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Real Meat For Real Men -- How To Have Your Prayers Answered

Give and you’ll receive


Name it and claim it.


Declare it and it will be.


Imagine how you want your life to be


When you wish upon a star


     These are all phrases we have heard used in regards to prayer (ok, the last one isn’t so much, but I couldn’t resist).  If we just want it hard enough, if we speak our prayers into existence, all you ever wanted and desired can be yours through prayer.


     But wait!  If you send a check for $100 dollars, we guarantee God will answer your financial prayers!  Riches and fame can be had for a generous gift!


     What they don’t mention is they are the ones who get rich, not you!  We have all heard such statements and claims as the ones above.  Feeding on the needs and desperations of hurting, struggling people, corrupt ministries spread false teaching and false hope that if you think hard enough, do enough, or give enough, you can have all your prayers answered.  But is a lie.  Worse, it is heresy, unfounded in the Word of God.


     It is also nothing new.  It has been happening for centuries.  It even happened in John’s day and age.  That is why John felt it necessary towards the end of 1 John to discuss prayer, and the proper attitude we should have about prayer and having our prayers answered.  So let’s look at this month’s real meat for real men to see what John has to say about answered prayers.  1 John 5:14:


                14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him.


     “Wait, Jamie!  It says it right there, whatever we ask, we receive!” 


     Your right, it does say that.  That is the part of these verses that many hold unto and claim.  It is the basis of many of the false teaching about prayer.  This is because the lovers of verse 15 often look past verse 14.  Let’s look at it again.


       14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him.


     “According to His Will”. 


     Why do you think John added this phrase?  Where do you think he ever got such an idea? 


     He got it from his best friend, his mentor, his Lord and Savior, Jesus.


     It is the first lesson on prayer that Jesus taught John and the other disciples.  One of the first parts of the “Lord’s Prayer” is  “Thy Kingdom come,Thy Will Be done”


     He prayed it in the Garden of Gethesemane, “Matt. 26:39 And going a little farther He fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”


     Jesus taught His disciples this important lesson that, when we pray, we need to pray according to God’s will.  Now, many years later, John is reminding his fellow believers of this same lesson.


     Why is this key part of the Scripture verse so often overlooked? 


     Well, because it doesn’t fit into the name-it-and-claim it, wish-upon-a-star that so many hope is true of prayer.  They don’t want to hear that their prayers are guaranteed to be answered if they don’t line up with God’s will for their lives and the lives of those around them.


     You may say, “But Jamie, isn’t it always God’s will for His children to be happy and prosperous?”


     My answer is God wants what’s best for us and what is best for His kingdom.  There have been plenty of people whom God placed in less than desirable circumstances because it was good for the overall good.  Paul went to Rome in chains so the Gospel could be spread.  It was God’s will for John to go to Patmos and endure brutal circumstances and persecution, all so Revelation could be written.  God’s will for His own Son was to be brutally murdered on the cross.  God doesn’t strive for our comfort or prosperity, He does what’s best for the kingdom.


     That is why John, and Jesus before him, taught us to pray according to God’s will.  We have to accept the fact that sometimes our prayers don’t get answered the way we want because what we want isn’t what God needs to happen.  He knows what is best, and we need to roll with His will instead of expecting Him to bow to ours.


     That is why the name it and claim it doctrine is so dangerous.  They try and force God to do our will.   John understood what we need to get, it isn’t about us or our will, it is all about God.


     This is real meat for real men, and it isn’t meat a lot line up to grab off the grill.  But it is true.  It is the will of God that matters.  Our prayers get answered only if we pray according to God’s will.


     “So, Jamie, Why do I need to spend time in prayer at all.  Why can’t I just say “God, do Your will, amen?”


     This is not what I am saying at all.  Verse 14 is clear we should have confidence that we can come before God in prayer.   God wants us to come to Him with all of our needs.  He wants us asking Him for things.  He wants to hear our prayers.  What He doesn’t want is for us to get angry or resentful or throw a tantrum when we don’t get every prayer answered.


     Basically, what I am saying is we need to present our request to God, and then trust that He will only do what is best for us.  We will rejoice over answered prayer, and accept that He has His reasons for not answering others.   We acknowledge He sees the big picture, and we accept His responses.


    That is the attitude of a mature believer.  That is what a grown up does.  A baby on a diet of milk believes they can have whatever they want in prayer.  An infant eating pureed peas believes they can have a temper tantrum if God doesn’t answer exactly like they want.  But a grown up, meat eating man trusts God to answer the prayers He wants answered and accepts it when God doesn’t do things the way they ask. They continue to boldly approach Him in prayer, and trust Him to do what it best for them. 


     This is real meat, for real men.

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