19-02-2019 TWO PRAYERS THE
LORD ALWAYS ANSWERS
By John Aldworth
Prayer is not an easy thing. My God and Saviour is not like a Coke machine – insert a coin (or a prayer in the Lord’s case) and, hey presto, out pops a bottle. Often prayers seeking miraculous intervention go unanswered. For example, Jesus healed the paralysed in his ministry on earth but today those crippled by stroke seem to pray in vain for full and immediate recovery. Believers suffering serious loss, such as that of a loved one, a job, or financial disaster do indeed receive strength to cope, grace to help and peace in their heart when they pray but rarely experience sudden, miraculous deliverance from all their troubles.
Why? The reason, in a nutshell, is that we live in the age of this ‘present evil world’ (Galatians 1:4) and not the wonderful Day of Christ which will come shortly. Right now, as the Apostle John wrote, ‘We know we are of God and the whole world lieth in wickedness’. It is wicked because, as Jesus said, the ‘ruler of this world’ is himself wicked. And you don’t need me to tell who that is. The Apostle Paul called him ‘the god of this world’ and said he worked to ‘blind the minds of them which believe not lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ who is the image of God should shine unto them’ (2 Corinthians 4:4). In Ephesians 2:2 he calls him ‘the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience’.
Right now God is not doing outward miracles as He did when He walked this earth as Jesus. Instead He is acting in grace and dispensing mercy. Mercy is sparing us punishment we deserve for our misdeeds while grace is freely giving us his forgiveness and love, spiritual riches we do not deserve. It is been well said that in the present dispensation of grace if God cannot act in grace He will not act all. So much so that as the Lord told Paul, ‘My grace is (always) sufficient for thee’ and, as the apostle himself wrote, ‘… God is faithful and, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able but will with the temptation (trial) also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it’ (1 Corinthians 10:13).
However, things will be very different in the Day of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:7, Philippians 1:6, 10, 2:16). The Lord Jesus called this day ‘the world to come’ and said it would be a time when the ‘kingdom of heaven’ ruled the world from on high. In that day God promises something even better than instant answers to prayer:
And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking I will hear (Isaiah 65:24).
But that is for the future. In the present dispensation many of our prayers seem to go unanswered – at least for now. However, I firmly believe that all prayers prayed according to his will be answered eventually. This will happen in his time, either in this life or that which is to come, the time when we are resurrected to live again on earth in the Day of Christ and serve as part of his heavenly government (2 Timothy 1:11-12). In the meantime as we look for his wonderful kingdom, in which he will rule the world from heaven, (1 Timothy 6:14-15), there seem to be two prayers the Lord always answers.
The prayer for wisdom and truth
The first is the prayer to be shown more truth about the one true God, ‘the great God and our Saviour Jesus’ who will shortly show Himself to the world as such (Titus 2:13). God wants you and I to prayer this prayer, as he says in Jeremiah 33:3:
Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.
Other translations expand the thought, showing that it is his will to show us things that are not only great but ones which are hidden and unknown not only to us but to everyone else until they are revealed according to his promise. Thus:
Darby Bible Translation: Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and I will shew thee great and hidden things, which thou knowest not.
World English Bible: Call to me, and I will answer you, and will show you great things, and difficult, which you don't know.
Young's Literal Translation: Call unto Me, and I do answer thee, yea, I declare to thee great and fenced things -- thou hast not known them.
The prayer for help in time of trouble
The second prayer the Lord always answers, at least in my experience, is the genuine cry for help. For our God is ‘a very present help in trouble’. Now, when time allows I like to go sailing and, like the Apostle Paul, have sometimes found myself in trouble at sea. Several times when the engine failed, the wind was too strong or the boat ran aground God has shown me the way of escape. This in answer to a simple, four-letter prayer, ‘Help’. It seems that it is at sea especially that men learn to cry out to God and receive answers to prayer. Psalm 107: 23-29 describes their plight and rescue:
They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters. These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep. For He commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths; their soul is melted because of trouble.
They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit’s end. Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and He bringeth out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so He bringeth them to their desired haven.
So, there are two prayers that will be answered. One to get you out of deep trouble when there’s no other answer but God. The other to show you greater, deeper truth about God that you don’t know and won’t discover for yourself unless God reveals it to you. The good news is that He has promised to do just that when you take the trouble to read and study his word in the Bible.
Why? Because when you do take his word, the holy scriptures, seriously and read them with a desire to know the one true God through them, a multitude of questions will arise in your mind. When they do it is time for us to call on God and He will answer us through his Spirit which He gave to lead those who trust Him ‘into all truth’ (John 16:13).
May God bless you both with his grace to help in time of trouble and with his truth.