The Pillar of Need – Asking the Father. Excerpt 7
When He delays
God sometimes deliberately delays the answer to prayer. There are reasons for this:
- Perhaps there is sin that we need to put away, or unhealthy habits that we need to change with God’s help.
- A prolonged period of waiting is an opportunity for God to work on our character. We may need to become more disciplined, more humble or more yielded to His will.
- Even as God is preparing the answer, He prepares us and makes us fit to receive the blessing. A blessing prematurely received can be an unbearable burden and even lead to falling away. For example, had Joseph been given his place of leadership immediately after he had seen those dreams, he might have reacted with pride. The existing strife in the family may have deepened and resulted in a permanent rupture of relationships. His lack of maturity at that point may have led to his downfall. So God chose a time when both he and his brothers were prepared for the promised blessing.
The Pillar of Need – Asking the Father. Excerpt 6
Waiting on God
“It is good to wait on God.” “God is good to those who wait on Him.” “Those who trust in Him will never be put to shame.” “Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings as eagles.” As we wait on Him, the sweetness of our fellowship grows. When we draw close to Him, we realize how powerful He is and see our problems in their true perspective. God loves those who will wait. When He makes us wait, it proves that He trusts us. Often the final blessing is greater than the one sought. Abraham longed for a son to carry on his family line and though he followed God whole-heartedly the answer was delayed. In the end God gave him the privilege of being the ancestor of the Messiah.
“The blessing of the Lord makes rich and He adds no sorrow to it.” In His time God will prepare a table in the presence of our enemies. The nations will tremble and be in awe at the abundant prosperity and restoration He provides for His people (Jeremiah 33).
The Pillar of Need – Asking the Father. Excerpt 5.
The peace of God guards our hearts and minds
When we have made our requests with thanksgiving, the peace of God keeps our hearts from failing and our minds from wavering.
Many Christians pray, but continue to suffer from inner turmoil. It is necessary that we learn to rest in His peace. We claim this ground i.e. the peace of God as we submit to His will, and stand steadfast refusing to be shaken: “O Lord, I surrender this matter to You whose name is Faithful and True, so I now ask for Your peace which can protect my heart and mind”.
When contrary winds blow in our direction we must keep looking firmly at Jesus and His words, refusing to be shaken. We must rebuke the storm from entering our hearts. As we practice doing this in various situations that disturb our minds, it becomes a habit. The rest of God enters our souls, and remaining in His peace becomes our normal experience. This stand destroys the enemy’s devices. “The peace of God will shortly crush Satan under your feet”.
The Pillar of Need – Asking the Father. Excerpt 4
Do not doubt
“When you ask, do not doubt…”
“He who doubts is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. Such a man should not expect anything from the Lord.”
James speaks of double-mindedness mainly in the context of seeking wisdom. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask God who gives generously without finding fault”. It is necessary to keep seeking God’s mind on the matters we pray for. We would like to do something or the other, but God may have a different plan. Once God’s mind is known on a matter, we need to stand steadfast in faith, never doubting. Where His will remains unclear, we may still trust His goodness. Many people are afflicted with double-mindedness. “Will God really do this for us? Has God forgotten His promises? Perhaps this is not His will after all”. We think God is fickle because we are. When such thoughts flood our minds we need to pray even more earnestly while standing firmly on the facts: God loves us and cares for us. He will never forsake us. Repent of your double-mindedness and pray specifically for the wisdom to be steadfast. Silence the enemy: “Get behind me in Jesus’ name”.
In prayer we should practice saying like David, “My heart is steadfast O God, my heart is steadfast.” “I have stilled and quieted my soul like a weaned child with its mother.”
The Pillar of Need – Asking the Father. Excerpt 3
This is a very important part of all prayer. In thanking God, as we make our requests, we are following the example of Jesus. Before feeding the five thousand and by the tomb of Lazrarus, Jesus is shown lifting His eyes heavenward in thanksgiving. “I thank You Father for You have heard me. I know that You always hear me.”
Thanksgiving lifts our spirits, causes confusion in the enemy’s camp and paves the way for God’s answer. Psalm 50 explains the benefits of giving thanks:
“Sacrifice thank offerings to God’
Fulfill your vows to the Most High.
Call upon me in the day of trouble
I will deliver you and you will honour Me.”
“He who sacrifices thank offerings honours Me
And he prepares the way
So that I may show him the salvation of God.”
Jehoshaphat defeated his powerful enemies by going into battle with priests singing: “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His mercy endures forever.” The enemy’s darts are neutralized, for thanksgiving is essentially an act of faith. It leads to his surrender and disgrace.
The Pillar of Need – Asking the Father. Excerpt 3
Be anxious about nothing
Our needs and circumstances can provoke anxiety and fear in us. When the future looms dark and foreboding, what shall we do? It is not sinful to wonder or even fear when things go wrong, yet we must remember that we call on the God of all hope. As God is sought in prayer, the fear in our hearts gives way to hope. We need to persist in prayer till we have stopped being anxious. We ought to pray each time fears arise. We must train ourselves not to yield to fear. When the struggle is too great, it is wise seek the help of a brother or sister to stand alongside us in prayer.
“Do not worry about tomorrow… Each day has enough worry of its own.” God gives us enough strength, enough grace and enough wisdom for today. We can tackle only one day at a time. The future is in God’s hands and for this reason alone we may be confident. Commit all your tomorrows to Him who is faithful to keep them and pray for today.
A contented, restful spirit is our basic right as children of the King. A flustered spirit and discontentment with God’s provision are signs of spiritual immaturity. All God’s blessings are forgotten, the lack is magnified. “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” When our prayers seem to go unanswered, we must remember that we have the great privilege of being His children. Each day He cares for us, protects us and provides for us. In view of God’s mercy and His many gifts, ought we to behave like spoilt children who throw tantrums in supermarkets when they do not get their way. How much better to be still, knowing that our Father loves us and will do what is best for us?
The Pillar of Need – Asking the Father. Excerpt 2
The Father likes us to ask. Some have suggested that bringing a shopping list to God is typical of a baby Christian while mature Christians are content to “seek His Kingdom.” Indeed Jesus said, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you.” But He also said, “Ask for it is the Father’s good pleasure to give…” There is nothing in the scripture to suggest that asking for our personal needs is a sign of spiritual immaturity. A Christian demonstrates his maturity by having his priorities aligned with God’s, not by denying his humanity. We deny ourselves by putting Him first, not by pretending to be superhuman. We all begin as spiritual babies who mainly care for their immediate earthly needs, but as we grow and mature we learn to go about our Father’s business.
Depending on God for our daily needs produces many spiritual benefits. Waiting on God and trusting Him when He delays purifies our motives in asking and strengthens spiritual character. Walking in obedience even while our earnest requests remain unanswered shows the world and the devil that we love Him for who He is, not for what He does. Receiving answers increases our joy as we experience the Father’s care. Jesus said, “Ask and you will receive that your joy may be full.” Once the asking and receiving from the Father ceases in a Christian’s life, the joy runs out. God wants our joy to overflow and become contagious even to the unbelieving world.
In this context it is important to understand what God expects of us when we come to Him with our petitions. What do we pray for? How do we ask and what should be our attitude while making requests and our response when our desperate cries seem to go unheeded? Paul teaches, “Do not be anxious for anything, but with prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God which passes all human understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”