover, as I have said, the dead even have been raised up, and remained among us for many years. The Church does not perform anything by means of angelic invocations, or incantations, or by any other wicked curious art; but, directing her prayers to the Lord...
"Those who are "perfect" are those who have received the Spirit of God, and who through the Spirit of God do speak in all languages, as he, Himself, used also to speak. In like manner we do also hear many brethren in the Church, who possess prophetic gifts, and who through the Spirit speak all kinds of languages, and bring to light for the general benefit the hidden things of men, and declare the mysteries of God, whom also the apostle terms "spiritual," they being spiritual because they partake of the Spirit, and seek spiritual understanding to become purely spiritual..."
Sounds like they were still doing all those things that were supposed to have ended with the Apostles chosen by Jesus, including "speaking in tongues," which is "praying in the holy spirit."
Rom. 8:26-28: "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
"And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
Here we see that the spirit helps our infirmities.
People assume when they see "infirmities" in Scripture that it means "illnesses," but it simply means "weaknesses" in Biblical usage.
Here the infirmity, the weakness, is readily explained: "for we know not what we should pray for as we ought."
Speaking by the spirit, speaking in tongues in a language put on our tongue by the gift of holy spirit in us, covers that we don't always know what to pray for.
If we are supposed to be using this style of prayer to cover our weakness, but refuse to, is it any wonder prayers are not answered like they should be?
Acts 2:1-4: "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
"And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
"And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
"And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."
This is when men were first given the gift called "holy spirit," the incorruptible seed of life fashioned in the form of what you might think of as "God's spiritual DNA."
They prayed in this spirit, manifested as "speaking in tongues."
For years, only those of Israel by birth or by becoming a proselyte were witnessed to, but Christ had told them to go speak his name to the nations. Jesus tapped Peter on the shoulder, so to speak, and sent him to witness to a Gentile.
Peter did it, but the "Apostles and brethren" freaked out and challenged his report of saved Gentiles.
Acts 11:1-3: "And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God.
"And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him,
"Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them."
Who challenged Peter? Not merely they that were the original apostles, but they that "were of the circumcision," they among the Christians that were of the traditions of the Jews, both apostles and brethren. He was challenged by them all.
Acts 11:15-19: "And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.
"Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.
"Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?
"When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life."
Who was Peter responding to? Apostles AND brethren. He said to the brethren as well as to the apostles, "God gave them the like gift as he did unto us... what was I, that I could withstand God?"
These Gentiles were proven to have the same gift by speaking in tongues. They had the same gift, not only as the apostles, but as the brethren.
We all have that prayer aid of speaking in tongues.
Since they were still speaking in tongues in the second century, it is no wonder their faith was built, it was no wonder they were still raising the dead.
There faith was built up, they were praying in pneuma hagion.
Do you have to speak in tongues to be saved?
Of course not. Romans 10:9 say that if you meet only two conditions, if you confess Jesus as Lord and if you believe in your heart God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.
Do you need to speak in tongues to have prayer answered?
Of course not. Speaking in tongues is a big help, in many different ways, but we are to pray with our understanding as well. If we choose not to speak in tongues, we should still pray.
You see, prayer is supplication. Technically asking your boss for a raise is a prayer.
Whenever we ask for things in faith, and we know from the Word of God it is available, God answers our prayers.
Of course, if we build up ourselves in faith via speaking in tongues, via “praying in pneuma hagion,” we are much more likely to have faith beefy enough to cast the mountains God has us deal with, literal or figurative.
However, we should not limit our conversation with the Father to supplications.
Asking a parent to meet our needs and our wants is a large part of growing up, and this is true spiritually.
We definitely do not want to forget gratitude. Thanking God for the many blessings is of totally vital importance to you. It reminds you Who is your sufficiency, plus it establishes our dependant relationship to God for us in our mind.
Of course, we are to pray for one another. We should try to have one another’s backs. We are to make supplications and requests for our brethren in Christ, for elders, for those we minister to.
We can pray for our unbelieving friends and loved ones as well. We cannot undo another’s unbelief in areas of their lives that are their own by right, but God can work miracles, and there are many things God does to help that they aren’t specifically undoing in their lives.
For ourselves, for the Church, for our loved ones and neighbors, for kings (political leaders,) we pray for in supplication.
But between God and His beloved children, some of the sweetest and dearest times are when we simply talk to God about...stuff.
What makes you think Father does not want to hear about what you like about your spouse or even your boyfriend or girlfriend?
What makes you think God feels He is wasting His time if you want to prattle on about your day in general to Him.
Are these not your cares?
Are you not supposed to cast these therefore onto Him?
Yes, nothing done in faith is off limits in your fellowship with our Father, nothing regarding life, and especially nothing that relates to our fellowship with Him.
For prayer, that is, our speaking upward to God, is a vital part of our walk and our stand as Christian believers.