Our son Lance’s sermon 1-28-18 mentioned two answered prayers relating to expansion of the Gospel through Ignite, superb church-planting organization in Chicago. That reminded me of Ezra 8:21-23. Ezra led his entourage of post-exilic Jews from Babylon to Jerusalem. His faith in God’s protection led him to forego a government military escort. That decision led to anxiety as the day of departure neared. A four month journey of several hundred miles separated departure from arrival. The crisis sent the expatriates to fasting and prayer. Since restoring the exiles to Israel had been God’s promise through Jeremiah, Ezra led the people to seek God’s favor on their journey. He granted their prayer.
That text surfaces the key to answered prayer. If what we seek from God increases his sovereign will, and our fruitfulness serving it, he answers. If it simply increases our comfort, fame, reputation or wealth, God isn’t and won’t feel obligated. That’s a condition we often overlook when reading the Master’s words about prayer in John 13-16.
When our request serves a Kingdom-purpose, God answers. Guaranteed. No one excels God’s interest in spreading the Gospel. And no one is less interested in our personal ambitions and goals. Do our prayers focus more on what we want for God’s church, or what he intends? Are we more interested in maximum Spirit-directed kingdom growth or our own role in a church brotherhood?
Check out my E-books and website at: www.smashwords.com/profile/view/virgh; www.uglydogpro.com
Books at: www.createspace.com. (Go to search, dropdown to store, Virg Hurley.)
Apologetics book: Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1
Books also at www.amazon.com (Virgil Hurley & Virg Hurley)
The Parables of Jesus at www.createspace.com/7164741
Gift of the GIVER:Gifts for the GIVER, Vol. 2 at www.createspace.com/7551153
Their Own Best Defense, Vol. 2, Part 2 at www.createspace.com/7446349