WEEK 9: Pray with Expectation
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” 1 John 5:14
As a ministry, we support quite a few missionaries in the field on a monthly basis. During one particular month in 2016, we were R50,000 short on what we needed to pay these field workers. With only two days before we needed to make payment, our team discussed the financial situation and then prayed about it. It was 8:35am. Our ministry leader prayed on the team’s behalf for less than a minute, saying something along these lines: “Lord, You said we need to seek Your Kingdom first and then You will give us all we need. You know we are in need of R50,000. Would You please enable us to meet the needs of Your servants in the field? We give this matter to You now. Amen.” As the team stood up to go back to the normal morning routine, I was wrestling with a thought in my mind: “For a big amount like this, we need to spend at least more than a minute in prayer, and we need to motivate why God needs to help us… maybe even let the whole team pray instead of only one person. That might have given more weight to what we requested from God.” As I battled with this in my mind, I went back to work.
At nine that morning, our team leader opened an email that had been sent to him at 8:35am, the same time we had prayed. It was proof of an electronic transfer made to the ministry for the amount of R50,000. The people who had made the payment said that the Lord had spoken to them as a couple in their quiet time that morning and they had felt led to make the deposit. I could not believe what had just happened. Does God really listen to His children when they seek His face via prayer? Of course, I believed in the power of prayer, but all of a sudden, the reality of God listening to the prayers of His children became so much more evident.
In Acts 12:6-19, we see the congregation praying for Peter who was locked up in jail. In response to the prayers of God’s children, an angel was commanded by God to set Peter free. Immediately, Peter went to Mary’s house where the believers were praying.
“Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer the door. When she recognised Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, ‘Peter is at the door!’ ‘You’re out of your mind,’ they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, ‘It must be his angel.’” (Acts 12: 13-15)
It is interesting to see that even the believers in Acts 12 were praying without expecting God to answer them in such a profound way!
We know that prayer is not a magic wand we use to get whatever we want. We know that God does not always answer our prayers in a way that seems to ‘fit’ from our perspective. We also know that He does not always give us everything we ask for, purely because we don’t always have the spiritual insight to see things the way He does. But the reality remains: God listens to the prayers of His children. We read in Psalm 116: 2: “I love the Lord, for He heard my voice… Because He turned His ear to me, I will call on Him as long as I live.”
May God bless us with a heart full of expectation knowing that when we pray, God is listening. May God give us the wisdom to seek His Kingdom first and pray according to His will. May we be filled with joy as He makes Himself known through the way He answers our prayers.
When you pray, may you be blessed with a heart full of expectation.