Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Specific Prayers, Specific Answers

How important it is to be specific in prayer, and to keep praying for specific needs until they are answered.

It is easier to give God the glory when you see the need met, and it builds your faith as you see Him meet each and every need or burden you give to Him in fervent prayer!

I remember a situation in the life of George Muller when he was praying about starting up an orphanage. He and his wife were praying for the Lord to provide everything they needed to get this orphanage going; they prayed about each and every item that they knew they would need, and the Lord provided exactly what they needed.

Well, the big day came that they had decided to open the orphanage on, but no children showed up. Discouraged, at the end of the day, George went home. His wife met him at the door, all excited to know what the Lord had done for them that day.

In a somber mood, George explained that every need they had prayed for was met - except the children!

Suddenly, his wife burst out laughing and couldn't stop. A bit disconcerted, George asked her why she was laughing at a time like this!

"Don't you see dear. We prayed for everything but the children! We were so concerned that we wouldn't have enough to provide for them that we only prayed about the supplies, not the children that would be needed to fill the rooms!" - My paraphrase.

That night, they prayed for the children that the Lord would provide, and the next morning they had enough to fill all their rooms!

Specific prayers, specific answers.


From The Treasury Of David, by CH Spurgeon:

Psalms 5:3 My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.

Observe, this is not so much a prayer as a resolution,

My voice shalt thou hear; "I will not be dumb, I will not be silent, I will not withhold my speech, I will cry to thee for the fire that dwells within compels me to pray." We can sooner die than live without prayer. None of God's children are possessed with a dumb devil.

In the morning. This is the fittest time for intercourse with God. An hour in the morning is worth two in the evening. While the dew is on the grass, let grace drop upon the soul. Let us give to God the mornings of our days and the morning of our lives. Prayer should be the key of the day and the lock of the night. Devotion should be both the morning star and the evening star.

If we merely read our English version, and want an explanation of these two sentences, we find it in the figure of an archer,

I will direct my prayer unto thee, I will put my prayer upon the bow, I will direct it towards heaven, and then when I have shot up my arrow, I will look up to see where it has gone. But the Hebrew has a still fuller meaning than this -- "I will direct my prayer." It is the word that is used for the laying in order of the wood and the pieces of the victim upon the altar, and it is used also for the putting of the shewbread upon the table. It means just this: "I will arrange my prayer before thee;" I will lay it out upon the altar in the morning, just as the priest lays out the morning sacrifice. I will arrange my prayer; or, as old Master Trapp has it, "I will marshall up my prayers," I will put them in order, call up all my powers, and bid them stand in their proper places, that I may pray with all my might, and pray acceptably.

And will look up, or, as the Hebrew might better be translated, "`I will look out,' I will look out for the answer; after I have prayed, I will expect that the blessing shall come." It is a word that is used in another place where we read of those who watched for the morning. So will I watch for thine answer, O my Lord! I will spread out my prayer like the victim on the altar, and I will look up, and expect to receive the answer by fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice.

Two questions are suggested by the last part of this verse. Do we not miss very much of the sweetness and efficacy of prayer by a want of careful meditation before it, and of hopeful expectation after it? We too often rush into the presence of God without forethought or humility. We are like men who present themselves before a king without a petition, and what wonder is it that we often miss the end of prayer? We should be careful to keep the stream of meditation always running; for this is the water to drive the mill of prayer. It is idle to pull up the flood gates of a dry brook, and then hope to see the wheel revolve. Prayer without fervency is like hunting with a dead dog, and prayer without preparation is hawking with a blind falcon. Prayer is the work of the Holy Spirit, but he works by means. God made man, but he used the dust of the earth as a material: the Holy Ghost is the author of prayer, but he employs the thoughts of a fervent soul as the gold with which to fashion the vessel. Let not our prayers and praises be the flashes of a hot and hasty brain, but the steady burning of a well kindled fire.

But, furthermore, do we not forget to watch the result of our supplications? We are like the ostrich, which lays her eggs and looks not for her young. We sow the seed, and are too idle to seek a harvest. How can we expect the Lord to open the windows of his grace, and pour us out a blessing, if we will not open the windows of expectation and look up for the promised favour? Let holy preparation link hands with patient expectation, and we shall have far larger answers to our prayers.

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