A Prayer to Change Your Life
ccording to one humorist, "God always answers prayer. Sometimes it is "Yes" and sometimes "No." Other times it's "Wait a while." And sometimes, "You've got to be kidding!"
I'm sure God has a sense of humor, too, and must have various reactions to some of our prayers. Some approach God as if he were a "Father-Christmas-in-the-sky" with their "gimme, gimme, gimme" requests. Others come to God as if they were using some kind of "divine Aladdin's lamp" wanting to have their every whim and wish fulfilled.
Many, however, come to God with the right motive. The prayers of these people are the ones that God hears, honors, and answers. One such prayer is recorded in the Bible. It was by an almost unknown man whose name was Jabez. He prayed, "Oh that you [God] would bless me wonderfully. Please be with me in all that I do. Greatly expand my borders. And keep me from all evil and disaster."1
Apparently Jabez prayed with the right motive because God heard and answered his prayer. Praying with the right motive is one of the keys for getting prayer answered. James, the brother of Jesus, said, "You have not because you don't ask. And when you do ask, you ask with the wrong motive."2
Another key for effective prayer is praying truthfully. As David wrote in the Psalms, "The Lord is near to all who call on him—to all who call on him in truth."3
I recently read about one woman's near-death experience. Whether this was real or imagined, I don't know but I liked her visual concept of prayer. She "saw" herself in heaven and, looking back at earth, saw many beams of light reaching up to God. These, in her mind, represented the prayers of God's people.
She 'saw' ... many beams of
light reaching up to God. These,
in her mind, represented the
prayers of God's people.
I also like to "see" my prayers as a beam of light reaching up to God. Light is symbolic of truth and it is the prayers that come from the heart—that are honest and real—that go beyond the ceiling and reach upward to God and get answered.
Sometimes when I pray for a friend, I ask God to surround that person with a beam of light—like a search light beam—and show that person the way they need to go and lead them to the truth. I pray the same for myself.
And every day I like to pray the prayer of Jabez. I have done this for years and have seen it answered in an unprecedented way. It's in four simple parts.
First, "O that you would bless me wonderfully." The fact is God wants to bless every one of us wonderfully. He has a purpose for each of us and when we live in harmony with that purpose, we automatically get in on God's blessings.
To do this, we first need to acknowledge that in God's sight we have all sinned and consequently, are separated from him, and need his forgiveness. Because God loves and wants to bless us, he gave his Son, Jesus, to pay the penalty for our sin (death) so we could be forgiven and given the gift of eternal life. When we receive Jesus into our heart and life we are reconnected to God and can then receive his many blessings.*
5. All articles on the ACTS International website are by Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise noted.
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