Volume 37

E. Michal Gayer
Volume 37

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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.” (I John 5:14-16)

Prayer for Healing

Devotional TeachingsFrom time to time, probably most of us can identify with the Psalmist who cried out to God in the day of his trouble. He called upon Him with the assurance that He would respond saying, “Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble I will call upon You, for You will answer” (Psalm 86:6-7). We go through life and hit a barrier. We stumble or fall and cry out to God. All too often under those circumstances we run to God and enter into one-sided prayers filled with requests in order to attempt to confront the situation and have our needs met without giving much thought to the fact that God desires to speak to us even more than we desire to speak to Him.

While God, in His mercy and goodness, frequently acknowledges our one-sided appeals, prayer that is life changing and powerful flows from a two-way relationship in which we speak to God and He speaks to us.  God wants to communicate with each believer. He desires that we speak to Him and He delights in giving answers.  Isaiah 58:8-9 reflects this as it proclaims, “The glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’”

We hear a similar message in Jeremiah 33:1-3, which says, “Thus says the LORD… ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’” Jesus also spoke along this motif when He said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27). And John 16:13-15 records Jesus as saying, concerning the Holy Spirit, “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.” What an incredible privilege to talk to God, to be heard and to be answered by God.

Hebrews 11:6 states this solid truth, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” This verse is highlighting the fact that our relationship with our unseen God is a faith relationship. It is only by faith that we can relate to God in a manner that is pleasing to Him. As such, it should come as no great surprise that our communication with God, effective prayer, is likewise by faith. As a matter of fact, all potent prayer is activated by faith.

At this juncture, it would be helpful for us to remember that the basis of faith rests upon believing what God has already said concerning any matter. Faith is derived from the Word of God as Romans 10:17 reiterates, “…faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” When we pray, we are to ask in faith according to what we know about God and what we know about how He relates to people as revealed through His Word. The Word of God is an explanation, an instruction and a promise concerning how God has determined to function in the lives of people. As such it is an expression of His will. All of the truths spoken forth by God to prophets, priests, kings, and holy men of God, as recorded in the Bible, reflect His will for people. Faith derived from the hearing of God’s Word guides us in knowing how to pray and becomes the very foundation for prayer.

It may surprise some but the purpose of prayer is not to get God’s attention or to try to get God to do something which He has not already proclaimed in His Word. It is not about us trying to find the right words to beg or coerce God into doing something we desire. Effective prayer must be based on what we know from the Word of God and on what God has made provision to give or do. It is not to be based solely on our fears, needs, physical feelings or emotions. God will only do what He has said He will do and He will relate to people only in the manner He has revealed. To ask for anything outside of His will is futile; however, to ask according to His will can bring awesome results.

I John 5:14-16 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.” This powerful statement on prayer instructs us to ask of God according to His will. If we do that, we have the assurance that He hears us and if He hears us, we can be confident that He will grant those petitions. In essence prayer is appropriating from God what He has said He will give or do for us.

One major requirement in prayer has been given to us by Jesus when He told us as recorded in Mark 11: 22-24 to, “…Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will come to pass, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” The instructions to “not doubt in your heart”, “to believe that what you requested will come to pass” and to know that “whatever things you ask in prayer you must believe you receive them” can seem forbidding unless you understand that these verses all work in conjunction with the instruction to “ask according to the will of God.”

You see, when we ask according to God’s will, and then accept the reassurance that God has heard us as based on I John 5: 14-16, we know that if God has heard us, we have the petitions we asked, then it is possible for us to pray and not doubt in our heart. Only with the assurance from God’s Word can we believe that the thing we asked of God will be received. God has said, “For I am the LORD. I speak, and the word which I speak will come to pass…I will say the word and perform it,” says the Lord GOD’” (Ezekiel 12:25).  As we rely on God’s Word to guide our prayer life, we are able to believe we receive even before we experience the manifest reality of that request based on the integrity of God to perform His Word.

Notice that in the verses of Mark 11:22-24 there is no set specific time frame in which the answer will manifest. Sometimes the answer comes instantly and sometimes the answer comes over a period of time.  The imperative to “not doubt” and “believe that you will receive” when you asked “according to God’s will” must be maintained by faith over whatever period of time it takes for the manifestation to appear. If God has said in His Word that He will do something, we have a sound basis, after we have asked, to wait until He fulfills His Word to us.

When you are sick or experiencing serious discomfort of body or mind, waiting can be difficult. Maintaining a stance of faith can be seriously threatened by the symptoms of sickness. Nevertheless, that does not change God’s prayer instructions: (1) We are to pray according to His will, (2) not doubt that He will keep His Word to us (3) and believe we receive what He has spoken forth in His Word right then and there, even if we do not immediately experience it. We truly need to learn how to trust God in and through our prayer life.