Answer me

Many times I have been asked to pray for people to be healed.  I can tell you that I suck in my breath, pray and hope – but every single time the person has not had a miraculous recovery. I even wonder why people ask me to pray.

I can imagine Elijah on Mount Carmel asking God to send fire from heaven to consume his sacrifice.  I do not think the challenge was all that big to him. The fact that he doused the sacrifice and the entire altar with water showed that he believed God was God and could definitely light up the sacrifice from heaven.  But somewhere he had to be hoping that him and God were in good standing together and that there was nothing (sin) between them.  Elijah needed God to respond. 

He needed God to respond because if He did not, Elijah would have been dead.  Instead of bringing that up, Elijah decides to go after God’s honour instead. Elijah new that God had to respond because the lives of the people were at stake.  Then he thought – well no – they had all kinds of miracles take place, story after story, and yet they rejected God to follow idols that allowed them to be selfish, perverse, and not be accountable to any god but themselves. 

Desperate hope made Elijah come and kneel before God, call Him by the title used by people of Israel and he asked for two things – for God to be glorified and he would be acknowledged as a servant of God.  Best kind of prayer that one could hope God would respond to. 

I have started to pray that way too – God be glorified by doing the miraculous when it comes to praying for a healing.  Still nothing has happened, but I keep hoping because that is what hope does.

At the time of the offering of the oblation, the prophet Elijah came near and said, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your bidding.  Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” – 1 Kings 18:36-37

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Courage to pray

When we look at the infinite distance we know exists between Creator and His creation, especially in light of a holy God and sinful people, we could imagine that it would be vanity and impious that any request of ours could be heard or that He could be induced to notice it with a reply. However, God has asked us to talk to Him and tell Him of our needs and He has assured us of an answer to our prayer.

So when we see David pray, he shares with us his prayer request but he also tells us in quite a bit of detail the words God uses to respond to Him and the promise that He has given him.  Because of the promise given by God, David being encouraged, found in his heart this prayer – something to great to beg for, but not too great for God to give. Many of us come in prayer to seek, but it must not only be in our mouths, but also in our hearts and that heart needs to be poured out before God.  Our faith and hope are built on the honour of God keeping His promise.

Prayer, minus the elegant tongue or even scripture memorization, demands a sincere heart – one that utters His name in child-like trust desiring no one but Him. God wants to respond immediately to a heart like this – be our security, hope, strength, joy, and supply.  

Such a prayer means that the heart has been renewed for such prayer could never come from a dead, corrupt or stony heart.  If you can pray from your heart, never doubt your relationship with God – you are both in love with each other.  If you are only able to whisper His name, share your heart in weak, feeble and fragmentary words, and you are apprehensive that maybe such a poor, broken prayer cannot be accepted, know that it is not your words, but the desire of your soul that has come before God.  Hope as long as you can, pray, for none who pray believing in the name of Jesus, will be rejected.

For you, O Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, have made this revelation to your servant, saying, “I will build you a house’; therefore your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to you. – 2 Samuel 7:27

Call on Me

Psalm 50 is about God holding people in court, on trial for insulting Him, and it is in that context that He is offering them hope.

I am not sure just what a day of trouble looks for you, but for me it cannot get much worse than being in God’s presence and on trial.

Basically, we are talking about prayer and the worship of our heart – something God desires more than anything else.

When we pray, God answers and brings Him glory. It shows that He is a reality to us.  There is in a sense a spiritual connection that is made.

Prayer is filled with a manifest hope in God exhibiting a clinging affection to Him and a sure confidence.

 The law brings us into bondage, but grace proclaims hope.

Even so with this promise – we need to be patient. It might seem that God has ignored us or that we have to take up the case ourselves – but the one who feeds the sparrows will provide everything we need. Hope – and in the arms of faith as we are in our sea of trouble – God will deliver us.

Our emotions can become waves of resentment and fear for the future – in those moments life seems darker as the storm rages on and on.  Even so – we must remember that the only secure place to put our hope is in the character of God. Our breath prayer needs to sound like this – “my hope is in You and I hope in Your unfailing love.

Robinson Crusoe has been wrecked. He is left in the desert island all alone. His case is a very pitiable one. He goes to his bed, and he is smitten with fever. This fever lasts upon him long, and he has no one to wait upon him—none even to bring him a drink of cold water. He is ready to perish. He had been accustomed to sin, and had all the vices of a sailor; but his hard case brought him to think. He opens a Bible which he finds in his chest, and he lights upon this passage, “Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” That night he prayed for the first time in his life, and ever after there was in him a hope in God, which marked the birth of the heavenly life. (favorite portion of Charles Spurgeon’s)

 

Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.  Psalm 50:15

All My Hope On God Is Founded

Our hope

Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. – Romans 12:12

In our anticipation of the second coming of Jesus we need His own advice to pray always and to hope.  This is our attitude and our posture while we wait.  Paul echos Jesus comments and reminds us that with the approaching second coming there will be persecution.  Jesus was concerned knowing the enormous challenges that His disciples would face in the days leading to His trial and crucifixion, but it was His message to them as well that if they persecuted Him, they would do the same to them.  They would be opposed and marginalized – tempted to lose hope.

Jesus even wondered at the end of His parable of the judge whether He would find anyone with faith – in other words, anyone who had not given up hope and who continue to be persistent in prayer.

But our citizenship[a] is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. – Philippians 3:20

Considering that our citizenship is in heaven and that is where we will finally fit in – we know this world is not our home.  We are strangers longing for home. Our hope is not in social programs, or politics – our hope is in the second coming of Jesus.  To come and make all things new, to put an end to sin and death, for a glorified body rid of sickness and decay – our hope is to see Jesus.

Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart.  He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people.  In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, “Grant me justice against my opponent.’  For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, “Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone,  yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’ ”  And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says.  And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them?  I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” – Luke 18:1-8

OUR HOPE (O GOD, OUR HELP) – Nicole Elsey/Robert Sterling

Our Hope