Tag Archive | Epistle to the Ephesians

When GOD Doesn’t Answer Prayer How “We” Think HE Should by Olayemi E. Ogunbase


I prayed, quoted Scripture, fasted, all things I thought would get God to move in the way I wanted Him to. I thought that having worship music going 24/7, attending the prayer meetings at church and joining prayer groups on Facebook would get Him to move how I wanted.

Re-read the last part of the previous sentence. “Get Him to move how I wanted”. And THAT was the problem. It was based on what “

God is patient and kind...

God is patient and kind…

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I” wanted, not His will. I (like many of us) found a Scripture that lined up with my particular want & latched on to it. Please understand me, there is nothing wrong with holding on to a Scripture & asking in faith. But what WE want cannot be more important than what HE wants.

He sees our situation through a lens and view that our minds cannot begin to grasp. He sees the prayer request and us through perfect eyes. In addition to that, He not only sees the immediate impact of granting/not granting the prayer request, but the long term, ETERNAL ramifications.

Imagine with me for a moment: You have a 16 year old, newly licensed driver who comes to you saying “Dad (or Mom…I’m a man, so I use “Dad”), for my first car, I would like a Porsche 911 Turbo.” You not only own a Porsche dealership and could easily make this request happen, but the joy that would spread across your child’s face would be a beautiful thing.

But, you know your child. Although there is nothing wrong with a Porsche 911 Turbo in and of itself, that same piece of machinery with an inexperienced driver behind the wheel has the potential to not only destroy the driver, but any passengers in the vehicle and other drivers/pedestrians out on the road.

Our Lord knows us better than we know ourselves. He also knows that many times we will pray for something permanent as a reaction to temporary discomfort, even if that discomfort is actually for our benefit, and will bring us something far better than what we want or THINK we want.

I remember recently praying for a particular job. I wanted this job because of the salary it provided, and also because I thought I would be able to handle working the overnight/graveyard shift, freeing me up for a 2nd part time job during the day. I would have grown sick of the duties in this job in rather short order, and probably would have had a nervous breakdown working a full time graveyard shift job and another job. But all I could see was the pay.

My Father in Heaven answered this prayer with a resounding NO on a Wednesday. I tell you…I was UPSET! Have you ever seen a 31 year old man throw a temper tantrum? God did that day. It was not the finest moment of my walk. I calmed down, and began looking online. I looked for the next four days. On that 4th day, a Saturday, I was scouring job postings and found one that I had missed. I did a double take, because the position for this particular posting paid MORE, offered greater stability and fewer hours. On top of all that, I instantly knew (based on the description) I would like it far more than the previous job I just “HAD to have”. I prayed, put it in His hands, applied, interviewed and GOT THE JOB. I have been with this company since October 8, 2012 and have NEVER enjoyed going to work as much as I do now. Each day, I don’t “have to go to work”. I GET to go to work! I know the Lord blessed me with this position, but also the joy that comes with diligent work unto Him. To top it off, the company called a meeting the other day where they announced “We’ve decided to give you (the staff) 9 additional days of paid time off”.

The point is this. Had the Lord answered my prayer my way, He could have orchestrated it for my good. It could have been okay. But when He answered my prayer for stable employment in HIS way, it was, is and has been “exceedingly and abundantly more than all I could ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).

I close with a command. Get your Bible and go to Proverbs chapter 3, verses 5 and 6. Memorize them and believe in the truth of those words MORE than you believe in gravity.

I love you.

In Him,
Yemi

 

Patience In Prayer


While I was in my devotion and seeking God for the direction for Prayer Works Café and sensing in the spirit that some members were perhaps at the end of the rope, feeling rejected and like God has somehow forgotten their situations, I came upon this article. The night before, I was up very late talking with members from the group and speaking life into various situations that seem dead in the lives. It came to me that everything is possible with God and no matter what our circumstances are we should trust God and persevere in prayer. Hence, I feel the need to share this article with you.

My intension is for you to understand the purpose of preserving in prayer. In prayer there is a certain posture that is delineated in the writer’s comment and I quote “Prayer in its highest form and grandest success assumes the attitude of a wrestler with God” and as praying believers, we should assume this position and preserve. This is powerful. Enjoy!

“God rewards persevering faith. For example, Samuel’s mother Hannah persevered in prayer, and God gave her a son. Faithful to her promise, she gave her son back to God. Without continuance the prayer may go unanswered. Importunity is made up of the ability to hold on, to press on, and to wait with unrelaxed and unrelaxable grasp, restless desire and restful patience. Importunate prayer is not an incident but the main thing, not a performance but a passion, not a need but a necessity.

Prayer in its highest form and grandest success assumes the attitude of a wrestler with God. It is the contest, trial and victory of faith; a victory not secured from an enemy, but from Him who tries our faith that He may enlarge it, who test our strength to make us stronger. Few things give quickened and permanent vigor to the soul as a long exhaustive search of importunate prayer.

It makes an experience, an epoch, a new calendar for the spirit, a new life to religion, a soldierly training. The Bible never wearies in its pressure an illustration of the fact that the highest spiritual good is secured as the return of the out-going of the highest form of spiritual effort. There is neither encouragement nor room in the Bible religion for feeble desires, listless efforts, lazy attitudes; all must be strenuous, urgent, and ardent. Inflamed desires, impassioned, unwearied insistence delight heaven. God would have His children incorrigible in earnest and persistently bold in their efforts. Our seasons of importunate prayer cut themselves, like the print of diamond, into our hardest places, and mark with ineffaceable traces our characters. They are the salient periods of our lives, the memorial stones which endure to which we turn.

Pray and never faint is the motto Christ gives us for praying. It is the test of our faith; and the severer the trial and the longer the waiting, the more glorious the result. How long do you hang on when it comes to praying for a specific need or desire? Do you give up of do you persevere? Try keeping a list of what you pray for and when, and how God answers and when?

Supporting scriptures: Psalm 5:1-3, 40:1, 55:17, 116:2, Luke 11:5-10, 18:1-8, Ephesians 6:18″ (Max Lucado el al)

 

“Prayer is the Battle and the Battle is the Lord’s” by Faith White


Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. –Ephesians 6:11 (NRSV)

Photo accessed here.

What is a “battle”? According to the dictionary, it is defined as a ‘prolonged fight between organized armed forces; a long and difficult struggle’.

As people of God’s Kingdom, we were created for this purpose: to fight in a battle. However, common sense tells us that we cannot engage in such warfare without being prepared; one must be properly attired before stepping on the battle field.

Please turn in your Bibles to Ephesians 6:10-18. In this passage, God is speaking clearly to us about the pressing importance of preparing and equipping ourselves to engage in this warfare. It is imperative to our survival that we know and understand the tactics Satan uses to destroy and devour us. To be ignorant of his schemes and attacks is to give him a winning advantage over our lives, health, home, finances, marriage, ministries, government, and businesses.

When we are finished speaking here today, you will walk away understanding and knowing what spiritual warfare is as well as how and when to use the tools we have available to us as children of God.

The battle is not ours.

Simply put, the battle is not for us to fight, but the Lord’s (vv. 10-14). However, there are still specific guidelines we should take caution to follow. For example, it is essential that we are obedient to the Holy Spirit and listen to His voice.

A Christian’s prayer armor.

According to the Apostle Paul, we are to put on the ‘whole armor of God’ in order to stand against the forces of hell that attack us. It is clearly laid out below:

  • Gird your waist with the belt of truth (v. 14).
  • Put on the breastplate of righteousness (v. 14b).
  • Shod your feet with the Gospel of peace (v. 15).
  • Take up the shield of faith (v. 16).
  • Put on the helmet of salvation (v. 17).
  • Wield the sword of the spirit (v. 17b).
  • Pray in the Spirit at all times (v. 18a).

I have been in Christendom long enough to know that there is no other way around this, either our own way or the devil’s way. Some people are drawn to this point without any understanding. However, it is a daily preparation. For example, every day we get dressed before leaving the house. No one who is of a sound mind would leave their home without being dressed!

So why do we step onto the battlefield in the midst of fierce spiritual warfare without the appropriate attire of a Christian?!

It is no wonder why we lose the battle so often!

Know who you are and what you are about.

You are an ambassador for Christ Jesus. Not a headless chicken running around without purpose or plan. Do not settle for anything less – be spiritually acute and learn to know the difference between the counterfeit and the real thing. After all, if you do not know what the real thing is, you may end up repeatedly settling for counterfeit things.

Be an Executive in the Kingdom of God. An Executive person knows who he or she is. The Executive personality has the potential and power to put plans, policies, and laws into effect. May we also be an Executive for the Kingdom of God.

Getting back to God’s basic instructions for us.

Please turn in your Bibles to 1 Samuel 17:1-11. In this passage, Saul and the entire army of Israel had completely lost their will to fight. Why? Because Goliath harassed them until they were physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually impotent.

They were harassed to the point of cowering in places of shelter, simply waiting for Goliath and the Philistine army to devour them.

Let us follow David’s example, as given in this passage, in addressing the attack the Israelites were under.

“Who is this uncircumcised Philistine?!”

The devil will harass you until you have lost your will to fight the good fight of faith. He will not let up until one of two things happen. First, he will break your will to fight any further. Or, you pick up the sword of the spirit and use it to make the devil obey.

Using the sword of the spirit.

How do we use the sword of the spirit?

Let us get back to the basics and use the tools God has provided us with in the Word of God.

Be very mindful at all times that we are in a battle. Always remember that the devil is the master of counterfeit things. He is always showing up with something “better” than what God has provided us with.

Please note, you may find yourself in a spiritual battle lacking spiritual fortitude, which is manifested in ways such as: little to no Bible study, significant decrease in prayer life, no confession of the Word of God, and limited fellowship with strong believers. Should this be the case, the powers of darkness have broken your will to fight.

Remain vigilant and sober minded at all times, remembering that we are in a battle. But, we are not fighting the battle; God is. Do not be afraid, only stand still. Stand and see what Yahweh Tsebaoth (LORD God of Armies) will accomplish on behalf of His people. He is a God of War, an all-consuming fire. The enemy knows this and as such, he is terrified (Hebrews 10:31 and Luke 12:5).

Seeing past the visible into the invisible.

Please turn in your Bibles to 2 Kings 6:8-17. To believe the impossible and increase our faith in God, one must first ‘see the invisible’. This passage in Scripture involves war between Israel and Syria.  The prophet Elisha informed his people of the enemy’s tactics through prophetic insights (v. 12).

  • Prayer is the key to discerning the adversary’s stratagems.  They key to dispelling Elisha’s servant’s panic was vision/eyes being open to see the invisible. Note these crucial words Elisha prayed. He did not ask God simply to show the servant another miracle. He asked for his servant to see into another dimension.
  •  The answer came immediately.  The Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw.  And behold the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire (v. 17).
  • Seeing into the invisible is the key to victorious praying is discerning spiritual issues from God’s perspective rather than mans.
  • Seeing the adversary’s attack plan, and perceiving God’s angelic strike-force (Ephesians 6: 10-18 and Jeremiah 33:3).
  • In reading Ephesians 6:12, we do not wrestle against flesh and blood. The devil is the father of lies.  He is cunning deceiving and a twister.  His main intention is to paralyze the Church by turning us against each other. We are to be praying earnestly for the Church in general so that our eyes will be opened to see in another dimension when the enemy is busy internalizing things. We also need to know who the real enemy is and what we are fighting against. According to Gills Triplett’s “Satan Wartime Manual” number from 1-10.

I will take you a little into Satan’s war room. Here you will find his strategies and tactical war planning manual. Also, you will know all of these strategies and tactics and when I am done reading you will know his plans of attack from A-Z. He will never gain the advantage over you again.

  1. Break their will to fight
  2. Wear down saints and the enemy will control them
  3. Divide and conquer
  4. Never press a child of God too hard (Exodus 14, 2 Chronicle 20)
  5. Shock and Awe
  6. We will impose our will upon the Church
  7. Turn them away from God by changing the law
  8. The Trojan Horse tactics
  9. Rush in and crush
  10. Find out their weakness and exploit it

Conclusion

Last but not least, Ephesians 6:18 reads “all prayer is literally every order of praying, the specific method by which spiritual warfare is carried on.  Prayer includes supplication in the spirit.” This is where the Holy Spirit-assisted prayer is taught and directed (1 Corinthians 14:14).  Paul clearly shows that such praying may include prayer in a different tongue not known to the person praying. Thus, prayer is not so much a weapon or even a part of the armor, as it is the means by which we engage in the battle itself and purpose for which we are armored.

To put on the armor of God is to prepare for the battle.

  • Prayer is the battle itself with God’s word being our chief weapon employed against Satan during our struggle.