One of our biggest problems in our Christian walk and growth and within the Church as a whole, IS: "Failing to act like God's Word is true." If you ask most Christians if they believe the Bible and what it says, most would answer: "Oh, yes." Then do you believe that the Bible is the Word of God? "Oh Yes, I do, if God says it, I believe it and that settles it."
It is very necessary to realize that people can be very sincere -- very sincerely wrong -- and end up being destroyed by the spirit of evil, even though what they many intend to do is right in their own minds.
You MAY say you believe in the Bible. That means that you are a doer of the Word and not a hearer only (as found in James 1:25). If you believe it, yet fail to do it, it looks like you do not believe it, does it not?
Yet, if you say you believe God, that means you believe His Word, because God and His Word are one and NOT many different parts. You CANNOT believe the Bible and NOT believe God. Actually the same is true of everyone that we come into contact with. If I tell you something and you believe me, that means that you also believe my word, because I and my word are one.
If then, you believe God's Word, you will then have NO hesitation in also doing what His Word says to do . If we SAY we believe everything God says in His Word about me, about you or the circumstances of our lives, IF we really believed, then we could do nothing but ACT like we believe and Do what God has asked us to do to overcome our problems, our sicknesses and our fears.
Let us call to mind just one example. Remember how our Lord said that WE were to take charge and have the responsibility for things here in this world? How, you say? Why would Satan do anything I instructed him to do? Good question! But you see it is not you that is doing the instructing, for when we walk in God's Faith and not just trust in ourselves, THEN Satan is simply responding to what GOD has ordered him to do. It is not us at all that is doing or getting the job done, but only GOD working through us.
It is important for us to memorize some important passages in the Bible because we need to have them at our finger tips when needed. For instance, in the New Testament: James 4:7:
"Submit (i.e. surrender, give yourself to, become one with, claim and confess your relationship with, to voluntarily give) yourselves therefore to God (i.e. in absolute terms, with NO reservations of any kind). RESIST the devil, and he will flee from you."
You must realize that most Christians, sad as it is, do not know that verse and could not quote it to you if their life depended on it. Somehow we have it in our minds that we can just claim the parts of God's Kingdom that WE want, when we want it. Most Christians if they know this verse at all, only remember the last part: "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." Please understand that the WHOLE verse applies to its use. It you do not submit yourself to God FIRST, you can resist the devil or his demons all night and all day, and he will NEVER flee from you, why? -- because you are not claiming God as your source, your head, your absolute and only strength, safety and focal point in your life.
What else do we need to know? Well, we need to always pray in the Present. Wee, what does that mean? It means that we have a present tense God, whose name is: "I AM, THAT I AM." You can only pray in the present.
Let us go back, one more time and review a passage we have already looked at, but this time really go through it. Remember Mark 11:24? "Therefor I way unto you, What things soever you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them." Notice in this verse from the Gospel of Mark, that Jesus does not say, Feel like you receive them. He also does not say Understand, that you receive them. He simply says, Believe it. If you believe the Bible, you will then ACT like what it ways is true, and this includes Mark 11:24.
Look folks, let us really get down to it and get busy and really understand what and how to pray, OK. Let us take Mark 11:24 and really look at what it is telling us. When you have this principle down -- I mean really understand it, then perhaps you will start praying JUST a little bit differently. Let us take this process, point by point until we really understand what this verse in Mark 11:24 if really telling us.
1. Notice this verse says BELIEVE that you receive. If you BELIEVE that you received what you asked God for, that means you do not physically have it yet. For instance: Go you believe you are reading this lesson right now? If you say "YES" you are missing the whole point. Once you see something, have something, you DO NOT have to believe it.
2. Let us look at the next part of this verse, now. "Therefore I say unto you, What soever you desire, when you pray." Your/our "desire" is to be released -- when? When you pray. We must learn to release, let go of, the desire for what ever it is that we just prayed for, for NOW we have it. If you don't do something about your desire, it will bring you to doubt God and that you really have what you have prayed for or that God has not answered you in some way.
Remember, once again, any time you pray, has to be NOW. You are never in the process of actually, physically DOING SOMETHING in the future, or in the past. For instance, you don't stand in the shower with the water running and then say to yourself, "I am going to take a shower in five minutes." You are taking the shower at the moment the water is running -- in the present. right NOW. Praying and believing when you pray -- works the same way.
3. The verse goes on to tell us: "When you pray, believe that you receive them (i.e. the things that you desire), and you shall have them." When are we going to have the things that we have prayed for, using the formula above? It is so simple that almost everyone stumbles over it. You are going to have them AFTER you pray and BELIEVE that you receive them. Only after that are you going to have them. or receive them.
4. Please notice, that you will not have those things when you pray. Otherwise, you would not have to shall have them later. Shall have them, is future tense, but the future is predicated or based on, the present. It is important here that we remind ourselves that the future is never going to come to pass UNTIL and after, the present has come to pass -- and the present is that: you have to believe that you receive them -- when you pray.
So how long AFTER do we have to wait? Jesus does not say. It could be one second after you pray, or one year after you pray. The important part of the prayer is that you have TO BELIEVE that you receive first, before the SHALL HAVE can ever occur.
Folks, what did Jesus our Lord tell us? Say the verse again: "Therefore I say to you, What things soever you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them."
In other words, you will HAVE ONLY what you believed you received WHEN YOU PRAYED! If you did not believe that you received anything, when you prayed, you are NOT going to have anything manifested later. Here again, the words that come out of our own mouths, defeat us and empower Satan to remain with us, bringing us thoughts of failure and defeat, uselessness, low self-esteem and self-worth by convincing us that our prayers are no good, that nothing works and there fore that God does not care for or hear us. Satan is a liar, he is the master of all illusion, he is an enemy of the truth, of God and of God's reality for us in this life.
How do you know that you did NOT believe, by the words out of your own mouth. If you say to someone, "Gee, I prayed for __________ and it didn't work." Or, you go around saying to yourself or others, "I am still sick, I am still disabled, I can't work, I am never going to get any better, I can't seem to understand all of this sickness stuff, it is too hard for me, etc.," or you are continuing to pray for the same thing over and over again. Do you realize what you are saying, in actuality? The only alternative you leave open when you say or proclaim verbally those kinds, of statements IS: That Jesus lied to you. If He did that, we are in big trouble, because He may have lied to us about all the rest of the things He said. He may have even lied to us about our salvation.
Remember, if I have prayed AND believed that I have received, I have to ACT like it is true, I have to TALK like it is true and that what God has said in His Word is true. I will have to say "I BELIEVE THAT I HAVE RECEIVED. I BELIEVE MY NEED IS MET. I BELIEVE THAT THE BILL IS PAID. I BELIEVE THAT THE CANCER IS HEALED. I BELIEVE THAT MY PAST CHILDHOOD HURTS, FEELINGS, THOUGHT OF UNFORGIVINGNESS, MY ABANDONMENT ISSUES ARE HEALED." And I have to say that and act like that is true, even when it is not physically manifested yet -- actually, until it IS manifested in my life. Saying it, confessing it, staying with it and standing ON IT causes it to come to pass. THAT IS WHEN FAITH is Faith. It is when I am believing, thinking, saying and acting like the Word is true.
After your initial prayer of claiming what you desire, the only prayer you should pray relative to the item for which you have just prayed would be a prayer of thanksgiving. It would be simply saying, "Father, I thank you. I believe that have received my need met on Monday (an THIS IS now Friday when you are praying again). I believe that I have received it."
You should not believe that you are GOING to receive, because that is future tense. You have to keep it in the present tense. Jesus says, "When you pray, -- not AFTER you pray." When you pray, is present tense.
One final thought to recap what we have studied in this lesson. Let us turn in our Bibles to 1 John 5:14-15
"And this is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
And if we know that he hears us, whatsoever we ask, we KNOW that we have the petitions (i.e. whatever our prayer was) that we desired of him."
Notice what is NOT said in 1 John 5:14; it does not say, And if we ask anything according to his will, (and we have a good feeling about it, God hears us). It does not say, And if we ask anything according to his will, (and we are sincere, God hears us). It simply says that if we ask anything according to his will, He hears us. So, all the emotional fervor, tears flowing, feelings being expressed will NOT assure you that your prayers will be answered. That is praying by emotion and feeling. IT IS PRAYING BY AND IN FEAR. It is not praying according to the Will of God. What we need to learn ho to do is pray with and by His Word, then we are IN God's will. The Bible says that God confirms his Word with signs following (Mark 16:20). So we need to learn to go to our Bibles when we have a need, find a scripture supporting our request. Then we need to pray the Word of God, pray WITH the Word of God. Then it doesn't matter HOW you feel or where you are emotionally.
How do we have what we have prayed for, well -- we have it by FAITH and Faith IS: "the evidence of things not yet seen." (Hebrews 11:1)
+Perry (Joseph Benedict) Sills, S.T.D.
The Evangelical Orthodox Catholic Church in America
San Jose, California
Mark 11:24 1 Peter 5:7
1 John 5:14-15 John 16:23
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