Monday, October 11, 2010

"The Ultimate and the Personal" Part 2

"And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth" (Revelation 19:6).

Can God do anything and everything? Is He that "omnipotent?" Concerning prayer, we must carefully consider this question in the light of Scripture.

The answer is yes and no. He can do all things that align with His character, nature, and will, or in terms of His glory and eternal purpose in Christ. However, He cannot do that which conflicts with who He is, and with the determinations based His perfect being and way. "God... cannot lie" (Titus 1:2). Thus, there are prayers believers pray that our Heavenly Father cannot answer. "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts" (James 4:3). This makes prayer a great challenge because we must know God and His truth if we are to pray with expectation of His answers.

"This is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us" (I John 5:14).

We all have experience of praying long and diligently for people and for ourselves with no answer seemingly forthcoming. Our perception of circumstances and situations tells us that certain things need to happen. Provisions, protections, healings, and significant changes seem necessary, and we ask our Lord with the utmost sincerity. He seemingly doesn't answer, however, and in such times, we must hold out the possibility that God's ultimate purposes transcend our understanding of specific needs. We may be asking "amiss" and guided by fleshly motivations even if our requests are noble and sincere.

God's love for us "passeth knowledge" (Ephesians 3:19). However, we cannot play on His emotions or twist His arm, as it were, to cause actions on His part that conflict with the eternal purposes governed by His glory, nature, purpose, and will. This should fill our hearts with great assurance because our knowledge of our own interests and the interests of others is so presently limited. "We see through a glass darkly" (I Corinthians 13:12). We need a God who cannot be swayed by sentiment, but who rather always acts in accordance with a love guided by perfect wisdom and character. Our personal needs and the needs of others for whom we pray are always best fulfilled when our Lord's glory, will, and eternal purpose in Christ are furthered. We must share His primary focus on the ultimate as we pray, rejoicing that the personal will thereby be best served...

"Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."
(Matthew 6:33)

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