Learn from the amazing life of George Muller. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”Philippians 4:6-7
“You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” James 4:2-4
David understood the truth of God’s Word. “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer.” Psalm 66:18-19
What about us? Do we know God has heard our prayers as David did? Read what David had to say in this Psalm and then let us consider what we now have in Jesus and how we pray.
“Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.” Psalm 25:4-5
“Good and upright is the LORD; therefore He instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble His way. All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.” Psalm 25: 8-10
“For your name’s sake, O LORD, pardon my guilt, for it is great. Who is the man who fears the LORD? Him will He instruct in the way that he should choose. His soul shall abide in well-being, and his offspring shall inherit the land. The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear Him, and He makes known to them His covenant. My eyes are ever toward the LORD, for He will pluck my feet out of the net.” Psalm 25:11-15
We know David was a sinner (Bathsheba and Uriah) but he understood repentance and God’s forgiveness. He was a man who feared the Lord. God even said He was a man after God’s own heart. What does this mean? I think it means David knew and trusted God and was doing His best to live that out. What we need is humility in relation to ourselves and confidence in relation to God.
Consider now what Jesus has provided for all who believe in Him as Lord and Saviour. Through His sacrifice, Jesus made it possible for our Heavenly Father to send the Holy Spirit to indwell our Spirit, to be our counsellor, teacher and comforter.
“The Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And He who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27
For us the Spirit is there revealing God’s will to us in the Scriptures and bringing God’s prayer concerns to life within us. He is searching our hearts and trying our ways so He can bring us to true repentance. He reveals the glory and goodness of God so that our prayers will be filled with praise and thanks.
We can be confident that God will hear when we come to Him. God answers every prayer that starts in heaven, every prayer born in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, every prayer based on a sure promise from His Word. As we pray to our Heavenly Father we need to acknowledge the Spirit and ask Him to help us to pray aright and to recognise His promptings that our prayers may be pleasing to our Heavenly Father and accomplish His purposes.
Dr Martin Luther King certainly knew He does. God speaks especially to His people but also to anyone in order to achieve His purposes in His world. Even kings such as Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:1-3) and Darius (Daniel 6:28), to name two kings of major empires, Babylon and Persia. Read one of Martin Luther’s encounters from his book Stride Toward Freedom (1958): “I got out of bed and began to walk the floor. Finally I went to the kitchen and heated a pot of coffee. I was ready to give up. With my cup of coffee sitting untouched before me I tried to think of a way to move out of the picture without appearing a coward. In this state of exhaustion, when my courage had all but gone, I decided to take my problem to God. With my head in my hands, I bowed over the kitchen table and prayed aloud. The words I spoke to God that midnight are still vivid in my memory. “I am here taking a stand for what I believe is right. But now I am afraid. The people are looking to me for leadership, and if I stand before them without strength and courage, they too will falter. I am at the end of my powers. I have nothing left. I’ve come to the point where I can’t face it alone.”
“At that moment I experienced the presence of the Divine as I had never experienced Him before. It seemed as though I could hear the quiet assurance of an inner voice saying: “Stand up for righteousness, stand up for truth; and God will be at your side forever.” Almost at once my fears began to go. My uncertainty disappeared. I was ready to face anything. “Three nights later, on January 30, I left home a little before seven to attend our Monday evening mass meeting at the First Baptist Church. A member of my congregation, Mrs. Mary Lucy Williams, had come to the parsonage to keep my wife company in my absence. After putting the baby to bed, Coretta and Mrs. Williams went to the living room to look at television. About nine-thirty they heard a noise in front that sounded as though someone had thrown a brick. In a matter of seconds an explosion rocked the house. A bomb had gone off on the porch.
“The sound was heard many blocks away, and word of the bombing reached the mass meeting almost instantly. Toward the close of the meeting, as I stood on the platform helping to take the collection, I noticed an usher rushing to give Ralph Abernathy a message. Abernathy turned and ran downstairs, soon to reappear with a worried look on his face. Several others rushed in and out of the church. People looked at me and then away; one or two seemed about to approach me and then changed their minds. An usher called me to the side of the platform, presumably to give me a message, but before I could get there S. S. Seay had sent him away. By now I was convinced that whatever had happened affected me. I called Ralph Abernathy, S. S. Seay, and E. N. French and asked them to tell me what was wrong. Ralph looked at Seay and French and then turned to me and said hesitantly “Your house has been bombed.” I asked if my wife and baby were all right. They said, “We are checking on that now.”
“Strangely enough, I accepted the word of the bombing calmly. My religious experience a few nights before had given me the strength to face it. I interrupted the collection and asked all present to give me their undivided attention. After telling them why I had to leave, I urged each person to go straight home after the meeting and adhere strictly to our philosophy of nonviolence. I admonished them not to become panicky and lose their heads. “Let us keep moving,” I urged them, “with the faith that what we are doing is right, and with the even greater faith that God is with us in the struggle.
Some of us will have an experience like that of Martin Luther particularly when we come before God in our weariness, confessing our inability to continue confronting a godless world. Sadly, much of the church no longer believes God answers prayer and is in total control of His universe. What about you?
It’s difficult to overstate how historic it is for a sitting Australian Prime Minister to wear his faith so unapologetically, and humbly bring the nation’s needs before Almighty God. With 21,000 people in attendance, Scott Morrison prayed publicly for Australia at the Hillsong Conference, the biggest annual Christian conference in the nation. Scott Morrison petitioned God to intervene for young people struggling with mental health, veterans, Indigenous Aussies, those with disabilities, and for a break to the drought. Take a listen and be encouraged as we were.