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A ministry of Christian writing

Light of Life: March 2012

Editorial: POPULATION - P. Abraham

THE CHALLENGE OF THE CROSS - P. Samuel Manoharam

THE CROSS, THE MISSION OF RECONCILIATION - Peter S. C. Pothan

ABIDE IN ME - K. V. Varghese

PROMISES OF GOD AND PRAYER - Mathew Paul

Bob's Banter - THE WHITE CASSOCK..! - Robert Clements

Jesus Asks... "IS THAT YOUR OWN IDEA, OR DID OTHERS TALK TO YOU ABOUT ME?" (JN. 18:34) - Vijay Thangiah

Your letters

Contents page

March 2012

PROMISES OF GOD AND PRAYER


Mathew Paul

"Because Rebecca had no children, Isaac prayed to the Lord for her. The Lord answered his prayer, and Rebecca became pregnant" (Gen.25:21).

This verse gives us a clear insight into the relationship between Godís promises and our prayers. This is a totally misunderstood subject as many well meaning believers think that Godís promises will automatically come true. They wait impatiently for God to fulfil His promises and sometimes even find fault with God for His callousness about His promises.

This verse tells us the secret about the many unfulfilled promises of God. We know that God promised Abraham seed like the sand of the sea and like the stars of heaven (Gen.22:17). Yet it took a quarter of a century before Abraham had the joy of seeing his promised son. There was a time when Abraham was willing to make a compromise and willing to accept Ishmael as his heir (Gen.17:18). We can imagine Abraham getting fed up with waiting for the promised son. In his conversation (prayer) with the Lord, Abraham was now making a negative suggestion; that he was willing to accept the seed of his flesh as the promised seed! But God would not compromise on His promise to Abraham. God said "No" to that suggestion and God wanted Abraham to wait patiently for His promise to be fulfilled. We can well imagine Abraham asking God when that glorious day was going to be! Abraham was obviously waiting and praying that God would fulfil His promise soon. And at last, Isaac was born as promised by God, in answer to a long and patient wait and the believing prayers of Abraham.

This truth is confirmed in the incident that followed. Now that Isaac was married, there was yet another problem for the promise to be fulfilled. We are told that Rebecca was barren! It was indeed the least expected thing. But this situation teaches us the fact that the promises of God do not come true in our lives in a natural process. It is absolutely true that God promised seed like the sand of the sea and that not one of the promises would ever fail either. It is also true that God will fulfil all His promises right in time (Acts.7:17). God is faithful and He will surely fulfil His promise without fail. But the amazing truth is that God fulfils His promises only in answer to the prayers of His people!

All the promises are written down for us in His Word (Rom.1:2) and all promises are for all who believe (Gal.3:22). We are told that the promises of God are to be obtained by faith and patience (Heb.6:12,15). And we are asked to perfect holiness since we have these promises (2Cor.7:1). With all the above, if we do not continue in fervent prayers, the promises of God will never come true in our lives. This truth is expressed throughout the scriptures and we need to take heed to it to see that we obtain the promises of God in our lives.

New Person
Let us look at the life of Jacob as a clear example of this truth exemplified for us. Jacob came to Bethel and there he received the promises of God (Gen. 28:10-22). Then in the life of Jacob there was that long gap of twenty years where he sought short-cuts to make his life a blessing. But alas! Twenty years later, though he became a big number physically, he was a more miserable person than ever before. But at Peniel he wrestled the whole night and there he became an heir to his promises. His name was changed and he became a new person altogether. We see that though he got promises at Bethel, only after his Peniel experience, did the promises get fulfilled in his life.

From Daniel 9:2-3 we learn that Daniel knew this truth as well. When Daniel learnt that his captivity was going to be for seventy years, knowing that he was living at the time when the promise was to be fulfilled, he turned to God in prayer and in supplication. And God revealed to Daniel the mystery behind the seventy year captivity. In that most solemn passage of scripture, we have the exact date of the crucifixion of our Lord predicted (Dan.9:26)! Daniel was able to get that truth because he was willing to spend time praying that God would indeed fulfil His promise made by His prophet.

We often wonder why God is slack in fulfilling His many wonderful promises of His precious Word. Once we get the grip of this truth, we know the real reason for this situation. It is not God, rather we, His people, who are responsible for Godís promises not being fulfilled.

In Time
Does that mean that Godís promises will never come true in their appointed time? Read what the Lord says about His promises. "The Lord gave me this answer, ĎWrite down clearly on tablets what I reveal to you, so that it can be read at a glance. Put it in writing, because it is not yet time for it to come true. But the time is coming quickly, and what I show you will come true. It may seem slow in coming, but wait for it; it will certainly take place, and it will not be delayedí" (Hab.2-3). And to Jeremiah the Lord said, "You are right and I am watching to see that My words come true" (Jer.1:12).

God will fulfil all His promises in time without fail. But because He does it only in answer to the prayers of His people, unless we pray, God will raise others who will pray and in answer to their prayers God will fulfil His promises in time! We can see this truth exemplified in history of the Church again and again. Wherever there was a praying church, there was a mighty movement of the Spirit of God. If ever there was slackness in the Lordís work, it was because the people of God failed to call on Him in prevailing prayers. Also we can see that before God begins to do a mighty work, He gets His people praying. Zechariah the prophet saw that in future there was going to be a mighty turning of the people of Israel to God. And before that happens, the prophet says that God would pour on them the spirit of grace and supplication (Zech.12:10).

Godís Grace
So if there is an urge within us to pray, it is an indication that Godís grace is at work within us. When we feel an urge to pray let us put aside everything else and be at His feet discerning His will and praying that He would accomplish His will for His glory. If we fail to do that, God will raise others who will pray and in answer to their prayers He will fulfil His promises. And we will be the ones who are the losers. We would have lost the privilege of being co-workers with the Almighty in bringing about His purposes on earth! May we be sensitive to the call of the Spirit of God and may we bring glory to His Holy Name by seeing that all His promises are fulfilled for His glory.

The Bible ends with the last promise of our Lord and Johnís response to that promise in Rev.22:20. May we also make it our prayer as we wait for His coming in these very last days of the age of grace.

Let us always remember that the key to get a positive answer to our prayers is to take hold of the promise of God and make it our prayer. Once we know something is the will of God, we need to pray in perseverance till we receive our answer. May the Lord give us grace and may His name be glorified. Amen.




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