the brass ceiling of our prayer life

In summary I have, through the disciplining of the Lord, as I have passed through his crucible been shown a deeper understanding of prayer.  These meaty morsels of meat concerning ones prayer life have not come easily as old habits and ideas linger on and die slowly. 

Praying according to HIS will was a fundamental truth that the Lord revealed to me many years ago.  A simple child-like attitude, but one that I have not always adhered to.  Watching and praying least I fall into temptation has for me been easier to grasp.  But my difficulty has been praying from a position of strength which I outlined in my third blog on prayer.

There have been occasions when I have been able to line these three building stones and in doing so have laid a solid foundation as I have prayed.  But having lined up all my ‘ducks in a row’ sadly does not guarantee God will answer our prayer when and where we expect.  This is one of the most baffling and frustrating calls of walking in the spirit.  Even when we believe our prayers have been in a righteous vein does not always provide answers from the heavens.

Finding answers to this dilemma can prove to be soul destroying resulting in many a ship wreck of faith.  Those disciples who walk after the call of God know when they pray amiss as it is glaringly obvious.  That God does not answer selfish prayers does not need a special revelation from the Holy Spirit.  But when we pray aright and the prayers bounce off the brass ceiling this needs an answer from God as to why.

Firstly we need to acknowledge the sovereignty of God which is a descriptive term to describe the nature of our Father.  This is a theological concept to describe the very nature of Gods being when he says in Exodus 20:2 – ‘I am the Lord your God.’  Simply put: God is Lord and he can do as he chooses.

But I would like to turn to a well known narrative in John 11 concerning the death of Lazarus.  This is a well known story that has more revelatory truth to mine than the fact that it contains the shortest verse in the Bible.  Like many of the stories in the gospels we tend to capture the surface meaning.  In being lazy diggers of the truth we miss the gems that the Holy Spirit is longing to share with us.

Therefore my prayer is that this passage may enlighten us to what we call ‘unanswered prayer.’  We know the bones of the story that Jesus, when he was told his friend Lazarus was unwell, deliberately delayed coming to his friends’ assistance.  Many with the world’s wisdom would find this strange.  Did Jesus not love both sisters and Lazarus?  Yes he did, and John is at pains to stress this fact twice; accompanied with Jesus openly weeping in public.

Why then did Jesus cause anguish and worry by not answering the request in an acceptable manner?  There was a deafening silence that descended over the house of Mary and Martha as they waited in vain for Jesus, whom they believed, would heal Lazarus.

When our prayers are not answered even though we have been faithful in praying aright with unswerving faith, the silence from heaven can be crushing.  Gods silences are totally baffling and un reasonable as we wait for Gods reply.  So much so that we in our peculiar and unique manner of human reasoning have devised various explanations of why God does not answer.

Maybe we should understand that Gods silences are his answer. Just because the answer did not come as we expected it; can we not comprehend that God, who is sovereign to answer as the Lord of heaven and earth?  Maybe God is opening the door to heaven that we may go in?  Maybe God is bringing a piece of  heaven to earth. Until we manage to wrap our head around these revelatory facts of Gods sovereignty, we will always struggle with Gods silences.

There is much more revelation from this chapter that this necessitates another blog.  Watch this space.

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 John Knox
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K Reynolds (@kreynolds)

It all comes back to trust, doesn't it. We say we "trust God" but do we trust Him when the prayer is not answered in the way we had hoped? Can we trust God even when we are disappointed and even hurt and grieved? Do we really believe that God knows best... or do we just say it?

Deepa N (@deepaanne)