PRAYER SERIES, WEEK 2, FACTORS TO CONSIDER, 27.01.20
PRECONDITIONS TO ANSWERED PRAYER
THE GOAL IN THIS SERIES IS FOR THE STUDENT/READER/PARTICIPANT TO INDULGE IN A GROWTHFUL, HANDS-ON LEARNING, EXPERIENCE.
IN SO DOING, EACH PARTICIPANT IS ENCOURAGED TO:
- SLOW DOWN
- MEDITATE ON THE MATERIAL
- DRINK IN THE WORDS YOU ARE READING
- PERSONALIZE – INTERNALIZE
- CHEW, DIGEST & ABSORB
- MAKE HANDS-ON APPLICATION OF WHAT IS IDENTIFIED
TO FACILITATE THE ABOVE APPROACH, STUDY CORNER WILL FOCUS ON ONE SEGMENT EACH DAY – i.e., STUDY TOPIC, STUDY GUIDE, & PRAYER GUIDE.
THIS ALLOWS TIME TO INDULGE ONE’S CONCENTRATION SOLELY ON ONE SEGMENT AT A TIME, EACH DAY, BEFORE PROCEEDING WITH THE NEXT.
BY ENGAGING IN THIS PROCESS, EACH INDIVIDUAL HAS OPPORTUNITY TO FULLY INTERNALIZE, PARTAKE OF, & OWN THE EXPERIENCE, ACHIEVING PERSONAL, AND LASTING IMPACT.
Last week, STUDY CORNER looked at the most basic tenet for praying in God’s will – i.e., by praying His Word.
This week, STUDY CORNER will consider some very important preconditions to praying into God’s Word, as it pertains to expectations for answered prayer.
As referred to last week, praying God’s Word calls for a certain degree of familiarity with God’s Word. Similarly, and additionally, there are other important factors to consider. Today STUDY CORNER will look closer at three primary ingredients:
- BELIEVING in the WORDS spoken/prayed.
- WALKING IN OBEDIENCE to/LIVING IN ACCORDANCE WITH “CLAIMED” WORDS.
- KEEPING spoken/prayed Words IN CONTEXT.
The integration of God’s Word in its proper context is central to praying God’s Word.
To place a passage within its proper context, it is imperative to look at the Scripture immediately preceding and following the selected passage. It is also essential to reference other places in Scripture to locate affiliated topics, and thereby flesh out the full meaning of the passage.
Scriptures are regularly isolated and taken out of context, used to back up a statement of choice, without regard to how this topic is approached in similar and/or different but affiliated circumstances, situations and contexts throughout Scripture. This can result in a very distorted, perverted twist, or a partial truth, neither of which is desirable or productive.
Using John 15:7 as an example, STUDY CORNER will demonstrate this common practice. Just because Jesus/Yeshua says “ask what you will and it will be done unto you,” it does not follow that one can, without any additional considerations, expect that whatever one asks for will be given. It does not literally intend for that to be so.
When this all-too-common partial quote is applied in isolation, the misguided impression leads believers to claim/speak/declare Scripture without any due consideration to possible conditions, parameters, or requirements of any kind. Many gleefully take the ball and run with it. Aah, but not so fast . . .. ..
Taken entirely out of its proper context, this partial quote from John 15 (and many others like it), isolated & liberally applied, creates false expectations in the immature believer, setting the individual up for disappointment, doubt, and confusion.
God’s Word as our foundation, whether it is a song, poem, prayer, or study, must be put in context; and we do this in two ways: (a) by considering those passages immediately preceding and following the selected passage, and (b) by connecting that passage to other passages dealing with, and perhaps expanding on that same topic. Few passages stand alone, and without making connections, errors in application occur.
Let’s take a closer look – up close and uncomfortable . . . . .
STUDY the following set of passages:
4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you,
unless you abide in Me.
5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
Notice that when the verses preceding #7 are studied, some stringent conditions are detected which must necessarily be met prior to assumed application.
Notice too, the little, but very significant word “if” that severely limits such assumptive and liberal freedom to ask for whatever is wanted.
Another element to take note of is the purposeful outcome outlined in verse 8. This statement hinges entirely on all the previously outlined conditions having been met. Secondly, this final statement makes it very clear that there is a specific set of desired outcomes – i.e., God has a specific purpose in mind.
It also identifies the ultimate benefit/pay-off/blessing. And it is most often not what the individual praying had in mind.
Without having included the preceding passages, the erroneous conclusion leads to expectations that will likely go unmet. Unmet expectations fuel disappointment, and foster doubt, even unbelief, creating an unnecessary crisis of faith. Many individuals who experience a crisis in faith only do so because of these types of misconceptions, false teachings, and erroneous assumptions/expectations.
Considering the fact that the previous set of verses have mapped out a pathway that must be followed prior to the expectation of asking for and receiving whatever your little heart desires introduces a completely different outlook. Most requests, expectations, or desires that people have, in order to receive the desired outcome from prayer requests, must meet specified conditions in order for them to fall within the parameters of the Father’s will.
Oh, my beloved friends, God’s Ways are so much higher than any of ours; and His thoughts are so far above
any of ours . .. .. (Isa.55:8,9); but, take heart, in the end – in the final outcome – the things that THE FATHER DESIRES for us are so much better than what our finite carnal little minds can conceive of, we are so much better off if we simply relent, and surrender . . .. trust and obey, for there’s no other way . .. . .
ETHNOS 360 BIBLE INSTITUTE, Stephen Narwold, “The Importance of Biblical Context,” https://e360bible.org/blog/importance-biblical-context/, 07.07.2017.
© 2020 by Verna Crowther. All rights reserved.