It is in the area of prayer that we understand how God works in our lives today. An investigation of the prayers of the biblical writers defines areas in which God works. In other words, if a particular prayer were made or requested in an inspired book of the Bible, then it is reasonable to conclude that God works in the area for which the request is made.
If by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit a writer requested that prayers be made for a particular reason, then it is logical to conclude that God works in the area of the instructed prayer request. It is for this reason that the subject of prayer helps us to understand the areas in which God works in the lives of Christians today.
It would not be logical to say that the New Testament writers asked us to pray to God for things that they knew He would not give. Neither would we conclude that God deceived the writers of the Bible documents to ask things He never intended to answer in the first place. Though we may not understand how prayers are answered, the fact is that they are. And because they are, then we can correctly assume that God the Spirit continues to work in our lives today.
It is simply not logical to believe that the things for which the biblical writers asked in prayer could not be answered. For example, Jesus instructed, “Ask, and it will be given to you” (Mt 7:7). Also, He did not give Christians a hopeless expectation when He said to His disciples, “Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them” (Mk 11:24). The very fact that He asked His disciples to pray is evidence that God worked in their lives in order to answer their prayers. Therefore, we must believe that we receive the answers to our prayers when we follow Jesus’ instructions to pray.
It is essential that Christians develop a sincere life of prayer to God that is based on a belief that God truly works in our lives (Js 1:5,6). We must aspire in expectation for God’s answers to our prayers. Therefore, as we study the Bible in order to determine how God works in the life of the Christian, we must study those things for which the writers of the Bible directed us to ask and pray.
[Next in series: Nov. 19]