Let’s say Carol and I need a Special Widget for an important business project, which must be done right away. All of our money and resources are tied up in the project. So, we need to finish it as quickly as possible.
We jump in our Honda and search all over Temecula, but Best Buy, Staples, Home Depot, and all the other stores have no Special Widgets on hand. We then decide to check Amazon.com and there is one in stock. We purchase it with our VISA Card and have it sent by FedEx. An email from Amazon confirms our order and also gives us a tracking number from FedEx to follow the Special Widget’s delivery route online.
The next day, a friend asks if we have found a Special Widget as yet. “Yes, we have purchased one. It’s on the way,” we answer with big smiles on our faces.
“Are you sure?” the friend asks, raising both eyebrows.
“Yes,” we reply, without any doubts in our minds.
How can we be so sure the Special Widget will arrive at our home?
Carol and I trust the reputations of Amazon and FedEx. The two corporations have a long history of carrying out what they promise to do. Plus, we have guarantees to back up our trust in an email confirmation and a tracking number.
The above Special Widget story is a perfect analogy to show how God answers our prayers.
First, who has the better reputation −Amazon, FedEx, or God?
The answer is obvious for us believers: God.
He never lies, never fails, never sleeps, is omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, and has all of heaven backing His commands. And guess what? God created Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, and Frederick W. Smith, founder of FedEx. So, obviously, God is not overwhelmed by the intricacies of the marketplace or anything at all.
Second, when did Carol and I own the Special Widget in the above story?
As soon as we purchased it from Amazon with our VISA Card, we owned it. It was ours before it ever showed up at our home.
Okay, when do we receive (or own) the answers to our prayers?
For this reason I am telling you, whatever things you ask for in prayer [in accordance with God’s will], believe [with confident trust] that you have received them, and they will be givento you. (Mark 11:24 Amplified Version)
In much the same way as ordering the Special Widget from Amazon, we must believe by faith that God has answered our prayers as soon as we pray them. It doesn’t matter that we don’t see the answers with our natural eyes because we must have faith the answers are on the way, just like we trusted the Special Widget was on its way via FedEx.
Third, Amazon sent us a confirmation email and FedEx gave us a tracking number. Because of these two guarantees, we felt safe in trusting them.
What about God?
Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses]. (Hebrews 11:1 Amplified Version)
Faith in God that He will answer our prayers is our confirmation from the Lord.
Okay, faith may not always seem as tangible as an email confirmation and a tracking number, but here’s something we can do to make it more concrete for us.
Because our Father in heaven is a covenant-making God, we can make a covenant with Him. His covenants with Adam, Noah, Moses, David, and Jesus are written down in the Bible and still in force today. The word “covenant” means pledge or legal agreement between two parties, in this case God and man.
Here’s what I often do:
I write down my prayers for my children and others in a special notebook. For example, let’s say I have prayed for my daughter to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire. I write down her name, the date of the prayer, and Matthew 3:11, the verse where the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire is mentioned. This becomes a written covenant between God and me.
From the moment I write it down, I no longer ask God to baptize my daughter in the Holy Spirit and fire, but instead I thank Him for doing it. You see, the prayer was answered when I prayed it.
I flip through my notebook often each week, thanking the Lord for answering my prayers for my children and others.
If doubt ever hits me about my prayers, I open my notebook and point to the date and scripture, reminding God of our covenant.
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.(Colossians 4:2)
(The above is an excerpt from Praying for the Frozen Chosen: Our Children by Larry Nevenhoven, © 2016, Amazon eBook)
(Continued in Part 7)