The BATTLE PLAN for PRAYER

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1 The BATTLE PLAN fr PRAYER 8 WHAT ARE GOD S ANSWERS TO PRAYER? I sught the Lrd, and He answered me. (Ps. 34: 4) When I needed the Lrd, I lked fr Him; I called ut t Him, and He heard me and respnded. He came and rescued me frm everything that made me s afraid. (Psalms 34:4 VOC) Gd answers prayer. That s nt just a slgan [phrase r catchwrd]. Everyne wh asks receives, Jesus said (Matt. 7: 8). But even as a lving father filters [t act as a filter fr] the requests f his children, Gd cnsiders ur requests thrugh the lens f His perfect will. Often He respnds with smething that will prve t be far better than what we d been wanting. But He des answer. In His wn wise way. In rder t shw frth His glry. N gd thing des He withhld frm thse wh walk uprightly (Ps. 84: 11). He wh did nt spare His wn Sn, but delivered Him ver fr us all, hw will He nt als with Him freely give us all things? (Rm. 8: 32). In fact, what may surprise yu t knw is hw many f Gd s answers t prayer, when yu pull them ut and lk at them under better spiritual lighting, are a variatin f yes. But in general terms, His answers t prayer frm up under abut five different types. Let s lk at them. 1. Yes, immediately. Smetimes when we pray, ur request is exactly in line with His will, with His timing, and His answer arrives n the spt. The same day we pray it. But smetimes Gd s respnse is even quicker than that... when He says, befre they call, I will answer (Isa. 65: 24). Think f the servant f Abraham, when he was n missin t find a wife fr his master s sn Isaac. The man prayed that Gd wuld grant me success tday (Gen. 24: 12), hping fr a specific sign that wuld sn alert him t the right girl. Befre he had finished speaking (v. 15), a yung wman named Rebekah appeared. And in answer t his prayers, she ffered t water his camels. Later she wuld becme Isaac s belved wife.

2 What des that mean then? She likely started ut n her way t the well lng befre Abraham s servant had begun praying. And what s mre, the kind demeanr she displayed, which verified what he d cme lking fr, had been develping ver her lifetime, already prepared fr this divine encunter. Gd is simply nt bund by time. He may start answering a request ten years befre yu pray it. He s likely already preparing things right nw fr prayers yu will ne day pray. It s always a jy t experience an immediate yes. 2. Yes, in due time. A delay shuld nt be interpreted as a denial. If a nine-year-ld girl asks her mm fr a wedding dress she saw, the answer t her request might sund like a n. But it s actually mre f a Yes, I ll get yu a wedding dress, hney. But nt nw. Yu re nt ready fr it yet. Zechariah the priest had prayed many times fr a child in the earlier years f his life, when his wife cntinued t prve infertile. But the years had cme and the hpe had gne. The tw f them were nw bth ld, far past the seasn f childbearing. Yet ne day, while serving in the temple, Zechariah received the stunning annuncement that yur petitin has been heard, and yur wife Elizabeth will bear yu a sn (Luke 1: 13). It may have been decades since the last time he d ffered that prayer. But in all thse years when he figured he d been tld n, Gd was wrking behind the scenes, waiting fr a mre perfect mment t unveil His amazing yes. Think abut Jseph in Egypt, languishing in prisn, falsely accused, wanting t be released. Think abut the cries f Israel thrughut the Old Testament, awaiting their prmised Messiah. Think abut us tday, eching the prayer f Jhn the apstle Cme, Lrd Jesus (Rev. 22: 20) desiring Gd t shw up in glry and make His final rescue, taking us t heaven with Him. Yes, He s ging t d that. But perhaps nt tday. What He ll give us tday, if we ll receive it, is the faith and patience t wait until the right time gets here. This is why we shuld never let yesterday s seemingly unanswered prayers stp us frm praying again tday and tmrrw with just as much freedm and faith. 3. Yes, s yu ll learn frm it. Smetimes Gd, deciding we might learn frm the lessn, des g ahead and give us what we ask realizing we dn t really knw what we re asking. The peple f Israel, embarrassed at nt having a king like the ther natins arund them, demanded that their leader Samuel give them ne. He tried t tell them what the Lrd had said t him hw a king wuld cnscript their

3 sns and daughters fr his whims and desires, tax the peple, and take frm them withut any justificatin. Then yu will cry ut in that day because f yur king whm yu have chsen fr yurselves, Samuel said (1 Sam. 8: 18). But, n! They prtested. Give us a king! And s Gd gave them King Saul wh made all f Gd s predictins cme true. We are much better ff trusting Him t give us what we need, when we need it, and when we re ready fr it. There are mments when, if He gave us what we asked fr, we wuld ne day regret it. We wuld thank Him fr saying n. We shuld learn t pray as Jesus did, freely adding t ur prayers, nevertheless nt My will, but Yurs, be dne (Luke 22: 42 nkjv). 4. N, because yur heart s nt right. James said the reasn fr a delay in Gd s answer is nt always simply a timing issue. Smetimes yu ask and d nt receive, because yu ask with wrng mtives, s that yu may spend it n yur pleasures (James 4: 3). If lust, greed, bitterness, r pride is at the heart f a request, Gd may vet an answer in rder t guard us frm the hurt r idlatry that culd result frm the txic request. The first chapter f Prverbs says, They will call n me, but I will nt answer; they will seek me diligently but they will nt find me, because they hated knwledge and did nt chse the fear f the Lrd (vv ). Their attitude and behavir the true cnditin f their hearts std between their request fr help and its arrival. If they were ready t listen, hwever, if they wuld repent, the situatin culd be very different. Wise mthers and fathers will ften withhld a desired privilege in rder t get thrugh t their child s heart. They re nt saying n frever. But they realize their sn r daughter is nt in a psitin t appreciate the gift r handle it well. Receiving it wuld merely [simply] wrsen the situatin. And because Gd lves us, He may say n fr the same reasn. Remember, if it s nt Gd s will, yu wuldn t really want it, nt if yu knew all that He knws. 5. N, I ve gt a better plan. Smetimes we ask t small. Cnfined by ur limited knwledge, nt thinking utside what we ve already seen and experienced, we pray fr a handful when Gd wants t give us a huseful. The lame man wh encuntered Jesus at the pl f Bethesda, where the sick gathered in hpes f being healed in its mystical tide, wished fr sme way t be

4 taken dwn there when the water stirred. D yu wish t get well? Jesus asked (Jhn 5: 6), cutting t the chase. But all the man culd imagine needing was just sme chance t get int that pl ahead f the thers. Jesus said t Him, in s many wrds, Why dn t I just heal yu right here? Get up, pick up yur pallet and walk (v. 8). Gd decided t give the sick man mre than he d asked fr. Martha, upset at Jesus delay in arriving s He culd d smething abut Lazarus s illness, said t Him, Lrd, if Yu had been here, my brther wuld nt have died (Jhn 11: 21). But Jesus knew raising his friend frm the dead wuld be a far better answer and bring the Lrd even mre glry. In this situatin, His answer was technically a n, but it s hard nt t call it a supersized yes. An upgrade. We re allwed t pray big prayers, realizing that in asking fr things ver ur heads, Gd may just chse t ttally amaze us even further. That s why it s gd t pray, Lrd, wuld yu d mre than I can ask r imagine in this situatin? knwing that s exactly what He is able t d (Eph. 3: 20 niv). Obviusly, peple can die whm yu ve prayed wuld be healed. The jb yu want can pass yu by. Yur desire t marry smene r have kids may never cme t fruitin. Until an answer is final, keep asking in faith. But if the final is nt what yu hped, yu can trust that Gd s Spirit will sustain yu, and He is benevlent [characterized by r expressing gdwill r kindly feeling; desiring t help thers; charitable] in His mniscience. He is always wrking all things tgether fr gd t thse that lve Him (Rm. 8: 28). Yu can ask and knw with ttal cnfidence He will prvide exactly what is needed. But dn t frget that many times the nly reasn why we dn t have smething frm Him is because we never asked in the first place (James 4: 2). Even if Gd said n r nt yet 50 percent f the time, we shuld nt let that stp us frm asking and hearing a yes with all the rest! PRAY: Father, my default has been t think Yu prbably weren t listening. And even if Yu were, Yu d prbably say n. I bw befre Yu tday mre cnvinced than ever that I am in wise, lving, caring, pwerful hands. Cnvinced that I can trust Yu. Cnvinced that every n is in sme way an even better yes. Yu said Yu withhld n gd thing frm thse wh lve Yu. Thank Yu fr letting me ask, and thank Yu fr letting me knw that Yur desire is truly fr my ultimate gd. May

5 I trust Yu even mre and pray with even greater faith knwing Yu want t be glrified thrugh my answered prayers. In Jesus name, amen. HOMEWORK: a lving father filters the requests f his children the lens f His perfect will Christ Jesus.] [In ther wrd, we are the righteusness f Gd in

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7 us a huseful we pray fr a handful when Gd wants t give

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