Thursday, January 8, 2009

Expect an answer to prayer

"These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him." -1 John 5:13-15.

Let me commend the habit of expecting an answer to prayer, and looking for it, for many reasons.... By this means, you put an honor upon God’s ordinance of prayer. He who prays without expecting to receive a return, mocks at the mercy-seat of God. That mercy-seat was made of gold, of pure gold, as if to show its preciousness to all true believers; and you do, by not expecting to receive anything of God, in effect despise the throne of grace. For, let me ask you, of what use the mercy-seat can be if God has said, “Seek ye my face” in vain? If no answers do come to supplication, then supplication is a vain waste of time. You play with prayer when you do not expect an answer. You are not treating it in an earnest, solemn, and devout manner. You are trifling with it. Little children get their bows and shoot their arrows, they care not where, up into the air, to the east, or to the west, it is nothing to them; but men in sober fight take their aim and watch their arrows. You are but playing with God’s ordinances of prayer, if when you pray you are careless about results.

The truly prayerful man is resolved in his own soul that he must have the answer. He feels his need of it; he sees God’s promise; his heart is stirred to earnestness, and he cannot be satisfied to go away without some token for good. You would not treat the mercy-seat as though it were a place for boys to play at; you would honor it, would you not? You would not be among those of whom the prophet said, “Ye have snuffed at it,” and said, “What a weariness it is;” no, but you would make the place where God meets with his people glorious. You would put your shoes from off your feet because it is holy ground; but you cannot do this except you believe that prayer has power in it, and know that you have the petitions which you ask of him.

From a sermon entitled "Praying and Waiting," delivered October 23, 1864. Image by Flemming Christiansen under Creative Commons License.

No comments: