I have sat in so many sermons in which the essential message is:
God always answers our prayers. But sometimes his answer is no.
And so, for so long, my theology told me that praying was like a grab bag. I could reach up with prayer, but it was impossible to know what would come out of it. Getting my heart’s desire felt more like the luck of the draw than a certain promise.
So I always went into prayer with the reservation, “God might say no.”
I know from experience that this way of praying is a lie and a faith-stealer.
DOES GOD REALLY TELL US NO?
Friends, when our prayers go unanswered, let’s become clear that it’s not because God is saying ‘no’.
No, it’s because God is not hearing us.
Before you get ruffled and think I’m saying God has limited hearing, know I believe God hears and knows all things that happen on Planet Earth. So let me explain further…
God’s not answering us because we’re not actually talking to God. It’s as if he’s sitting in his throne room, and we’re standing outside of it talking at the exterior walls of his palace.
The thing is, if you want access to speak to a king, you can’t just barge in. And yelling at his palace walls will do you no good. There’s a protocol and etiquette you must know in order to gain his favor, enter his presence… and therefore receive his ‘yes’.
HOW GOD HEARS US
…if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (1 Chron. 7:14)
God told King Solomon that if things start going south for the people of Israel because they’ve reverted to taking what they don’t have instead of asking God for it (see 1 Chronicles 6-7), then the way to bring remedy to the land was to start coming to God for their desires. 1 Chronicles 7:14 was God’s prescribed protocol and etiquette for coming into his heavenly throne room to be heard by him and receive his “yes”.
This prescription is exactly how the Kingdom of God created in Christ today accesses God’s Heavenly throne room and receives his yes to their wishes as well (compare with Matt. 6:9-13).
Therefore, the protocol and etiquette you and I must know to enter God’s hearing and receive his ‘yes’ is…
Recalling Jesus’ Name
When we believe in Jesus as our savior, we are no longer Adam-lings, but Christ-lings. We are a new race of humanity re-created from a new first of a species (through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus; see Romans 6:1-4). Adam was the first of the human race. Christ became the first of the new-human race. Therefore, we must approach God reckoning on the name of Jesus, believing we are a new-human originated in Christ. No one comes to the Father except through Jesus (John 14:6). This is what that verse means. If you want access to God’s ear (and therefore his ‘yes’), you must keep in mind that your presence in Christ is what grants you access.
Like we learned yesterday, humbling ourselves involves realizing and believing God knows all things and is intrinsically good. And we don’t, and we aren’t. When we come to him we must know who we are compared to him.
We gain access to God’s ear when we consciously wish-toward him instead of taking what we want via our own means. Instead of living self-sufficiently, we live God-sufficiently. Unceasingly trusting Him to supply for every weakness, insult, hardship, persecution and difficulty.
Seeking His Face
When Moses cried out to God to show him his glory, God responded with, “My face you cannot see” (Ex. 33:18-20). God’s glory is his riches. His riches are his thoughts. And his thoughts are stored “on his face.” When we seek God’s face, we’re seeking his great resources for our situation. And we’re not seeking them simply so we can return to ease and self-sufficiency. No! We’re seeking him from a heart that wants to stay in the throne room even after he gives us his “yes”. (See also James 4:1-10)
Turning From Their Wicked Ways
Friends, when we approach God, we must be willing to participate in whatever his “yes” entails. When we approach God we must not only make our petition known, but we must spend time listening to his voice, determining to follow him. Never forget, God writes brilliant life stories for his children. He knows the means to get us to the good end.
It is this exact protocol that will gain you God’s favor, which will grant you access to speak to God’s own face in His own throne room, which will grant you the only answer He gives those who enter his presence: yes!
See, we can’t even enter his throne room—his hearing—unless we’re poised in heart for his ‘yes’.
God is teaching both you and I that when we’re praying to him in his throne room, he never tells us no! Wow!
Friends, study this. Learn by heart this way of coming to God, and you’ll have his ‘yes’ every day of the rest of your life!
One thing have I asked of [the LORD], that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of [the LORD] all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of [the LORD], and to inquire of him in his temple. (Ps. 27:4, Darby Translation).
If you have time today, go read all of Psalm 27! It will surely thrill you!
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