Wednesday, 7 September 2016

The Prayer of Faith

When Jesus promised:
"If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it" (John 14:14), He wasn't overriding obvious ethical limitations.
As a Jew speaking to Jews, that didn't need to be stated!
For example:
He didn't mean I can pray that the Devil will become godly.
He didn't mean you can use your faith so that by the time you wake up in the morning, the whole world will have repented and believed the Gospel.
He didn't mean a Primary-School child could ask to become the Premier of Queensland at the next State election.
He didn't mean no true believer need ever experience persecution, confiscation, imprisonment or martyrdom.
He didn't mean there wouldn't be circumstances when you can't minister miraculous healings - because there were circumstances when even Jesus Himself and Elias couldn't.
We "know in part"; and there are some circumstances when "...we know not what to pray for as we ought..." and the Spirit makes intercession for us.
He didn't mean that we would never need to yield our flesh and say, "Thy will be done".
He wasn't saying we can ask amiss, to consume things lustfully.
He wasn't condoning focusing on this present world instead of the unseen, eternal things, to focus on becoming rich in this present life.
He wasn't saying we can usurp the sovereignty of God.
Nevertheless, given those obvious ethical parameters, there is still a category of prayer in which we can ask for things, and be sure we receive them - and then we'll have them. Jesus said so!
And rather than make that category narrow, or non-existent, He made the possibilities within that category as wide as words allow:
"...ask anything..."
"...all things..."
You're a 'whosoever' aren't you? Of course you are - we all are.
So within the obvious ethical parameters that are understood by the character, Word and will of God, you can ask 'anything' you 'desire' - and He'll do 'whatsoever' you say.
That's pretty clear, isn't it.
Within this category of prayer, there was the simplest of conditions:
"...believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them";
"...and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith", Jesus said.
Now on the one hand, Jesus obviously didn't mean you can make God act outside His will. That would be to tempt God.
But on the other hand, He could not have expected you to believe we receive them, and believe that those things which you say shall come to pass - if you can only have but a vague assurance of God's will in a matter.
Unless you're fully persuaded about the will of God in a matter, you can't believe you receive. Otherwise that would be presumption, not faith. Faith begins where the will of God is known.
So there is a category of things - a very broad category - which we can know the will of God, and therefore we can ask knowing He hears us, and know that we receive what we ask.
No doubt about it!
"Verily, verily I say unto you..." He said!

Yes we should yield our flesh-life as He did, and say, "...not my will be done, but yours..." but that doesn't mean we can't know the will of God in a very broad category of matters, as Jesus Himself also knew - and ask, and believe - and receive!

It's also expected that we can also still be clear about what's 'not' ethical and therefore what we can't expect to receive through the prayer of faith.

I think of it this way:

You have the right to put your clothes Dryer anywhere you want in your own house.

But you can't barge into my house and move my clothes Dryer, unless I give you permission to.

And even in your own house, there are some places where you can't put your own Dryer.

But given those varying and obvious provisos, you can put a clothes Dryer virtually anywhere you want! Right?

Same with the prayer of faith.

You can ask anything in His Name, and He'll do it. 'Anything' is broad as words allow - but It obviously doesn't mean you can accept salvation on someone else's behalf, for example - that's something everyone's got to do for themselves. But you can pray God draws him; you can rebuke certain demons which might be hindering the person; you can ask God to send a labourer; you can claim every good influence upon the person. And in many cases, you might see them get saved quicker than you thought.

You can speak healing, and receive it. But sometimes you can't do so, if someone doesn't want you to. Otherwise, Jesus could have done mighty works in His own home town - but it says He could not - not 'would not', but 'could not'. Because they weren't open to Him. But when Jesus got around a crowd that accepted Him - they were all healed, every one! 

Yet at the pool of Bethesda, there were a great many impotent folk, but He healed only one. 

So sometimes there are other principles at work too. So working with the Lord, through the Holy Spirit, needs to be part of this.

And that's what I'm seeking to inspire - a desire for a dynamic relationship with the Holy Spirit, not just a textbook knowledge of Him.

Gospel-values are a given. Nevertheless, given those values, Jesus made the prayer-of-faith category as broad as words allow.

So you are invited to ask!

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