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Today’s Pulse article is written by NewLife’s Tammy Choleva, who blogs at http://4-himacademy.weebly.com/tammys-blog.html.
My family hosts a Thursday night Bible study. We are currently going through a DVD series on prayer called, When God’s People Pray, by Pastor Jim Cymbala of the Brooklyn Tabernacle. I was really struck by last night’s lesson. It was on the power of praying through Scripture. God’s Word never returns void ["...my word...that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty" (Isaiah 55:11)]. He is always faithful to His promises ["Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful" (Hebrews 10:23)].
Pastor Cymbala pointed out in the DVD that George Mueller, an incredible man of faith and prayer, had discovered that prayer is most meaningful and powerful when one is praying with an open Bible, meditating on God’s Word and praying through the promises of God. Pastor Cymbala also pointed out that we must be faithful in praying through God’s promises, even when the circumstances around us scream something else, and taunt us with the lie that God is not honoring His Word. Are we going to trust our circumstances, or are we going to trust God to be faithful to His Word?
A key in praying through Scripture is to not manipulate it to say something other than what God intended it to say and mean. As an example, God’s Word says, “…by His wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). Joni Eareckson Tada was mistakenly told by her Christian friends that she just needed to trust God’s promise to physically heal her, and she would be healed of her paralysis. When she prayed for physical healing but didn’t receive it, she doubted her own faith and God Himself. The thing is, Isaiah 53:5 does not say anything about God promising to physically heal us this side of heaven. We cannot hold onto our false impressions of God and His Word. Rather, we must hold onto God Himself, as He has revealed Himself to us through His Word. When Joni came to realize this truth, He gave her the real healing that she needed and that He had promised to give. The rest is history.
Do you have a burden on your heart today? Search Scripture to find God’s promises, and begin praying through those Scriptures for your situation (the Internet is a really useful tool for searching Scriptures!). Again, though, it is important to remember that even when the circumstances surrounding us are screaming out lies that God is turning His back on His own Word, we must prevail in prayer. God’s faithfulness to His Word is not dictated by our circumstances. His faithfulness is dependent on His very character…He is Truth and He is Trustworthy. Let us not be like the Israelites, who doubted God’s Word every time they were hit with roadblocks and sharp twists and turns on their way to the Promised Land.
By praying through Scripture and “reminding” God to be faithful to His Word and His promises, we will ultimately build up our faith in the Lord ["So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ" (Romans 10:17)]. Again, I share the cautionary reminder to not manipulate God’s Word to say something it does not, and to not allow the circumstances we see with our physical eyes to dictate our faith in God. Even if it appears that God is not honoring His promises (God does give us free will after all), we must persevere in prayer. After all, despite our circumstances, God is faithful to His promises, and His Word will not return void.
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