Summary: When your in the place of ministry, you often find yourself in that place were people expect you to pray for them. Expecting God to answer yes to their request, because you prayed, after all, your a preacher. There are Biblical attributes to prayer.
Title: When Answers Come
Foundational Keys to Opening the Gates of Heaven
Introduction: When your in the place of ministry, you often find yourself in that place were people expect you to pray for them. Expecting God to answer yes to their request, because you prayed, after all, your a preacher. When I was going through a tremendous trial of life, we were invited to see Pastor David Wilkerson, a preacher whom had experienced the trial of cancer five different times. His wife several times, and he had just lost his grand daughter to brain cancer.
Not long before our time to fly to New York, we received and e-mail, asking "Just what did we expect." They told us in the e-mail, "they had many visitors who later became very upset that God did not answer yes to their prayer," after all, the famous pastor, evangelist, David Wilkerson prayed for them.
We wrote back, "We respected Pastor Wilkerson, we knew that he was like us, a child of God who loved the Lord, knew God's Word and who had desire to serve the Lord, regardless of the lot in this life we were in." They wrote back, stating their relief, "We were afraid that you might think that just because pastor Wilkerson prayed for you, that God naturally will give a miraculous healing." I thought, what needs to be taught so people can understand the attributes to enjoying God's answer to prayers?
Proposition: I would propose to you that there are Biblical attributes to opening our spiritual hearts to God's response to our prayers.
Interrogative Sentence: Just what attributes open the gates of heaven? Does He have His own time frame? Does He have His own way? Does He have work in His own power? Does He have His own purpose? We need the attributes found in this message, if we are going to enjoy waiting upon the Lord to answer our prayers.
I had recently read a message which told about a little girl who wanted to write a missionary. Evidently she had been told not to expect an written response back to her letter, because missionaries are very busy people. In her letter she wrote, "Dear Mr. Missionary, we are praying for you, But we are not expecting an answer." (Rick Warren, How to Receive an Answer from God, Prayer can Changer Your Life)
I do not know about you but there are times when I pray, I do not always have the expectation I should toward His answers. There have been three seasons in my life when the trials of dealing with conjecture of man, (the church) I had lost hope in seeing God do something. I never lost excitement in prayer to God in the trial of cancer. Never have I lost hope in the trial of waiting to see God use the work I have done with Him. I have not lost hope as I see my children be overcome by this world view. However, I often lose hope in praying for the conjuncture of man (what is called the church today).
In our series, the Foundational Keys to Opening the Gates of Heaven, Jesus has words to live by, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. 'Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!" (Matthew 7:7-11)
Transitional Sentence: An attribute to enjoying answers from God, He has His own time frame. The Bible says, For there is a time and procedure for every matter, though a person may be weighed down by misery." (Ecclesiastes 8:6) This means according to His schedule, His timeline. He is all knowing, He knows what is best, how long it is going to take for people's hearts to recognize His work among them. He knows just when someone will surrender their hearts over to Him.
In Luke 1:5-23 we read of God's time for the birth of John the Baptist. Zechariah, John's father, who was a priest, ask the question that everyone has ask while waiting for prayer to be answered, "How can I be sure of this?" (Luke 1:18) Zechariah and Elizabeth, John's mother were old and childless. (Luke 1:7) Safe to assume that they had been praying for a child for a long time - we do know that they had prayed for a child. (Luke 1:13) The Bible says that they were righteous in God's sight, "observing all the Lord's commands and decrees blamelessly." (Luke 1:6) The miraculous birth of John had to come at God's right time, because He was the one who will bring the people back to God (Luke 1:16; Luke 3) and point them Jesus Christ. (Luke 3:15-18)