prayer at another level

prayer at another level

Stones for Bread??

  I want to share something that God showed me recently about the way that He answers prayer. I was reading in the Psalms one morning and when I got to Psalm 44 I was literally “stopped in my tracks”. I encourage you to go and read this Psalm for yourself but I’m going to give you a quick summary so that you will understand where I am going with this:

Verses 1-3: The writer, speaking with a corporate voice, proclaims that they remember the days of old when God saved them with a mighty hand. It’s a great start of praise and thanksgiving to the LORD for past help.

Verses 4-8 This part speaks of the trust and faith that the congregation has that God will save again. It is in the present tense where as the first section was written in the past tense.

At the end of verse 8 there is the word ‘Selah’. Which many scholars belive to mean “pause and think”. I can’t help but think that perhaps during this “pause” there was a battle of some kind. The first section seems to be a prayer for deliverance from a present danger.

Verses 9-22 After the pause, the writer declares that God has rejected them, put them to shame, made them a reproach, and sold them for nothing! I can hear the despair and the questioning in the tone of the Psalm! The psalmist goes on to say that they haven’t turned their backs on God or departed from His way or gone after a foreign god. It seems that the writer was asking why God had not delivered them since there was no sin in their midst.

Verses 23-26 Ask again for God’s redemption. And that’s where it ends!

I sat up on the edge of my couch, a few mornings ago, and said, “Where’s the rest of the story??? That can’t be where it ends! Did You help them LORD of didn’t you? What happened??” I even turned to Psalm 45 to see if that Psalm was the answer to my question! Nope!

My mind immediately identified with the people in this psalm! I quickly pointed out to God what He had promised in Matthew 7.7-11:

“…Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”

These are red letters people!! Jesus said these words! I told Jesus, “I feel like I’ve gotten some stones from You LORD! I’ve asked for good things and I don’t see the victory just like these people in Psalm 44!”

Jesus so sweetly directed me to read the psalm again. And when I did my attention was draw to verse 22:

“Yet for Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

And I thought, “Boy that sounds familiar.” And it should, because it’s quoted in the New Testament. God led me to Romans 8:35-37:

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”

What my LORD showed me is, that in some situations I am not meant to be JUST a conqueror, but He has ordained that I would be MORE than a conqueror! He wants me (and you) to be more impactful than I would be as JUST a conqueror, to be used by Him in a greater way than I would be as JUST a conqueror, to scatter seeds father and wider than I would as JUST a conqueror! Throughout Christian history you can track this truth…Stephen the first martyr, Paul the apostle, Polycarp the Bishop of Smyrna, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the five missionaries to the Auca Indians in Ecuador, the list could go on and on. People who gave their lives, and were more impactful than they would have otherwise been. They were MORE than conquerors!

So may I say to you, with love and blessing, that if you are faced with a situation right now or in the future that you just don’t seem to be gaining the victory over seek God for His purposes in that situation. He may just mean for you to be MORE than a conqueror so that your impact will far out weigh the heartache and the pain.

Blessings!!

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