Standing on God's Promises Part 2
Last month, I began a series on the promises of God, the thousands of which are found in the Scriptures and encouraged my readers to stand steadfastly on such promises as our sure foundation and hope. I also shared some of my favourite promises and a short back story on each. I was extremely heartened to receive encouraging feedback from that blog post,with a number of my readers sharing it with others whom they believed would also be helped and strengthened by it.
We are living in end times. You don't need to be a prophet or a bible scholar who studies Eschatology to know this. Any true, discerning Christian who sincerely follows the Lord and aims to please Him in every facet of their life and isn't living as a hermit on a deserted island, is experiencing
an ever increasing awareness that to be a true Christian in the West today, is difficult.
True Christians know that "it rains on the just and the unjust"; that we are not immune to troubles, trials, sickness, death,divorce,disease and so on. These, among others, are the effects of the Fall, when sin entered the world in the garden of Eden. Yet Jesus Himself said that "You WILL have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world."
To help combat these evils, we have God's Word and Prayer, our two offensive weapons against Satan and his schemes.
I'd like to share three more of my favourite promises with you today- ones that specifically talk on prayer and its power and hope that you too, can stand with confidence on these promises and experience breakthrough in your circumstances as a result of your prayer life.
James 5:16 "The effective,fervent prayer of the righteous avails much."
We need to be reminded that our prayers have power!
Lucado says 'Prayer is not the last resort; it is the first step.' How often though, do we go to the Lord last after talking with others or trying to work things out on our own first?
By reading this translation,you could quickly deduce that there can be prayers which are ineffective and lack lustre then. How can our prayers be both effective= successful/productive/fruitful/functional/powerful and fervent= passionate/hot/burning/glowing?
Effective and Fervent are actually translated from a single Greek word- energo a cousin to our word for energy. Interesting!
We also need to read more than verse 16 to gain better insight into what James is saying here.
"Elijah was a man with a nature like ours and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again and the heaven gave rain and the earth produced its fruit." (vv 17-18 emphasis mine)
900 years later, James is using in his book Elijah's example as a role model for effective, fervent prayer. His prayers were heard by God because he prayed earnestly and radically and relied totally on the Lord for the outcome. AND- he was an ordinary person, just like the rest of us!
God hears our prayers as quickly as they are offered.Why? Because they come from His child.(Lucado)
God delights in and answers prayer. Of this you may be certain.
Matthew 11:28-30 "Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light."
We have not experienced the privilege the disciples had of walking with the Lord in the flesh when He was on this earth. However, we do have His Holy Spirit indwelling us 24/7. We now come to the Lord by His precious invitation through time spent in prayer and the Scriptures. He promises us His rest when we do. I think we have become far too busy for our own good. Being busy equates for many people as being productive when it is not necessarily the case. If we all spent less time in the areas that have no eternal value in order to carve out more time with the Lord, giving Him more of our time in order to hear what He longs to say and teach us, the more restful and stress -free we will become.
I know this to be true in my own life. Over the past 4 years or so, I have made deliberate decisions to say 'no' more often, be wiser in what I commit to and specifically spend more time with the Lord in prayer and Bible reading. It has certainly brought more peace and rest to my soul.
Romans 8:34 "Jesus, is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us."
I have lived long enough to understand that there are times when you need an extra boost of encouragement to keep going, regardless of how often you pray earnestly or study the scriptures fervently. I believe this promise from Paul's letter to the Romans is golden. He tells us plainly that the risen Jesus,who now sits at the right hand of the Father is praying for us! The Greek word in this verse that is translated 'interceding' is an uncompromising (stout) verb which implies the making of specific requests before someone. Intercessors bring passionate and specific requests before God. I know a couple of prayer intercessors and there have been times when I have sought them out to pray with me and on my behalf. They stand in the gap in a sense between themselves and the Father in heaven, pleading for God's intervention. Yet Jesus is doing the same. There would be no better prayer warrior or intercessor than the Lord Himself. What a most beautiful truth! Jesus is speaking directly to His Father on our behalf.
Where is Jesus right now? He is in His Father's presence,praying for us,praying for me, praying for YOU!
'When Jesus speaks, all of heaven listens.' (Lucado)