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As believers, many times we get confused about how we can get our Father to answer our prayers. And there have been many books written about how to get your prayers answered. The problem with most of those books is that they assume that God has only one answer. But really, to read the Bible is to say, "First of all, here is a sovereign Father," which means what? Well, first of all, He's God and I am not. But two, through the Gospel, He is my father. And Father knows best. And really, therefore, one of the great things the Gospel does in our heart is to free us to accept the full vocabulary of God's answers. Sometimes when we pray, God says, "Yes."
Sometimes He says, "No."
Sometimes He says, "I ain't telling ya."
Sometimes he says, "Not yet."
So really, a part of the shift we need to make is from thinking that God is a computer to be programmed. It I just punch in the right code, I can get the answer I want. It really is a good thing that God doesn't always give us what we ask for. We see that model throughout scripture. The apostle Paul once prayed that he could carry on a ministry in one part of the then known world. The Lord shut the door that he might really bring the gospel to Macedonia. In fact, in prayer, one of my favorite scriptures ... two of my favorite scriptures would be this. The Book of Proverbs says, "We plan, but God orders our steps."
See part of praying is planning. Lord, here's what I understand your will to be from the scripture. I'm gonna pray palms up. Lead my steps. Another scripture in the book of Revelations says that. "Jesus is the one that opens doors that no man can shut, and he shuts doors that no man can open." There's freedom in that. I don't have to beat myself up when God did not give me what I planned for. I can freely say, "Jesus, I'm glad you're an active shepherd. You're leading. You're guiding. You bid me ask for anything to your glory. But I can trust you that you do all things well."
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