I want to introduce you to Linda. Before I do, brace yourself because Linda is a tough cookie. Many would call her stubborn. The elders would say that she is "hell-bent" and stuck in her ways.
Admittedly, Linda was hard to get through to when I first met her. She had suffered so many things, she had seen some of the unimaginable, and to top it off she had convinced herself that her prayers just were not getting her the results that she wanted.
I thought of Linda as I was writing While At the Altar. I thought about how she must felt when she prayed for healing for her mom, but she died anyway. I thought about how she must have felt when she prayed for a job so she could feed her 5 children, but yet she stayed unemployed for over 6 years. I thought about how she must have felt when she asked God to soften her children's father towards her but he was growing meaner by the day. None of Linda's prayers seemed to be getting any results....or were they? Because of her pain, Linda would curse you out. She would curse God. She would tell you to get out of her face with that "Jesus junk." It didn't work, she had concluded.
The one thing I shared with Linda, that I want to share with you...in case you are thinking that your name must be Linda too, is that praying to get results means that you have to fully surrender and trust God. God is not on our timetable. God's thoughts are also not our thoughts.
If you find yourself not getting results from your prayers the first thing I would advise you to do is to check how you are living. The chapter of my book, While at the Altar, titled Praying to get results starts off by saying, "I was not fooling anyone but myself. How could I continue to live any kind of way and expect to be able to go to God and expect Him to give me everything that I asked of Him? Foolish thinking. A life of sin and unholiness does not move the hand of God. At all! Prayer and repentance get us closer to having our prayers answered. There were some things that I needed to turn completely away from before I could expect God to answer my requests."
I prayed and prayed with Linda. I mentored her. I shared with her how I had to turn from some things, repent, and walk a different path. I explained that she would have to do the same. God doesn't withhold things from us because He's being mean, but He is more concerned with our character and our spiritual development than He is with just giving us everything that we ask for.
In no way am I saying that Linda is the cause of her mom's passing, or the lack of jobs in her area, or the condition of her children's father's heart. What I am saying is that prayer does work and we do get results from prayer, it's just not always what we want. If we are living according to God's word/will and not getting results it's because He is developing us.
Here are some things to do to ensure that you are "In His will" when you pray so that you can get results:
-allow the Holy Spirit to purge you
-allow the Holy Spirit to prune you
-allow the Holy Spirit to purify you
So often, we resist pain and discomfort without realizing that sometimes it can be a part of the purging, pruning, purifying process. Surrender to God and allow the Holy Spirit to do His work and you will start experiencing results when you pray.
Father God, I thank you for your Holy Spirit. I pray for an ear to hear what the Spirit is saying. I surrender to your will and I thank you for purging, pruning, and purifying me. I know th
at once I go through the process, no good thing will you withhold from me because I will be walking upright. Thank you, Father. In Jesus' mighty name. Amen.
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Pamela D. Smith