After years of excessive fasting and heroic service to humanity, Gandhi agonized over his “fleshliness.” Achieving nirvana is virtually unattainable in Hinduism.
In Islam, you can never know if you have pleased Allah enough to make paradise. In Buddhism, you have to approximate monasticism.
And by contrast, in Christianity, God plops the answer right down in your lap. That’s because we are made holy not by anything we do but rather by what Christ do on the cross for us. This does not mean we flout righteousness. It only means that God has built over the chasm separating humanity from the Divine.
So answers to prayer do not require accompanying works of righteousness. You don’t need burn candles or crawl on your knees painfully over the cement plaza. You don’t need “vain repetitions” that “pagan use because they think that only that way can they be heard” (Matt. 6:7). You may fast while praying but should not think you won’t be heard if you only pray and don’t fast.
All you need is faith.
If an answer to prayer does not come immediately, assume that God is working patience in you. Do NOT assume you have to perform “works of righteousness” to turn God’s frown into a smile.
In Christianity when you pray, the answer is within reach — unlike any other religion. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, BELIEVE that you have received it, and it will be yours. — Mark 11:24 NIV (caps mine).
The fact that climatologists can now predict and explain wind should not confuse the meaning of John 3:8’s metaphor.
The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit. — John 3:8 NIV
The wind (same word as “Spirit” in Koine Greek) appears inexplicably (to the First Century observer). It is invisible, unannounced, unanticipated. It can be powerful (think of a hurricane). It scatters seed. No where is beyond its reach on the face of the planet. You can’t stop it.
So are our prayers. We cannot guess what God is going to do. We should pray generally and specifically, but we should not boast about knowing what God has up His sleeve. We should believe for huge and impossible things, both close and far. We should not be surprised when the Iron Curtain falls or when the vilest of sinners gets saved. We should know our Lord uses His Spirit and can reach where spy satellites and drones cannot. He can get into people’s minds. Even the devil is blind-sided. That is the nature of the Spirit’s move.
Our prayers should take into account His ability to do anything, anywhere, any time. He’ll do what we least expect, so we should expect it. He’ll move anywhere, so we should pray for nations closed to the gospel. He’ll hit tomorrow, so we should pray today.
Opposition will switch to ally when the Spirit moves. All resistance will be “gone with the wind.”
Posted in prayer
Tagged answers to prayer, believe, Bible, Christian, commentary, Faith, John 3:8, move of God, receive, revival, spirit