Category Archives: Prayer

Prayer – the key to answered

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?

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Prayer – need positive answers to

Soldiers in all wars have repeatedly written to parents/wives/friends asking for mail.  The letters sustained them.  Sharpened awareness of their purpose in being far away.  Maintained a nexus with all they knew before the war.  Which they held firmly in mind and heart.  It didn’t matter that the letters wouldn’t reach them for weeks at a time.  Or that those mailed later came before those mailed earlier.  Mail constituted a link with the past to which they longed to return in the future.  The Homefront, 198.

Positively-answered prayer, like letters from home, creates comfort, security and hope in the believer.  It reminds us whose we are.  It reinforces our discipleship.  It keeps us immovable in commitment.  In addition, and equally important, once we know by experience that God can answer prayer because he HAS, we’ll maintain faith in him when he WON’T.  We’ll know that we can trust his infinite wisdom even when he doesn’t recognize our immediate need.