February 6th – When God Says ‘No’

Nothing gives Christians so many things to bother about as the subject of prayer. So let’s come clean and admit that real praying is not easy. Only the self-satisfied find praying easy. In fact, Jesus once told a story about a very religious man who prayed ‘ to himself!’. His prayers were merely sops to feed his self-righteousness. By the way, we do have to beware of thanking God that we are not like that Pharisee, if you see what I mean.
I believe that God does hear and answer our prayers, but not necessarily the actual words we frame – more the true intents of our hearts. But even then God knows best. Billy Graham’s wife Ruth has said “God did not always answer my prayers. If he had I would have married the wrong man … several times over …”
All good parents say ‘No’ to their children when they are pleading for things which would either hinder or harm them. I have to add, that God has often said ‘No’ to some of my most fervent prayers. I lived to thank God! Fervent and heated sincerity can be wrong. We are all grateful to God that he often turns down our most heated prayers in order to provide something much better later. This is why all Christian prayer needs to seek the mind and will of God before, as well as during, prayer. The marvel and power of Jesus prayer was this. He knew what his Father willed, and he bent his will to it, even when everything in him cried out for another way. This is from Mark 14 v. 35-36:
Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father”, he said “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
A Prayer: O God, for whose salvation and peace the whole creation groans and travails together until now, help us to see Your will in calling men and women to obedience, not coercing them; in upholding justice and truth in all nations, however corrupt our nations be; in suffering the rejection of sinners, which must break your heart. Teach us to pray that Your will be done.
Now read II Corinthians 12: 1-10

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