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February 2015

SCHOOL OF PRAYER (Lesson # 2):

When God says, “Yes”


By Beverley Carter

To have a true and worthwhile prayer life, we need to saturate ourselves in God’s Word.  Prayer is about bilateral communication with God: we speak to God through prayer and God speaks to us through His Word.
Over the years, I have met many people who depend on their pastor or a devout prayer warrior to pray for them.  Although there is nothing wrong with asking others to pray for us, we should not rely exclusively on such prayers.  We need to communicate directly with God.  Most personal prayers should be between us and God.  When we always depend on others to pray on our behalf, we forfeit the precious and rewarding relationship that can only develop through direct communion with God.
Nevertheless, when we face a major crisis or overwhelming challenge, God encourages us to call on family and trusted friends to pray and intercede on our behalf.  “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2
There are also times for corporate prayer for the special needs within our community, in our nation and around the world.  For example, we need to pray for terrorism to be stopped worldwide.
A four-year-old boy prayed, “Forgive us our trash baskets (trespasses) as we forgive those who put trash in our baskets.” Despite his word selection, I think he had the right idea.  God always answers, “yes” to a sincere prayer of repentance. Let us now consider why God sometimes answers, “yes” to our prayers and at other times He answers, “wait.”
1.  God loves to hear the prayer, “What must I do to be saved?”
In Acts 4:12 we read: “Salvation comes through one Name only, Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Acts 2:21 reads, “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the Name of the lord shall be saved.”
Jesus will always say, “yes” to that prayer request.
2.  When we ask God to guide us and to help us accomplish His will in every aspect of our life, He will faithfully do so, as promised in Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” 
3.  Another prayer request to which God loves to respond “yes” is when we ask Him to help us win souls to Christ and to help those in need.
I have a great testimony for this one.  Between 1991 and 2012, John and I, along with our team, conducted 20 evangelistic and follow-up meetings in the former Soviet Union.  Through prayers and the preaching of God’s Word, we have seen the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the hearts of thousands of atheists and former communists.  I would stand behind the curtain where John and his translator were preaching and pray right through each meeting.  There were also a group of Russians in a back room praying all the way through.  From my vantage point, I could see the faces of the people, and at the beginning of the first meeting, they looked so sad with eyes that were empty of hope.
Communism and atheism had left these Russians with nothing, but as John gave them evidence from archeology, prophecy and history to believe in the Bible, things began to change.  John then introduced them to the God of the Bible, and he explained that this God loved them very much.  They weren’t machines to be controlled by dictators, but were precious human beings for whom Jesus gave His life.
As they heard the story of the Cross and how one day soon, this same Savior will come back to take them to a better place, I saw a great change in their countenances.  Eyes that had been filled with sadness and hopelessness were now filled with joy and hopefulness!  Through intercessory prayer—praying for the salvation of others—we have seen the miracle of thousands of changed lives.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing…If you remain in Me…ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you…You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that WHATEVER YOU ASK in My Name the Father will give you. – John 15: 5, 7, 16.  (In these verses, we find that God’s promise to “give us whatever we ask” pertains to our work for the winning of souls, for bearing much fruit.)
4.  God will always respond “yes” to our prayers when we ask for His comfort and peace as we go through deep and dark valleys.  If we ask, He will provide us with comfort as we suffer through discouragement and/or depression.  “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say on the Lord”. – Psalm 27:14.  “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.” – Psalm 55:22
5.  When we ask for God’s help to gain victory over sin and temptation, He will always respond “yes” to such a prayer. For God has said, “I will never, never fail you nor forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5.  “No temptation has overtaken you except such is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to stand against it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13
The “yes” part of prayer is best summed up in 1 John 5:14-15: “This is the assurance we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him.”
NEXT TIME: When God says, “wait.”
If you have any questions or comments, please email me directly at schoolofprayer(at)cartereport.org

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