I was in a gathering a couple of days ago in which some very sincere prayer went up on behalf of certain ones who are going through some very difficult things. I want to draw attention to just one of them. I later heard that one of the young sisters we had been praying for—she was not present in the gathering, in fact was hundreds of miles away—told her husband when he got home (he had been present in the gathering) that she actually “felt the prayers.”
I find this very encouraging. Sometimes you wonder what your prayers actually do… and sometimes you are tempted to believe they don’t do anything at all. I’ve been praying for many years about certain things… with no answer thus far.
But I say tempted, because, beloved, if we only knew the heart of our God, and His great love toward us, and His great concern, we would know how deeply interested He is in us and all we go through, and He wants us to continue to bring our prayers before Him. Something effectual takes place, as we saw in this instance.
It’s very reassuring to read Paul’s words to the Philippians.
Be careful (anxious) for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
And the peace of God that passeth understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Phil. 4.7).
The word keep there is much stronger in the original; it actually means to garrison, to mount a guard over. “And the peace of God shall be a garrison, a guard, over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” How deeply we need this garrison of the peace of God! Some troubling thought comes up… but no, the guards refuse to give it access into the mind; some anxious concern tries to force entry into the heart but the garrison bars it.
How does this become effectual? Notice the link in this passage. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And...
There’s the link. “And, the peace of God which passeth understanding shall keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
The one follows the other. We make our requests known to God, and consequently the garrison of peace keeps us from all anxiety. For, it’s a loving God we are praying to, we are bringing our requests to a God whose love for us can be measured only by the Cross of the Son of His love. He has given us His Son, and shall He not also, in giving Him, freely give us all things? Therefore, once we have brought our requests to Him, the peace of this loving God garrisons and protects us from every anxious doubting thought. He loves us beyond our ability to comprehend. And His love is at work. He is working all things together for good on our behalf.
He wants to assure us of this. Just look at how often in our Bible He does this. I thought I’d prepare a list of how, over and over again, our God tries to persuade us (it seems we need to be persuaded) that He hears our prayers… and will answer. Here are just a few instances, all from the Psalms. Some of them are at… what shall I say… they’re not just neat tidy prayers, they’re at a pretty deep gut level. Read them, asking this one question. It was God who inspired these prayers to be written. Why? Just to fill up Bible space?
Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness… (Ps. 4.1)
Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation,
Hearken to the voice of my cry, my King and my God, for unto Thee will I pray… (Ps. 5.1)
Hear the right, O LORD, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not forth out of feigned lips… (Ps. 17.1)
The LORD hear thee in the day of trouble… (Ps. 20.1)
Unto Thee will I cry, O LORD my rock; be not silent to me, lest if Thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit… (Ps. 28.1)
Save me, O God, by Thy Name, and judge me by Thy strength,
Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth… (Ps. 54. 1,2)
Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not Thyself from my supplication… (Ps. 55.1)
Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer,
From the ends of the earth will I cry unto Thee when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the Rock that is higher than I… (Ps. 61. 1,2)
Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer; preserve me from fear of the enemy (Ps. 64.1)
Praise waiteth for Thee, O God, in Zion, and unto Thee shall the vow be performed.
O Thou that hearest prayer, unto Thee shall all flesh come… (Ps. 65. 1,2)
Save me O God, for the waters are come in unto my soul.
I sink in deep mire where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters where the floods overflow me.
I am weary with my crying, my throat is dried; mine eyes fail while I wait for my God… (Ps. 69. 1-3)
Make haste O God, to deliver me; make hast to help me, O LORD… (Ps. 70.1)
In Thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be put to confusion… (Ps. 71.1)
I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice, and He gave ear unto me… (Ps. 77.1)
Give ear O Shepherd of Israel, Thou that leadest Joseph like a flock, Thou that dwellest between the cherubim, shine forth…
O LORD of hosts, how long wilt Thou be angry against the prayer of Thy people? (Ps. 85. 1,4)
Keep not silence, O God; Hold not Thy peace, for Thine enemies make a tumult… (Ps. 83.1)
Bow down Thine ear, O LORD, hear me, for I am poor and needy… (Ps. 86.1)
O LORD God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before Thee;
Let my prayer come before thee; incline thine ear unto my cry;
For my soul is full of troubles… (Ps. 88.1)
Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come unto Thee… (Ps. 102.1)
I love the LORD, because He hath heard the voice of my supplications… (Ps. 116.1)
In my distress I cried unto the LORD, and He heard me… (Ps. 120.1)
Unto Thee lift I up mine eyes, O Thou that dwellest in the heavens… (Ps. 123.1)
Out of the depths have I cried unto Thee, O LORD.
Lord, hear my voice; let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.
If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?
But there is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be feared… (Ps. 130. 1-4)
LORD, I cry unto Thee: make haste unto me; give ear unto my voice, when I cry unto Thee… (Ps. 141.1)
I cried unto the LORD with my voice; with my voice unto the LORD did I make my supplication.
I poured out my complaint unto Him. I shewed before Him my trouble… (Ps. 142. 1,2)
Hear my prayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplication: in Thy faithfulness answer me, and in Thy righteousness;
And enter not into judgment with Thy servant, for in Thy sight shall no man living be justified… (Ps. 143.1,2)
Again, why did God inspire these prayers? Surely it is because He wants to give us complete assurance that the God who inspired the cry will answer our cry.
And so… let us continue to make our requests known unto Him—requests not just for ourselves, but for others. A precious sister we know discovered a couple of days ago that there’s something effectual that begins to work as a result.