Friday, October 7, 2016
4 ingredients to answered prayer
This is a post from October 12, 2014 that I thought was worth repeating. We had just arrived in Brazil two weeks beforehand, and God had impressed on me part of a verse that reads, “dwell in the land and live securely.” When we’re in sync with God, no matter where we are, we’re secure. Fear and alarm is all over the news these days, which reminds us of Jesus’ warnings of the end times, when faith will grow cold and the spirit of the antichrist will be on the rise. But those belong to Him are always safe in the palm of His hand. His promises are for all times, in all situations as long as we are obedient.
Trust in the Lord and do what is good; dwell in the land and live securely. Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires. Psalm 37:3-4, HCSB
The commands of God in these 2 verses are: trust, do good, dwell, and delight. The promises? Live securely, and receive your heart’s desires. It’s so simple, but we have a way of complicating the simplicity and beauty of what God asks. As we’ve seen after going through many of the promises of the Bible, every promise comes with a condition or command. If we humble ourselves and consistently obey His commands, the promises will come flooding in. Unfortunately, we have selfish and sinful natures that doubt and rebel and so we end up postponing our miracles from happening, or even cancel them out.
The dictionary definitions of each command:
TRUST: a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something
DO GOOD: to do what is desired or approved of, showing kindness, having or displaying moral virtue
DWELL: live in or at a specified place
DELIGHT: take great pleasure in
Rewording verses 3 and 4 according to these definitions, we can say that God wants us to have a firm belief in His reliability, truth and strength, to be virtuous and kind and do what He desires. He wants us to live in the place where He has specified, because He will guarantee our safety and peace. We need to take great pleasure in Him, enjoy being in His presence, enjoy obeying His commands and enjoy spending as much time with Him as possible. Then and only then, will He grant us the desires of our hearts.
So ask yourself, do I really have a firm belief in God’s reliability, or do I waste time worrying that He won’t come through for me? Am I virtuous and kind, and do I do what He wants? Am I dwelling (living, working, associating with people) as God has specified? If so, I have no reason to feel anxious because my safety is guaranteed.
Do I take great pleasure in Him, all the time, and on a consistent basis? Do my prayers, my battles against demons, my church attendance and my reading of the Bible happen in fits and spurts according to my schedule, moods and impending problems? Or is delighting in God something that I do eagerly and can’t spend a day without?
The world offers tons of ways to chase after security and our heart’s desires with no guarantee of actually finding them—they usually include a good amount of money and the right connections. What God promises is iron clad, and requires the currency of faith, trust and obedience. Anyone can have security, and anyone can find their heart’s desires, no matter how privileged or poor they might be.