Day 22: Heard

Day 22: Heard

Prayer is such a mystery. It is difficult for us to fathom why God would put a weapon of such necessity and power into our hands, when we understand it so little. Volumes are written about prayer, yet often these contain ideas which are contradictory to Scripture, and can actually damage faith. One of the false teachings prevalent today is commonly called name-it-claim-it. Those who teach this false doctrine take passages such as having the faith to move mountains and if we ask anything in Jesus’ name we will receive out of context, and claim that we can get anything we want from God if we believe it enough.

Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane (and others such as David’s for his son, and Paul’s for his healing) shows us that name-it-claim-it is not how God operates. The prayer of faith God honors isn’t faith in faith itself, or faith that we can have what we desire intensely enough. It is faith that the One who hears will give what is good—what is best in the eternal scope of things. What is interesting is Hebrews 5:7 says Jesus was heard. The inference here isn’t that God said, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I hear you,” but that He answered. The Father answered out of His divine sovereignty and goodness, yet, the cup did not pass.

We need to keep this lesson in mind when we pray fervently for something that isn’t turning out the way we want. Did Jesus have faith? Certainly! —more faith than anyone, ever. Did He pray fervently? Unquestionably! —who else has prayed until they sweat blood? Did He pray persistently? Of course! —not just insistently that night, but consistently throughout His life. Jesus defines the phrase, prayed up! Does this mean it is useless to pray with faith, fervency, and perseverance? Never! While Jesus did not get one specific element of what He prayed for, He received an answer full of victory and glory beyond the limited scope of His request. He received divine aid and encouragement, strength and resolve, and, what He desired above all, the glory of the Father.

We have seen that, throughout His ministry and especially that night, Jesus called His followers to prayer. Even though He was not granted the removal of the cup, He knew the urgency, necessity, and power of prayer, and implores us to pray, knowing we will be heard, and we will be answered with eternal blessings beyond what we can imagine.

• What are some times when it felt like God was not hearing or answering your prayers?
• When you look back, how can you see that God answered these, or other prayers, in ways different from what you were expecting?
• Do you think you didn’t get what you asked for because of lack of faith, differing will of God, or you just didn’t recognize an out-of-the-box answer?

There have been times when I’ve been disappointed by not getting what I prayed for. It tested my faith, my understanding of prayer, and even my trust in You. Help me to trust Your character when I don’t understand Your ways, and to persist in praying in faith for the greatest expression of Your will and glory.

by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministries