IT IS OF VITAL IMPORTANCE that after we have prayed we never go back on our prayers. Many repudiate the Word by the confession of a doubt or admission of a doubt into their consciousness. Isaiah 55:11, “So shall My Word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereunto I sent it.” The heart must be rooted and grounded in the Word so that what He says is final with us. You prayed and you know it was His will.
1 John 5:14, 15, “And this is the boldness which we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us: and if we know that He heareth us whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions which we have asked of Him.”
That word, “boldness,” is “successful.” It means a fearless confidence. We prayed according to His will. Then we are assured that He heard us; and if He hears, that is as good as an answer.
But how can you know that He heard you? Because it was His will and you are here to do His will. You and He are cooperating. You pray according to instructions given by Him. You approach Him through the Name. John 16:23, 24, “And in that day ye shall not pray to Me. Verily, verily, I say unto you, if ye shall ask anything of the Father, He will give it you in My Name.” Jesus has given to us a legal right to use His Name, and His Name is the same as Himself. When you come to the Father in Jesus’ Name, it is as though Jesus Himself were standing there. John 6:38, “For I am come down from Heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me.” You are acting in Jesus’ stead. You have no selfish desires that prompted your prayer. Your prayer is for someone who desperately needs His help, and you come as the mediator between him and the Father. You are taking Jesus’ place, acting in His stead. You know that Jesus would do exactly as you are doing.
The Father hears you. His Word guarantees that, for you have prayed according to His will. Now you stand by that prayer. You do not let the enemy steal it away from you.
In Genesis 15:10 there is a wonderful illustration. Abraham and Jehovah were entering into a covenant. Jehovah had said, “Take Me an heifer of three years old, and a she-goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another; but the birds divided he not. And when the fowls came down upon the carcasses, Abraham drove them away.” The offering lay upon the altar. It was God’s offering. Birds of prey would steal it before it was consumed, so Abraham watched over it.
This living Word that has been given to us is from God. It is God’s part of the prayer-life. It is like the animals laid upon the altar. You have prayed in Jesus’ Name, and the answer has not yet come; it had not come to Abraham yet. Now the birds of prey, demons, would steal that Word from your heart, that God-given message; but you watch over it. You won’t let the adversary touch it. Then you turn to Philippians 4:6, “In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” You have done this. The requests have been made known. Now with thankful quietness you wait. Someone says, “But your prayer is not answered.” The fever is still there, or the bill is still unpaid.
You drive the birds away. You refuse to let them alight upon the Word and destroy it. The Word is God’s part of the offering, and you know that “no Word from God is void of ability to make good.” Your heart knows that the case is settled. You asked for rain, so you put on your raincoat and your rubbers. You are ready when the rain comes. You asked for money, so you made provision to pay the bill. You asked for healing, so you get out of bed and walk. Didn’t He say if you ask anything according to His will, He hears you? Yes! Didn’t that give you boldness to go and act as though the prayer were already answered? Yes. When you know that He hears, that you have His attention, you know that you have the petition. What would you naturally do? You would praise Him, wouldn’t you?
You are certain that it is settled. Satan cannot hinder the answer. 1 Peter 5:7 is yours: “Casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He careth for you.” Notice that “Word,” because that is the secret. He loves you and He gave you His Word, and you are resting on that Word. There is a slang word that has become a part of our language. You have the answer “in the bag.” It is just as though you had the money in your hands. You are as certain of it as though the Master had come into the room and had said, “Here is the thing for which you have been praying.” This morning I needed four dollars. I had said that I expected that He would stir the hearts of men and women who had been blessed by His ministry through me, and that they would send the money. A man living outside of town heard His call and brought the four dollars. That is the secret. I knew that He would do it. I thanked Him for it, and I got it..
Mark 11:24, “All things whatsoever ye pray and ask for, believe that ye have received them and ye shall have them.” You see, believing is possessing. When I believe His Word, I possess the thing that His Word has guaranteed. I made my request and boldly made provision to use that request at once. Jesus showed us this in John 14:13, “And whatsoever ye shall ask in My Name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” When you pray in that Name, Jesus takes it over. Then it is in His care. It is no longer your burden as long as you do not repudiate it by a wrong confession. He is your standby. Your prayer is based upon His Word. It is His business to make it good.
But supposing the answer is delayed? You remember Abraham. Romans 4:16-22. (Read the whole of this carefully.) In the eighteenth verse it says, “Who in hope believed against hope, to the end that he might become a father of many nations, according to that which had been spoken.”
Hope is always future. Faith is always now. He had hoped for a son. Now faith takes the place of hope. Hope is pushed aside. He remembered the God that “calleth the things that are not as though they were, and they become.” It is God Who looked into the empty space and said, “There is a sun shining there”; and the sun becomes. “A constellation of stars are there,” and they become. You remember Matthew 18:19, 20. Jesus said, “If two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything they shall ask, it shall become” (marginal rendering). Your word, then, in Jesus’ Name, makes things come into being, or come to pass. Abraham, then, “Without being weakened in faith, considered his own body now as good as dead (being about a hundred years old) and the deadness of Sarah’s womb.”
Sense Knowledge could see that, but an angel had spoken from God. So “looking unto the promise that God had made, he wavered not through unbelief, but waxed strong through faith, giving glory to God.” And his faith told him that God would give him anything that He had promised. So his son was born to him. Abraham considered the promise and acted upon it. Jeremiah 33:3, “Call unto Me and I will answer thee and show thee great and difficult (or fenced in) things which thou knowest not.” You take Him at His Word, and your heart overflows with joy that He has given you His Word. The thing for which you have prayed simply is. You have called into being a thing that was not because His Word had given you the assurance of it.
Jeremiah 1:12, “I watch over My Word to perform it.” You have held up His Word to Him. You say, “Father, here is what You said through Jesus. Here is what you said through Paul. Here is what you said through your prophets and disciples. Here is what you said through your beloved disciple, John. I have acted upon it and I do thank you for making it good.” You have taken Jesus’ place. You are acting as Jesus would have acted. You are doing the Father’s own will just as Jesus did it in His earth walk. You and Jesus are one. You act for Him. Your will and His will are harnessed. They make a unit. How beautiful it is. You can say, “Father, just as Jesus came down from Heaven to do your will, so I have been born from Heaven to do your will.”
Philippians 4:1.1-13 (Way’s translation): “I have learned in whatsoever condition I am to be independent of circumstances. I am schooled to bear the deepness of poverty; I am schooled to bear abundance. In life as a whole and in all its circumstances I have mastered the secret of living-how to be the same amidst repletion and starvation, amidst abundance and privation. I am equal to every lot through the help of Him Who gives me inward strength.” Did you notice he said, “I have mastered the secret of living; I am independent of circumstances”? When one is master of circumstances, he has taken on his rights and privileges in Christ. The Word has become a reality. He says fearlessly, “I can do anything that my Father wishes me to do, because greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.”
Just as Jesus said, “I came down from God,” you say, “I am from God, and I am an overcomer; because greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
So, you see the secret of living is living in His Word. That is His will. Philippians 4:19, “And my God shall supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” God is your supply. Its limit is His will. His will only limits your ability. “My Father does supply,” you whisper over and over again. Matthew 6:26-33, “Your Heavenly Father feedeth them.” He is using the birds as an illustration. Then He says, “How shall He not much more clothe you?” The thirty-second verse reads: “For your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.”
Your Heavenly Father knows your needs, knows your surroundings, the opposition, knows the whole thing. You rest in Him. You are His child; you are in His family; you are a branch of the Vine. He is the Husbandman. He cares for the vineyard. He knows about it. You are His fruit-producer. You are His connection with the unsaved world. You are His connection with the church and the people in your community. You have His life, His nature. You have His light and wisdom. You have His love. You have Him. He lives in you. By giving Him His place, you let Him have freedom in you. 1 John 3:2, “Beloved, now we are children of God.”
Take your place as a child; act your part. Assume your rights and responsibilities. You are His righteousness. Yes, you are His righteous one (Hebrews 10:38). You are to act by faith, live by faith, show the faith walk. Why? You glorify Him. You make men know that He can be trusted, and you are bearing now the fruits of righteousness. Righteousness means your ability to stand in the Father’s presence with no sense of guilt or inferiority. He made you righteous, and you do not discredit what He has made you to be. You are what He says you are. 1 John 5:4, 5, “For whatsoever is begotten of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory that hath overcome the world, even our faith.” Our faith took us into the family of overcomers. Our faith made us sons and daughters of God. Our faith has made us the very righteousness of God, has made us New Creations of God.
“And who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” You stand before the world as God’s overcoming son. 2 Corinthians 10:4, 5 (Way’s Translation), “Very human as I am, I do not fight with merely human weapons. No, the weapons with which I war are not the weapons of senses, but in the strength of God they are mighty enough to raze all strongholds of the foe. I can batter down bulwarks of human reason. I can scale every cragged fortress that towers up bidding defiance to the true knowledge of God.” This translation startles you. We have never appreciated what we are in Christ. We have never appreciated His invitation in Hebrews 4:16 to come boldly to the Throne of Grace. That Throne of Grace is a throne of love gifts. It is a throne where love meets love. Love plans there to bless the world.
He has made you righteous with His righteousness. He has made you strong with His own strength. Now you can face the foes of your Christ as a victor.
The shield of faith, your quiet confidence in the Word of God, catches every fiery dart of the enemy. The sword of the Spirit is not used against men, flesh and blood, but is used against your enemies. What is this sword of the Spirit? It is the Word of God. Ephesians 6:10-18 is like an arsenal. There you equip yourself to meet your adversaries. You never use the sword to hurt folks, to cut them; but you use it as you face your enemy, “praying with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit,” with a quiet confidence that your prayer will be answered just as Jesus’ prayers were. You can look up and say as did Jesus at the grave of Lazarus, “Father, I thank Thee that Thou always Nearest Me.”
Here is Way’s Translation of 2 Corinthians 2:14, “Not that my going was my own choosing. No, thank God, it is He Who everywhere leads me, leads in the Messiah’s triumphant procession. By me He wafts abroad in every land the knowledge of Jesus, the incense of His triumphant march. Yes, I am the Messiah’s incense up-wafted to God in the way of all the light of those who are going to deliverance and those who are going to destruction.”
Advanced Bible Course