I bought my wife a big, brand new fridge today. And she is mighty happy, which is not surprising considering she waited almost four years for it. Of course, we did have a fridge all this while, but because we lived in a smaller house with a cabinet-sized kitchen until recently, I couldn't get her the type she really wanted.
So, she prayed and waited and prayed and waited and prayed and waited a little more… And like an answered prayer, the fridge is finally here now.
In the hours preceding its arrival, my wife spent time making room for it by moving some kitchen furniture around and sweeping the place clean. And when the delivery guys finally arrived at the door, she opened it wide so that they would have no problem getting the fridge to the place she had specially prepared for it.
The kid couldn't care less as long as he is fed, but the wife is happy. And I, too, am content. Life is good.
In fact, this is exactly how things work out in all aspects of life. God answers every prayer—either He says “Yes” and gives you what you asked for, or He says “No” and gives you something better, or He says “Wait” and gives you the best.
However, there are countless others who never get what they prayed for…not because God has not granted their request, but simply because they don’t know how to receive it.
Like, for instance, you can pray all you want for a bigger house, and God may cause you to receive an increment in your salary. But if you spend every dime of that extra cash on fast food, fancy gadgets and other junk instead of saving it to make a down payment on the house, you are never going to make it.
Similarly, you can pray all you want for good health, and God will grant your request. But if you never stop eating like a pig, or boozing like an elephant, or smoking like a chimp, sooner or later, your body will give in and you could suffer multiple organ failure.
So, those who pray for things must also, in faith, prepare to receive what they asked for. The key word here is “faith”. By faith, Noah built a ship in the middle of dry land even though he couldn't see the storm coming. The result? His family was saved. By faith, Abraham said yes to God's call to travel to an unknown place that would become his home. When he left he had no idea where he was going. But he obeyed and became extremely rich. By faith, barren Sarah was able to become pregnant, old woman as she was at the time, because she believed the One who made a promise would do what He said. (Hebrews 11 has all the details.)
That's why we are encouraged in the Bible to exercise our faith and stop “worrying our prayers”. Some folks do that. They get down on their knees and pray, “God, want one thing and one thing only. Give me a car.” Then, even as the angels of God are working on the answer to that prayer, the bloke comes back and says, “God, I need a house! Fast! Help me.” A little while later the dude returns and says “God, it’s okay if you don’t give me a house or a car, just get my wife to stop nagging me.”
This kind of praying will get you nowhere. “If you are like that, unable to make up your mind and undecided in all you do, you should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.” (James 1:7,8)
So, if you are praying, be resolute and then pray with firmness. And when you pray, you must believe and not doubt at all. (James 1:6) In other words, if you prayed for something, trust God to do it for you, act in faith and prepare wholeheartedly to receive what you prayed for.
If you prayed for a house, act in faith and do the groundwork. Go see some houses. Speak to various banks about a home loan, work out the interest rates, and start saving for the down payment. That way, when God finally leads you to the house He has chosen for you, you won’t be caught unprepared.
Similarly, if you prayed for healing, allow yourself to be healed too. You don't go the see the doctor about a bad cough with a cigar in your hand, do you? It’s the same principle: Want healing? No problem. Stop smoking. Stop overeating. Give the bottle a break (or break the bottle). Stop indulging yourself ever so often. Wind down. Breathe. Rest. Most importantly, keep praying. Don't let yourself be tricked into thinking that nothing is happening. Your body suffered years of abuse at your hands, so don’t expect the healing to happen overnight. Only Jesus offers instant healing. Only He can. And He says “I stand at the door and knock.” (Revelation 20-21) If you want instant healing, you’ve got to open the door of your heart – and open it wide – so that Jesus can come in take His rightful place. You’ve got to make room for Him in your heart. And once Jesus is in, I guarantee you this: There is no sickness on earth or demon in hell that can withstand His majesty. You’ll be free of all your afflictions before you can say “Amen”.
That’s the beauty of our God. Our Creator is a prayer-answering Father. And He knows what we need even before we ask Him. But since God is a gentleman and does not like messing with our free will, He patiently waits for us to voice our needs. In fact, God is so eager to grant our requests that it’s a pity some of us never bother asking. I can imagine God looking down on us and thinking, “Just say a word. Say it! Say it! I can’t infringe on your right to choose. But I’d like so much to help if you just called out to Me once. Come on, man! I am here for you. Ask Me. Say what you want. Say it! Say it!”
Too bad so many people swimming in so much shit are so cut off from God (and by choice, may I add) that they don’t give Him a chance…ever!
If you are one of those people, today is your day. Take a stand. Raise your hand. Pray for what you need. Then, go one step further and invite Jesus in. And I promise you this: You Won’t Regret It. Ever!