It's easy to say "God answers prayers" when everything is going along smoothly without a care in the world. But what about during difficult times? A crisis can often bring doubts to our minds especially if God doesn't respond to our prayers as quickly as we feel He should. Right into the middle of Jame's letter to the first-century believers is a simple statement that should boost our confidence: "When a believing person prays, great things happen" (James 5:16b NCV). The Lord hears and He will respond to our prayers at just the right time and in just the right way.
The Greek word for "happen" is the one from which we derive our English word "energy." What James is saying is that in response to the effective prayer of a believer, God will direct His supernatural energy toward the current crisis situation. However we mustn't ever think that He can be manipulated into unleashing His power. And there are no formulas or magic words that will cause Him to react in a specific way. He cannot be goaded into action because of something we say or do.
The Lord responds to faith so the godly believer will see Him intervene. All born-again Christians have been clothed in Christ's righteousness and positioned as God's children, but not all of us have clear consciences. The Bible states, "If I had cherished in my heart, the Lord would not have listened" (Ps 66:18 NIV). If we refuse to repent of disobedience, the Lord will not respond to our prayers. This is why crisis situations are often times of personal revival. We must repent of all known sin before we can expect God to act.
God wants to intervene on our behalf. His love for us demands that He comfort, console, strengthen, and aid us when we are troubled. We clear the way for Him to respond to us when we keep a clear conscience.
This is a good devotional for me today. I'm going through a time of numbness, a state of unfeeling about prayer. I don't know what to think of the latest turn of events. A couple weeks ago we were coming home from an evening out celebrating our 35th anniversary, Michael was driving, and everything was going along fine until he stepped on the brakes to turn the corner by our house. They made a horrible "grinding" sound and we all know what that means, right? Time for a brake job. Well, as chance would have it, I had been responding to the Lord's admonitions that my prayers were too generalized, that He wanted me to pray for specific things so for the previous 2 weeks or so I had been praying specifically about the front end on my car which has a wobble due to a bushing in need of replacement. And us with no money.
The next morning I had a small group meeting and when I backed out of the driveway and stepped on the brakes, there was that grinding sound again. As I circled the block the brakes made that horrible sound at every stop sign. Then I just sort of let God have it. I mean, He wanted me to pray for specific things so I was and it seemed that instead of solving the problem about the front end on my car He just gave me another problem to worry about. After that rather forceful and loud prayer the brakes were silent. No noise at all when I stepped on the brakes. Wonder of all wonders, I'd had a miracle!! Everything went along just fine until we went into the next county the other day to do our monthly shopping. We were just going along and I thought I should tell Michael about the miracle. (Come to find out he had no memory of the brakes making that noise when we came home from the concert.) I thought about jinxing myself and that perhaps I should keep it a secret. Then I thought, No, I need to give God the glory for this. Michael needs to know that God answered my prayer. So I told Michael about my miracle. Wouldn't you know it, the very next time I put on my brakes they made that awful grinding sound again.
So what am I to think? Do I believe in jinxes? No, but I'm sure tempted. Do I believe God answers prayers? Yes, I do. Do I think God gave me a miracle? I don't know. And that's where I'm stuck. I don't know what to think. I hope all of you will write me and let me know your take on this. What do you think??? I'm still praying for the front end on my car and have added to it the brake problem. And I'm waiting. Just waiting.
I know my faith is being tested over this. I just wish I knew what to think. What are we to think when God disappoints us, anyway? And I don't even know if I'm more upset over not getting my miracle or more upset over the fact that somehow we're going to have to beg, borrow, or steal (stealing is definitely out) the money to do these car repairs. We just don't have the money. Period. We are never going to have the money. So I will continue to pray. And I'll ask while I'm at it why He gave me a miracle only to take it back when I bragged on what He'd done. I mean look. We aren't asked to believe in a hocus pocus spooky god that isn't there. We are asked to believe in the one and only God, the great I AM, the everlasting God Almighty and either prayer works or it doesn't!! God says it works. Am I to believe Him? Do I believe Him? Yes and yes. I just don't understand. But I know that through this trial I will emerge more Christlike. That somehow this is refining me and making me more like my precious Lord. That the God who gave me a temporary miracle can give me a permanent one at any time. That this miracle making God is real and eager to answer my prayers. I wish I could peer behind the curtain and see what He's doing here in my life. But I can't. I just have to have faith. And it has to be real faith and not this gee-I-hope-pretty-please-let-me-have-my-own-way faith. So, what am I to think about all this? That my God reigns and He has promised to make me into the image of my Lord and Savior and I thank Him for that. I praise Him for working so openly in my life. And I thank Him for letting me question Him and His motives. I thank Him that doubt is not sin. I thank Him that I need not fear He's too busy for my prayers. And I will wait. For as long as it takes, I will wait.
My brakes have gone back to being silent again and I will take every silent day as an answer to my prayers. I believe in miracles and I believe in the God of miracles and I will be thankful that my God is intricately involved in my life. And I will praise Him every time I step on the brakes whether they grind or not. When I pray I align all the powers that be into the formation of obedience and faith and I will say thank you.
Well we are still shrouded in fog this morning. I didn't blog yesterday because I wasn't feeling very well. Just my sciatic acting up but it hurt to sit for any length of time so I decided to skip sitting at the computer. Anyway, we had rain early yesterday morning and then it cleared up. And then about 2:00 in the afternoon I saw this fog bank coming at us. It was just blowing across the road and it continued and thickened into a pea soup mixture of moisture and pollutants and the whole world turned gray. We rarely have fog up here in the foothills and we've never had fog blow in midafternoon like this one did. It's kind of spooky. I have to go out today and run some errands and I hope it lifts before then. It's not risky driving fog, though, just I-wish-it-were-clearer fog. Being raised down in the valley where they have real Fog with a capital F, this stuff doesn't even phase me except to make it a dreary day.
I hope to get my Christmas lights up today. I've been wanting to do it for several days now. I even have the box (carried in from the garage) sitting on my table. But every day there seems to be some reason not to put them up. It's not raining today so maybe we'll get to them. I have Christmas Moose in from the garage too and I have plans to get him set up and lights wrapped around him too. Then Christmas season will definitely be here. I got out my Santas the other day and put out my kitten nativity set on the coffee table. And that's about it for our household. I used to have more things but I gave them to my granddaughter to give her a start. My cats wouldn't leave anything alone. It was nothing to wake up and find everything on the floor. I'm sure they thought loving thoughts for their new toys as they massacred every decoration I so carefully put out. It's been a lot less stressful since I gave Christmas away. I still have the two Santas but one of them hangs on the wall and the other one they haven't found yet. I'm sure I'll have to pick him up off the floor more than once or twice before Christmas is over.
Well, I think that's about it for today. Hope you have a great one. Until tomorrow ...