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February 2021

Why do my prayers seem to go unanswered?

By America Prays, General News No Comments

First of all, it is important to recognize that there are many reasons why prayers “seem” to be unanswered, or at least not answered in the way we would wish or expect:

  • The most common reason is that we have already determined what the answer we want to hear or see is before we actually ask God. In other words, we make the decision about the answer rather than waiting on the answer God wishes to give…we don’t ask God to do what He feels is best in our situation or someone else’s.
  • We may ask God with wrong motives…usually because we selfishly want something to benefit ourselves or those we know. Perhaps our prayer may be completely counter to God’s will and purposes. It is important for us to realize that every prayer we pray should bring honor and glory to God alone!
  • If we are intentionally living sinful lives, God is under no obligation to answer our prayers (Psalm 66:18). We need to check our lives carefully before coming to God with our requests and needs. If there is sinfulness, we need to confess it before Him because He promises to forgive us (1 John 1:9)…opening the way to His response to our prayer lives! This is the grace-filled life with God.
  • Sometimes we ask in a half-hearted way rather than praying with faith and power, which can make our prayer ineffective and weak…much like a medical treatment that fails because it isn’t the correct dosage or even the correct treatment. The prayer of desperation cries out to God because He is the only place to go when we are in need.
  • Sometimes what we are asking infringes upon the needs of another person, or pits us against them – even unintentionally. It’s like two parents on opposing sides rooting for the team their child plays for to win. This is asking God to take sides instead of asking forHis best in a situation. God knows what we…and our children need even more than we do! He will help us to handle loss, pain and struggle when it comes, just as He will rejoice with us in celebration and victory.
  • Our “bad” circumstances are not caused by God. We live in a fallen world where “bad things happen to good people.” Recognizing that God, through His life in us, can take our pain, disappointments and roadblocks into His heart and give us comfort, reassurance and victory in the midst of difficulty and struggle will keep us filled with hope, peace and strength. He will sometimes allow the circumstances in our lives to lead us to something better even though we may not see it at the time. He will also utilize anything the enemy attempts to do to us in ways that will be used for good – even when we may not perceive it – if we will trust Him enough to ask (Matthew 7:9-11). Too many people blame God, and walk away from their faith because they feel their prayers were not heard, were not answered, or that their prayers were not answered as they expected…because they do not understand this truth about God… He wants to give us His very best. He is always present in the believer. He understands our suffering because He suffered and died on the cross. The ultimate victory is eternal life through Jesus Christ…forever…no matter what this life may bring.
  • If we are not careful, we can miss God’s answer when it comes. It is important to be watchful in our waiting…and because the Father wants to give us His best to strengthen our walk with Him, we must be prepared to yield ourselves to His answers – even if they seem to go against what we think that answer should be. Sometimes our answers will not come in our lifetime, but in His eternal purposes we will one day see how He answered every prayer we have ever prayed…even if the answer is counter to our expectations or desires. One day it will be amazing to see how God’s hand worked in our lives and situations for His glory!

“The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need.” (Matthew 6:7-8 MSG).

Reaching, Equipping, And Praying For The Revival Generation

By America Prays, General News No Comments

By Kim Butts

    Over 50% of the world’s population is now under the age of 15. Studies have shown that if a person has not accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord by age 15, the chances of this decision happening decreases significantly over time! Yet, studies also show that the Church gives, on average, a much higher percentage of its attention, focus, funding and planning to adults.

    We could spend a lot of effort examining this trend, and trying to figure out why it is so; however, in order to bring the most glory to the Father, I think it is more urgent for us to realize the reality of this current situation and do something about it. If we are truly Christians who desire to complete the Great Commission, then we must, as individuals, families and the Church, shine the light of Christ into the upcoming generations with more fervency and intentionality!

    The census bureau statistics in 2001 showed that the 15 and under population of the United States was much lower (at 21%) than the global statistic of 52%. This is due to factors such as expanded health care that increases the longevity of the elderly, and abortion, which has ended the lives of millions of the unborn. Therefore, in our culture, children are a smaller segment of our society than elsewhere in the world. Perhaps because of this, the nation in one of the greatest positions to reach out to children all over the globe is, for the most part, unaware that the largest identified group of unreached people in the world is children.

    God is very clear about what children mean to Him. He places great importance upon their spiritual development, and gives them high value and attention throughout the pages of His Word. He desires to work in and through them. He hears and answers their prayers. He reveals His truth and the mysteries of His Word to them. And, I believe, He is getting ready to pour out revival through them – but He is waiting for the Church to wake up to the seriousness of this hour, and to recognize how we have neglected their spiritual condition.

    What must we do to equip, empower and release into ministry these young ones whom God so desires to use to advance His kingdom on this earth? And then, what must we do to reach the lost children and youth of the upcoming generations? Jesus clearly told us to “…go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20a). Carefully consider the definition of the word “them” and recognize that it includes the 52% of the world’s population that is under 15 years of age. They must be reached! They must be trained and mentored so that they can reach the spiritual potential that God has set before them. We must reach children and youth so that they can reach other children and youth! This is the revival generation, whose growth has been stunted by the Church.

    As the Church, we must repent of this sad condition and move forward with fervency. We must teach and encourage parents and grandparents, and all adults (because the nurture of young ones is the responsibility of every Christian). We must see young ones with the same eyes that the Father sees them with! He does not see practicing prayers. He sees prayer warriors. He does not see the Church of tomorrow – He sees the Church of right now…and it is intergenerational! Consider carefully the following passages of Scripture:

God Gives Instructions to Parents and Grandparents

    1. To teach children to trust and keep His commandments.

    Psalm 78:1-7 “O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old—what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, His power, and the wonders He has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which He commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget His deeds but would keep His commands.”

    Deuteronomy 4:9-10 “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, when He said to me, ‘Assemble the people before Me to hear My words so that they may learn to revere Me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.’ “

    2. To love Him deeply and to take every opportunity to teach and to be an example to their children.

    Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

    Deuteronomy 11:19-21 “Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the LORD swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.”

    3. To share the miraculous and mighty works of God with their children.

    Exodus 10:2 “…that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the LORD.”

    Exodus 12:26-27 “And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when He struck down the Egyptians.’ Then the people bowed down and worshiped.”

    4. To tell their children about the Lord’s faithfulness, and to give Him praise for it!

    Isaiah 38:19 “The living, the living–they praise You, as I am doing today; fathers tell their children about Your faithfulness.”

    5. To dedicate their households to the service of the Lord.

    Joshua 24:15 “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

    6. To spend whatever time is necessary to train godly children.

    Proverbs 22:6 “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

    7. Not to cause little children to stumble into sin.

    Matthew 18:6 “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”

    We have not done well at this through the years, as evidenced by the fact that although parents believe they are the primary source for the spiritual development of their children, they do not spend any time during the week imparting spiritual principles to them. They count on the church to provide all of their children’s spiritual training. (Charisma Magazine, July 2003).

God Shares His Desire for Intergenerational Unity in the Body of Christ

    1. When God calls for a prayer meeting of His people, it is intergenerational.

    Joel 2:16 “Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber.”

    2. God intends to pour out His Spirit on young and old alike.

    Joel 2:28 “And afterward, I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.”

    3. God is preparing His unified body to be the Bride of Christ.

    Malachi 4:5-6 “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”

    Luke 1:17 “And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous–to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

    4. God desires adults to welcome little children into their midst.

    Matthew 18:5 “And whoever welcomes a little child like this in My name welcomes Me.”

God Reveals His Plans to Work in and through Children

    1. The Father has ordained the praise and prayers of little children for the purpose of defeating the enemy.

    Psalm 8:2 “From the lips of children and infants You have ordained praise because of Your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.”

    Matthew 21:15-16 “But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things He did and the children shouting in the temple area, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David,’ they were indignant. ‘Do You hear what these children are saying?’ they asked Him. ‘Yes,’ replied Jesus, ‘have you never read, “From the lips of children and infants You have ordained praise”?’”

    2. There are things God intends to reveal only to children.

    Matthew 11:25-26 “At that time Jesus said, ‘I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was Your good pleasure.’”

    3. God demonstrates how everyone must come to Him with the humility of a child.

    Matthew 18:1-4 “At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ He called a little child and had him stand among them. And He said: ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’”

    4. God gives a special blessing to children.

    Matthew 19:15 “When He had placed His hands on them, He went on from there.”

    In Matthew 19:14, “Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’” As mentioned above, 52% of the world’s population is under the age of 15. It is therefore extremely important that we do not hinder them. As a nation, we have fallen way short in our responsibility to spiritually train children. Our examples are weak because we have allowed our busyness to rob us of our time in studying the Word, prayer, meditation, and other spiritual disciplines. One generation after another is being consistently raised without spiritual training in the home. Children have little opportunity to grow in the wisdom and knowledge of Christ because there is no one to mentor or disciple them. God’s Kingdom belongs to them! How can we possibly hope to complete the Great Commission without a major paradigm shift? Jesus told us to “…go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20). How is this even in the realm of possibility when we will not even reach our own children? It will take a revived Church!

Prayer Response for Families

    How can we, as praying families, lift up the parents and children of our nation and of the world and pray that they will come to a saving knowledge of Jesus…and then be trained and equipped to reach others for His kingdom as the intergenerational and complete body of Christ? Here are some suggestions:

    1. Pray for strong and solid two-parent families, and for the sanctity of marriage.

    2. Pray for children at risk in areas such as abuse, abortion, forced labor, poverty, etc.

    3. Pray for parents, grandparents and all adults in the Church to take responsibility for the training and nurturing of children and youth.

    4. Pray that those who don’t know Jesus will be drawn to Him!

    5. Pray for the Church to rise up and function as the intergenerational body God intended it to be!

    6. Pray for the Holy Spirit to visit and anoint children in power!

    7. Pray for the bringing down of pitfalls and traps that the enemy has laid before children through the media, games, books, etc.

    8. Pray for godly mentors and discipleship in the Church!

    9. Pray for REVIVAL! It is only through revived individuals, and then revived families, that a revived Church will be enabled to reach the unsaved individuals and families in our pews and out!

    The bride of Christ has been deformed and unwhole for too long. She will only be prepared and made beautiful when she is made up of the entire body – young and old – functioning in the fullness of the Holy Spirit to accomplish the Father’s plans and purposes! I pray that God will use us all to this end so that He is given all glory and honor!

Copyright © Herald of His Coming 2021. Used by permission.  

Reaping A Harvest

By America Prays, General News No Comments

By Kim Butts

 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Gal. 6:9).

    What an amazing time we live in! Much of the Lord’s harvest is ripe and ready all around us and across the globe! At the same time, there are still fields that need to be sown, watered and fertilized before the harvest can be reaped! By faithfully doing good we can join the Father’s work of drawing all men to Himself. Wondrously, the best good the Lord has given us to do for anyone allows us to participate in the harvest at every level – prayer! We can pray for the lost in our own families, our neighborhoods, at school or work, and in unreached people groups living in nations that we may never have the opportunity to get into any other way! We are also privileged and commissioned to pray for all believers, whatever their needs or situations so that their lives will bring honor and glory to the Father. First Timothy 2:1-4 states that we are to pray for everyone, because this is good and pleases God, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

    One important thing to consider as your family prays for the harvesting of souls is that God may call one or all of you to be the answer to the prayers you pray. That’s right! When we pray, we should always be prepared for the Lord to use us to do good in someone else’s life. Make it a practice in the prayer life of your family to keep Bibles, pencils and paper at hand. Following prayer for each situation, person, nation, etc., ask the question: “Lord, how do you want to use us to be the answer to this prayer?” For example, you might be praying for the salvation of a family in your neighborhood. Stop and ask the Lord how He wants to use you to draw them into His kingdom. Ask each family member to listen carefully to see what the Lord might say to his or her heart. Perhaps one of your children might say, “I think God wants us to invite them over for dinner” or “My heart says we need to offer to help them build their fence.” Isn’t our Lord amazing? If we will allow it and be good listeners, He will show us how to be the answer to our own prayer by giving us the next step…in this case, doing good for the neighbors. And, as we are obedient listeners and do-ers, and if we do not get tired and give up…lost people will begin to see the light of Jesus shining so brightly in us that they will want to know more about Him.

    Let’s take a closer look at Galatians 6:9 to see what the Father may want to teach us about reaping a harvest for the glory of His Kingdom:

“Let us not become weary…”

    Sometimes we forget that God’s timing isn’t always the same as our own. Some of the answers to our prayers will not be known for days…or weeks…or years…or even until we see Him face to face in heaven. When we become weary or discouraged, the Lord is there to lift us up and sustain us. Consider these passages as you pray for renewed strength:

    1. The suffering of Jesus will give us hope. “Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Heb. 12:3). We will never suffer as our Lord did, so when we endure for the sake of His Gospel message, we should be filled with hope that “The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it” (1 Thes. 5:24). He is the completer of every act of kindness. He is the fulfiller of every prayer.

    2. The Lord and His Word will give us strength. “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isa. 40:29-31). “My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to Your Word” (Psa. 119:28). When you feel weary and weak, go to His Word and soak in it. When we are weakest, He can make us strong (2 Cor. 12:10). Learn to pray His Word as you pray for lost people.

    3. God promises to refresh, renew, sustain, and carry our burdens. The Lord has promised to “refresh the weary and satisfy the faint” (Jer. 31:25). “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30). Give lost people to the Father. Remember, it is His Spirit that draws the lost as you pray. You are simply to pray and listen.

    4. He will not fail us or forsake us. “David also said to Solomon his son, ‘Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished’” (1 Chr. 28:20). The Great Commission is our mission, and God is with us every step of the way!

    5. Through His mercy we have this ministry. “Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart” (2 Cor. 4:1). Because all of us from youngest to oldest are called to the ministry of intercession, He will also supply the strength we need to persevere.

    6. Our labor is not in vain. “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58). “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him” (Psa. 126:5-6). When praying for others and doing good in tangible ways for them becomes difficult, always remember that there will be much rejoicing when even one person comes to faith in Jesus! Every prayer and every loving act is significant, and you may never see or know the results of some of your planting or watering this side of heaven. You may just be preparing the soil for someone else to reap the harvest…in which case, you will one day also share in the joy of it!

“…in doing good…”

    Remember, our good works do not get us to heaven! Our salvation has been bought for the price of one Man’s sacrifice. Good works are a response to the call of God to be like Jesus. Prayerfully examine these Scriptures in your life and apply them to your family:

    1. The example of Jesus was doing good and we are called to be like Him!  “…how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with Him” (Acts 10:38). “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps” (1 Pet. 2:21).

    2. It is God’s will that we do good to others. “For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men” (1 Pet. 2:15). Actions speak louder than our words. Christians should be known for their godly character as well as for the good they do. Are you known as a praying family that listens carefully to the marching orders of the Lord and obeys them?

    3. Doing good to ALL people is a command. “Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture” (Psa. 37:3). “But I tell you who hear Me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28). See Luke 6:35 also.

    4. We were created to do good works. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph. 2:10).

    5. There is nothing better for God’s family to do. “I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live” (Ecc. 3:12).

    6. It pleases God when we do good to others. “But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God” (1 Pet. 2:20). “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Heb. 13:16).

    7. The enemy will try to stop us from doing good – be aware! “So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me” (Rom. 7:21).

“…for at the proper time…”

    The proper time is always up to God. “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time” (1 Tim. 2:5-6). “The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food at the proper time” (Psa. 145:15). His timing is always perfect.

“…we will reap a harvest…”

    1. We must sow generously to reap generously. “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (2 Cor. 9:6).

    2. Praising God results in the blessing of harvest. “May the peoples praise You, O God; may all the peoples praise You. Then the land will yield its harvest, and God, our God, will bless us. God will bless us, and all the ends of the earth will fear Him” (Psa. 67:5-7).

    3. When we speak with wisdom we will reap a harvest from our words. “From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his hands rewards him” (Prov. 12:14). “From the fruit of his mouth a man’s stomach is filled; with the harvest from his lips he is satisfied” (Prov. 18:20). As we speak out our prayers to the Lord, heaven stirs with activity in response. Much good can also come from speaking kind words and encouragement to others.

    4. We must pray and ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers (even if He wants to send us to be the answer to our prayers). “Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field’” (Matt. 9:37-38).

    5. We must sow in peace. “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness” (Jas. 3:17-18).

“…if we do not give up”

    1. Diligence and perseverance in our lives will lead to the salvation of others. “Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Tim. 4:15-16).

    2. We must “…keep on loving each other as brothers” (Heb. 13:1).

    3. We must press on towards the goal! “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14).

    4. We must keep on praying. “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints” (Eph. 6:18).

    Could your family determine that some part of every day will be dedicated to reaping a harvest? Start with prayer and see where God may lead you.   

Copyright © Herald of His Coming 2021. Used with permission.

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