‘My meat is to do the Will of He who sent me.’ Jesus said to the people around Him and to those who cared to listen to Him. This statement indicates that there was a plan right from Heaven about His coming to planet earth. That plan was to fulfill the purpose of the one who sent Him. Hence the reason why Jesus was focused on what God had sent Him to the world to accomplish. This implies that there would always be a reason why things are the way they are with us Christians.
Humanity today is selfishly concerned about what they can accomplish and remain nonchalant to the reason why they are on planet earth. Our passions have always been directed to the things we can achieve through the worldly system and the abomination in wanting to make an attempt in using God to accomplish these set values of ours.
The Church of God (Body of Christ) presently has been turned into another place in the society where people who have problems or challenges go to seek for answers to their problem, or to put it more like today’s cliché, the place where we go to get resolutions to our problems. There are therefore leaders in our Churches who have advertised their organizations to people as a place where God resides and the people only need to visit to be convinced that indeed God must be doing something through the leader. This is displayed by the many solutions provided for the victims who make a visit to the place. The leader would then be seen as the only person who has the corner on the market of prayers so their victims are made to believe that God hears anything the leader says to Him.
One of His disciples came to Him as He came out from the place of prayer, having had another session of praying: he said to Him, “Master, teach us how to pray”. He did not refuse but started to explain what prayer was and the template or format they could use for prayers. He said pray according to this format: Our Father, who is in Heaven, Hallowed is your name… Our Father, who is in Heaven: meaning we have to pray to the Father as our source, not only do we pray to Him, we have to revere Him as the Creator of Heaven and Earth. The lesson taught by Jesus made His disciples realize that praying is not asking but asking is a part of praying. The pivotal point of this lesson is predicated on the fact that we have plans as Christians but irrespective of our plans, God has His own plans for us too. By this,Jesus proclaimed when He said “Thy Will be done on Earth as it is done in Heaven”.
He continued in this lesson with a story so as to drive home His point. It was the story of a man who went to his neighbor’s house to ask for bread at an awkward time. The man was obviously expecting a visitor and according to their culture, hospitality was a strictly observed custom and a man caught without bread for a visitor would be shameful and in a desperately needy position. Only such a need would drive a man to his neighbor’s house at midnight and to this level of importunity. His neighbor grew angry, not because he didn’t have the bread the man was asking for but because he had come at midnight and he was already asleep with his children. In other words, he was fast becoming a nuisance, so his neighbor had no choice but to wake up from sleep to give the man what the man was asking for. His neighbor knew that the man wasn’t going to go and if care is not taken, his children would eventually wake up from their sleep.
The lesson in this story is not to compare the neighbor and his attitude to God and how He gives us what we have asked for, but to borrow from the attitude of the man in need as we approach God in our daily prayers. The word or attitude to look out for in the story is IMPORTUNITY, which means shamelessness, persistence and impudence. This should be our attitude when we approach the throne room of Grace. We are to approach Him like a child approaches his father, knowing the father wants the best for him/her. His neighbor would rise up from his sleep to give him his demands not because they are friends but because of the man’s shameless boldness. We are to approach God without shame; we are to come to Him in boldness, courage and confidence.
“Thy will be done” also carries with it the connotation that, coupled with the boldness and confidence without shame, we are to pray about what God has ordained concerning our situation and not what we want in our myopic way of looking at our challenges or issues. We should be asking God to work in our lives and answer our prayers according to His perfect Will and timing having that confidence that God will do so.
Having said that, Jesus proceeded to tell His disciples to ask and it shall be given to them; He told them to seek and they would find and concluded that they should knock and the door will be opened to them. Did Jesus just say that we should knock, seek and ask for anything? NO, He has only encouraged us to pray giving us the confidence that God hears us every time we pray.
How does God answer us then?
This is where we become despondent and begin to nurse that feeling that maybe God has not heard us mainly because we have not seen physically the answers that we expect to the prayers we have prayed. We are the ones who have become judges to every situation; we determine the positive and the negative, so when we don’t get a positive result to our prayers, we judge that God has refused to answer or did not hear us. The next thing we do is to look for “prayer experts” who claim to know how to speak to God, so that they can present our requests to God on our behalf. This is an abomination before God and it’s contrary to what Jesus said.
In the conclusion of His teaching on how to pray, Jesus cited three examples – if a son comes to ask his father for bread, does he give him a stone; if he comes to ask for fish, will the father give him a serpent or if he comes to ask for an egg, will the father give him a scorpion? He then made a statement saying; if we (who are evil – which all human beings are) know how to give good gifts to our children, what should we expect from God who is not evil. This is not a hide-and-seek game; God is and would always be a better Father than us human beings.
Be encouraged that anytime you pray to God, He hears and answers you. Yes, every time you pray, God hears you and not only does He hear you, He answers you. Now these are the ways God would answer us when we pray, remembering that there is always a difference to what we call positive or negative in the dictionary of God. So what we call positive might not be what God calls positive. God answers YES YOU CAN, NO YOU CANNOT and YES BUT NOT NOW. Whatever answer you get, it’s still an answer. He answers based on His sovereign Will because our thoughts would not always be His thoughts, neither our ways be His way. Jesus taught that we should always have in mind what the Will of the Lord is when we pray.
An example was when Jesus was in the depth of pain (His sweat was as thick as blood) at the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed and said “Lord take away this cup from me”, He didn’t stop the prayer there, He further said, “NOT MY WILL BUT THY WILL BE DONE”. It was God’s Will for Him to drink the cup contrary to the pain in His flesh. So He got an answer from the Almighty. Apostle Paul besought God thrice because of the thorn he had in his flesh and God’s way of answering was that His Grace was sufficient while the thorn remained.
God knows best what to give us because it will be based on “Let thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” no matter how rigorously we pray. What we have today as in possessions materially or spiritually should not and never be based on whether we know how to pray or not. The Will of God is the ultimate criterion and nothing else. So when you get a NO, a YES and a YES BUT NOT NOW, you should take it as an answer from God. STOP running around looking for who can God hear. He hears you every time you call upon Him. This is the confidence that we have, when we pray according to His Will, He HEARS US as our dear Father.
C S Lewis said, “There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, “thy Will be done” and those to whom God says, “All right then, have it your way”