• Jack Selcher

Prayer Principles

God answers prayers mysteriously. When you pray, remember God’s faithfulness. Expect Him to intervene in His own way and time. Don’t let “unanswered prayers” drain away your faith. That was the case in Acts 12. Herod began persecuting church leaders in AD 44. James, the brother of John, was slain first. Peter was to be second. The church prayed without ceasing but didn’t expect his release.

God’s ways don’t always make sense to us, but we can trust Him. I’m glad my prayers haven’t always been answered as I thought they should when I prayed them. I’ve cranked out some really foolish requests!

I’m sure Joseph prayed for deliverance when he was in the cistern (Genesis 37:20). God’s plan was bigger than anything Joseph could imagine. He delivered Joseph in His own time and all his family through him.

To live at peace with “unanswered prayers,” first, we must fill our minds with God’s word. “Your faithfulness continues through all generations” (Psalm 119:90, NIV). “If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself” (2 Timothy 2:13, NIV). “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32, NIV).

Second, we must recall God’s past faithfulness. His choices of a mate, vocation, and a lifestyle of service have brought fulfillment that my choices never would have. Believing God’s choices are wiser than mine helps me accept “unanswered prayers.”

Pray expecting God to intervene. God intervened to save Peter the night before his scheduled execution. Sound familiar?

A Cru staff member didn’t have enough money to pay for transportation to summer training sessions or for the sessions themselves. The day to leave arrived. Convinced the Lord wanted him to go, he loaded the car, started the engine, and waited. In fewer than five minutes a friend appeared and offered his credit card to buy gas on the trip. By the time he and his family arrived at staff training, people had sent enough money to his ministry account to pay for the training sessions.

The church prayed for Peter but expected the worst. Sometimes I pray like that. I remember “unanswered prayers” more vividly than God’s faithfulness. I forget I can’t understand God’s long range plans any better than Joseph could.

My faith is renewed when I realize God intervenes in His own way and time. He isn’t a heavenly pinata which always provides desired goodies if pounded hard enough. We must pray about our problems and be content with God’s timing and solutions.

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See free spiritual growth resources for Christians at https://www.christiangrowthresources.com

Photo: Peter released from prison - Google Search

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