BOOK OF GOD'S PROMISES
J. Stephen Lang
-- Prayer is talked about a lot among religious people. Books
are written about it, and you can even attend seminars and workshops
on prayer. The odd thing, most people do not pray regularly.
But the Bible is brimming over with promises: Prayer brings us
into God's presence. Prayer changes people. Prayer changes the
The LORD is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call
on him sincerely. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cries for help and rescues them.
The eyes of the LORD watch over those who do right; his ears
are open to their cries for help.
The LORD hears his people when they call to him for help. He
rescues them from all their troubles.
Psalm 34:15, 17
The LORD says, "I will rescue those who love me. I will protect
those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue them and honor them.
I will satisfy them with a long life and give them my salvation."
In our instant gratification society, prayer seems out of place.
We pray for something and expect it to happen immediately -- or
soon, anyway. The Bible promises answers, but not immediate ones.
The two following passages from the Gospels depict Jesus recommending
perseverance in prayer.
One day Jesus told his disciples a story to illustrate their
need for constant prayer and to show them that they must never
give up. "There was a judge in a certain city," he said, "who
was a godless man with great contempt for everyone. A widow of
that city came to him repeatedly, appealing for justice against
someone who had harmed her. The judge ignored her for a while,
but eventually she wore him out. `I fear neither God nor man,'
he said to himself, `but this woman is driving me crazy. I'm going
to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with
her constant requests!'"
Then the Lord said, "Learn a lesson from this evil judge. Even
he rendered a just decision in the end, so don't you think God
will surely give justice to his chosen people who plead with him
day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will
grant justice to them quickly! But when I, the Son of Man, return,
how many will I find who have faith?"
"Keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for. Keep
on looking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door
will be opened. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who
seeks, finds. And the door is opened to everyone who knocks. You
parents -- if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give
them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them
a snake? Of course not! If you sinful people know how to give
good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly
Father give good gifts to those who ask him."
We can be confident that he will listen to us whenever we ask
him for anything in line with his will. And if we know he is listening
when we make our requests, we can be sure that he will give us
what we ask for.
1 John 5:14
Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell
God what you need and thank him for all he has done. If you do
this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful
than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your
hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Jesus understood the importance of prayer. But he also understood
that some people like to make a "show" out of prayer, trying to
impress others with their long and flowery prayers. He assured
his followers that this kind of prayer had no influence with God,
who understands our motives:
"When you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you,
and pray to your Father secretly. Then your Father, who knows
all secrets, will reward you.
"When you pray, don't babble on and on as people of other religions
do. They think their prayers are answered only by repeating their
words again and again. Don't be like them, because your Father
knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!"
Some people claim they don't know how to pray. The Bible
is full of examples, including the famous Lord's Prayer (Matthew
6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4). But the Bible also promises that our
awkwardness at praying does not need to hold us back. He has given
us a "prayer partner," the Spirit:
The Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don't even know
what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. But the Holy
Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in
The Book of God's Promises -- Copyright, 1999 by J.
Stephen Lang. All rights reserved, used with permission.
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