Hill: God shall lift you up

Editor’s note: This is part one of a two-part series. Part two will be published Friday, Sept. 12.

His father stands quietly and watches as he struggles with a huge stone. His little muscles are bulging and shaking under the stress of the load. Small beads of sweat are rolling down his face as he huffs and moans trying his best to move the stone.

He stands there, red faced, gasping for breath when his father asks, “Son, are you using all your strength?” He replies, “Yes dad, I’m trying real hard.” His father says, “No son, you’re not. You’ve not asked me to help.”

Speaking the Truth in Love by Pastor Tommy Hill

Speaking the Truth in Love
by Pastor Tommy Hill

I wonder how often our Father watches from Heaven and waits for us to ask for His help. While we are weighted down with personal needs He is calling, “Come unto me and I’ll give you rest.” James 4:2 teaches us that, “ye have not, because ye ask not.” If there is anything we must learn to do, it is that we must learn to pray. It’s been said that, “The man that can pray can do anything that God can do and God can do anything.”

Prayer links our life with God’s power. When we pray we’re asking God to intercede on our behalf. Many failures in life can be traced to a prayer failure, a time when we could have but failed to ask God to help.

God desires to guide and lead us but He will not force His way upon us. He has given us the power of choice as to whether we will walk in the Spirit or in the flesh (Gal. 5:16). Just as we, as parents, give advice to our children that will be beneficial to them. God has our best interests at heart.

If all this is true then why is it that some of my prayers seem to go unanswered? James 4:1-4 tells us why we experience difficulties in our prayer life. Consider what he says:

Unacceptable Attitudes, In 4:1 he lets us know that our wars and fightings come from within. We bring it upon ourselves because we seek our preferences instead of asking God to reign upon the throne of our hearts.

Unoffered Prayer, In 4:2 he then tells us we do not ask for that which we need. Too often, we are proud and self-sufficient, attempting to do it all our way. When nations face conflict they call for more planes, ships, soldiers, and money but our God calls on us to pray, Mt 21:22, and there is no power on earth greater than our God.

Unanswered Prayer, In 4:3 he tells us we ask amiss (ask wrongly, wrong motives) and that effects our answers. Simply put, God may not answer our prayers when our requests are filled with self-interest (Mt. 20:21). Prayers that desire to get more, have more, do more without submitting our lives to God are insulting to our Father.

Unstable Relationship, In 4:4 he reminds us that friendship with the world is enmity (hostility) with God (Rom. 8:7). God will not answer prayers that request Him to subsidize our sins and underwrite our selfishness. The Bible teaches that it is spiritual adultery when we place the world ahead of God.

2 Co 11:2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

If my prayer goes unanswered, there is a reason and it usually lies within my heart. Next week we’ll share the conditions required for answered prayer found in James 4:5-10.

Pastor Tommy Hill is the pastor of First Free Will Baptist Church in Hamlet. He is a Richmond County native. He can be reached at firstfwbchurchhamlet@gmail.com. His column will appear each Friday in The Pee Dee Post.

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