Tuesday, February 6, 2018

"The Benefactor" Part 5

"The Benefactor"

Part 5

    God is far more willing to answer our prayers than we are to ask them.  We must perceive Him in these terms of abundant generosity of spirit in order to pray with the confidence that characterizes genuine faith and genuine prayer.

   "Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them" (Mark 11:24).

   This being the case, and our desires being a factor in our praying, we also recognize that we must make our requests in accordance with His will.  Moreover, we expect Him to answer according to His purposes, will, and timing, as opposed to our decidedly limited understanding of how our Benefactor should distribute His resources.

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

   Prayer involves both confidence and caveat.  Our Benefactor possesses the most kindly and willing of hearts toward His trusting children in Christ.  "It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" declared the Lord Jesus to His disciples, revealing God's generous inclinations (Luke 12:32).  As we walk with Him in consistent fellowship and consecration to His Word, we can expect the Holy Spirit to form God's desires in us.  "It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13).  This is our confidence, based upon God's promises and working in our hearts and minds.  The caveat, conversely, involves the fact that we are not yet perfected and glorified.  Thus, even when sincere, we can be misled by the world, the devil, and the flesh in our understanding of the need for our Lord's working and provision.  Especially since God's primary focus involves the heart, we possess limited awareness regarding how He purposes to work in others, the world, and even ourselves (especially ourselves!).  Thus, we do no injury to faith by always keeping open the possibility that our Heavenly Father may work according to the intent rather than the content of our prayers.  Or as James informs, the Lord may not answer at all if we "ask amiss" (James 4:3).

    An effectual and encouraging manner of prayer involves our trusting God to do as He sees fit, based on His perfect knowledge, wisdom, and understanding.  Our own perceptions and desires have a place, especially when we see life through the lens of Scripture.  God's focus on the heart, however, means that He purposes to work deep in the spiritual and moral mines of humanity, as it were, places we cannot see or occupy.  We pray about details and our awareness of need as we perceive it, but again, we primarily make our requests in the confidence and caveat of "O Lord God, Thou knowest" (Ezekiel 37:3).  We beckon the Benefactor, as He commands, but we realize that He will administer His largesse according to His perfect administration of "the unsearchable riches of Christ" (Ephesians 3:8).  This sometimes directly reflects the nature of our requests.  And sometimes it doesn't.  If thinking rightly about Him and ourselves, we wouldn't want it any other way.

"After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven."
(Matthew 6:9-10)

Weekly Memory Verse
   "Call unto Me, and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not."
(Jeremiahs 33:3)  


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