God’s Will Through Prayer

  Prayer is an intimate, personal responsibility.  Bishop Fulton J. Sheen has said that there are three things a person ought to do for himself.  They are: blow your own nose, do your own loving and do your own praying.  There are those who say, “I cannot pray.”  Not true.  If you can think, you can pray. The first thing a baby does when he or she is born physically is to cry.  That is the natural thing to bring about breathing, for the continuance of life.  So it is with the child of God, it is natural to cry out to God, for prayer is the breath of the Christian. We must pray or die spiritually.

  What is prayer?  Prayer is talking with God, holding conversation with Him. Now, who do we talk to the most?  Our friends.  So, prayer becomes a matter of friendship with God.

  What is the purpose of prayer? Prayer is at its highest and noblest when it’s purpose is not to get something, but to get close to someone, even God. Too often prayer is a matter of trying to use God rather than asking God to use us. The purpose of prayer is not to tell God what we want Him to do. Prayer is asking Him to do something with us – asking Him to make us ready and willing and worthy to do what He wants us to do.

  There are definite limitations to prayer.
1. Our prayers are limited by God’s world.  If our prayers were answered to change external laws, we would govern the world and not God.  And, do you think, for one moment, that we could govern it better?
2.Our prayers are limited by our human bodies.  We grow older, our bodies decay and we die. This is the fixed order of things. Prayer cannot overcome broken rules for good health.
3.Our prayers are limited by wrong doing. No matter how hard we pray – God will not bless our indifference, neglectful, selfish ways.  James wrote, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”  James 4:3
Christ’s teachings on prayer are conditional. We must pray in accordance with His will.  “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”  I John 5:14    We must be living for Christ, for Jesus said, “If you remain in Me, and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.”   John 15:7   Prayer seeks not to force our will on the Eternal One, but to seek to do the will of God.

  What do we pray for?  We pray to co-operate with God. We need to cooperate with God in permitting Him to work out His will through us. Remember, that nothing lies beyond the reach of prayer, except that which lies outside of the will of God.

 Daniel Poling’s son came to his father’s study before leaving for the service, during the time of war, to ask a very difficult thing.  “Dad”, he said, “I don’t want you to pray for my return, that would’nt be fair. Many will not return and to ask God for special family favors just wouldn’t be fair. Pray, Dad, that I shall do my duty and something more, pray that I shall never be a coward. Pray that I shall have strength, courage, understanding of men, and especially that I shall be patient.  Oh, Dad, just pray that I shall be adequate.”  
Daniel Poling’s son was one of the four chaplains of three faiths, who were on the S.S. Dorchester which sank in iceberg waters within 27 minutes after being torpedoed at 1:15 a.m. February 3, 1943.  With utter
disregard of self, having given away their life-jackets to four people without them, the chaplains stood hand in hand praying as the boat sank drowning them.                (I believe his prayer was answered.)

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