Thursday, June 14, 2007

Answer to Prayer

I've been contemplating this whole notion of being an answer to prayer. I've often heard it been said that we are blessed to be a blessing. But, I want to broaden out that definition I think and see if we can look at some scriptures

What is prayer:
Prayer is a request from us to God to act.

The Answer to prayer is God's activity in the natural world.

Jesus was the first individual who was part of both the natural world and the spiritual world.

He has given us the Holy Spirit that we might have access to the spiritual world.

Why is all this important?

Because when I say that we are answer to prayers, I mean that quite literally.

Lets travel back to Acts 16 (Whole Chapter).
If you remember in the broadcast/podcast I said that Paul and Silas were put in jail for proclaiming Jesus Christ. That is not exactly true. Paul and Silas were on a mission trip in that area. They were telling of Jesus to the women who met in the place of prayer (where Lydia met with other sisters in prayer.) On the way to this spot, a young slave girl had a spirit of fortune-telling. This spirit would have been the abomination negative spirit of God's blessing of prophecy. The spirit of prophecy is of God, the spirit of fortune-telling is not.
(How do we know the difference? I think we'll have to engage that anther day.)
Nevertheless, the girl was calling attention to Paul and Silas and their mission. She was calling them servants of the Most High. This attention was dangerous given the political climate of the city at the time. So, Paul and Silas, in the name of Jesus, delivered the young girl from this spirit.
John 17 (Whole Chapter), Jesus outlines his expectation for his people whom he has set apart for God in this world. He prays for them.

15I do not ask that You will take them out of the world, but that You will keep and protect them from the evil one.
16They are not of the world (worldly, belonging to the world), [just] as I am not of the world.

We are gifted in such a way that we may be used as Christ was used to protect one another from evil. This is not to suggest that being used is always some big dramatic demonstration. Sometimes it is to pray for one another.

Ephesians 6:18
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Here is an example of praying for one another:
Colossians 4:12
Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.
The power of prayer:
James 5
The Prayer of Faith
13Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

17Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. 19My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, 20remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

Do you see how prayers are responded to by God and God acts through the hands of the saints.
According to 1 Corinthians 13-14 (Whole Chapter) We should operate our gifts as a manifestation of God's blessing in us for others as a demonstration of LOVE.

What does all that mean as a bottom line?
We are God's hands. We are the world's manifestation of God's Love for us.

So, back to Paul and Silas...they were acting as God's emissary's when the set the young girl free from the spirit of fortunetelling.
They were put in Jail. Upon leaving jail, Lydia acted as God's emissary to provide a place of refuge for the two missionaries, and their followers.

How have you acted as God's emissary today?

No comments: