A Voice in the
"Speak, LORD, for Your servant hears." Thus, responded the lad, Samuel, as God called to him. In humility this should be our attitude, "Lord, I'm listening; I am eagerly waiting to hear what You have to say to me; You have my full attention."
Prayer, first of all, recognizes to Whom we pray. Our Father IN HEAVEN. (Mt 6:9) "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (Jn 4:24) It is not enough to be "spirit-filled." The world is full of demons, imitating the Holy Spirit. "Satan transforms himself into an angel of light..and his ministers..as ministers of righteousness."(2Cor11:14-15) Many spirit-filled people worship demons. (1Cor 10:20) A "father" NOT in heaven. The Believer's Father is One, IN HEAVEN.
"Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!" (Is 6:3) Having seen God's glory, Isaiah laments, "Woe is me..I am a man of unclean lips..I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips." When we pray, "In Jesus' Name" we are recognizing His holiness. A holiness which makes a distinction between sinful man and a righteous God. He is not our "buddy" with Whom we casually reminisce. Our communication with God is not coincidental impudence. Jesus instructs, "Hallowed be Your name." (Mt 6:9)
"Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth." (Col 3:2) "Your kingdom come. Your will be done." Even Jesus, crying out to God "with vehement cries and tears.. learned obedience by the things which He suffered" (Heb 5:7-8), and thus prayed, "nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done." (Lk 22:42)
How often do we rebellious children demand of God to cater to our whims; and we want none of Him? Even so, He graciously sees to our needs, as He provides for our food, health, protection.
Daniel prays, "we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies." And then he records, "While I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God...while I was speaking, the man Gabriel..reached me..and he informed me, 'I have come to give you skill to understand.'" (Dan 9:18-22~)
To understand the significance of these verses, we must realize the context. Daniel had been given a vision of a prophecy which he did not understand. It SO disturbed him that he became ill. However, what we see is NOT a request, "Please, Lord, explain the vision to me so I can understand IT." Rather, we see contrition, humility, repentance. Daniel was praying for forgiveness of sin, and God answered by sending a messenger with the answers to the prophetic puzzle. God's message and instruction needs the receptacle of a clean and pure heart. Jesus instructed, "Forgive us our debts..." (Mt 6:12)
Once again Daniel's thoughts troubled him regarding prophecy, and he was in deep depression for three weeks, seeking answers. This time, the answering messenger was detained by Satan for 21 days until he was rescued by Michael. (Dan 10:12-14)
Is it normal for us to undergo depressing times? Yes. Will our heart be heavy at times with burdens too great to bear, or answers that seem to elude us? Yes. Does it mean that God has abandoned us? No. God doesn't just wave His "magic wand" and INSTANTLY make everything "better" every time. The spiritual life includes warfare against "principalities and powers." (Eph 6:12) Sometimes we don't understand WHY things are the way they are. Job, certainly did not. There is an unseen "grandstands" of spectators observing the course of human events. (Heb 12:1) And we are the participants. They are watching to see how we deal with adversity until help arrives.
Hebrews speaks of the "champions of faith" who "having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise." (11:39) Many of the prophets writing about our present salvation, and not under- standing it, were told "not to themselves, but to us they were minister- ing." (1Pet 1:12) In some cases, the answer is not for us. When Paul asked for healing, God responded "My grace is sufficient for you." (2Cor 12:9)
Sometimes God will answer a prayer or indicate His will. But the fulfillment is not intended to be realized until a future date. Daniel was told, "Seal up the vision, for it refers to many days in the future." (Dan 8:26) It's as if God wants us to know His will, designed for a specific future time...letting us know that He has everything all planned out. That it will be OK.
Those answers from God, we KNOW to be fulfilled "in our lifetime?" After about three weeks do we "give up" on God? In our "instant" society where we have become accustomed to "while-you-wait" service, do we callously regiment God into our little personal mold of conformity to our whims and wishes as to What, When, Where, How, Whom, How Soon?
Joseph received some rather extraordinary revelations from God regarding his future. And became the HATED BROTHER. "Look, this dreamer is coming!" As he was captured and sold into slavery, he reacted as any 17 year old would as he cries out in agony, "Hey, c'mon guys. Give me a break. They were only dreams! Please don't do this. PLEASE! NOooooh!" (Gen 42:21) The revelations he had from God placed him as "head" and the rest of his family was subservient to him. (Gen 37) These events were certainly NOT FULFILLING that revelation!
Once in Egypt, he experienced more set-backs on his path to great- ness. After false accusations, his stint in prison could have easily been considered a death sentence. Far from leadership, as promised!
Perhaps, like Joseph, we need to be knocked down a few notches. We need to understand that it is not OUR GREATNESS that is going to do ex- ploits for God. We need to be in a place of obedience and humility. These humble times allow us to pay our dues, and learn God's will.
Perhaps, for us, it is NOT YET TIME for the answer. But, God's time table is ever sure. Daniel was told that the prophecies he was shown were for a later date. And, "blessed is he who waits." (Dan 12:12) In Revelation 9:15 we are shown how God is precisely preparing things for "the hour and day and month and year."
We often see people manipulate their personal circumstances to manufacture answer to prayer the way THEY THINK God SHOULD answer. Mary thought Jesus should do something about the lack of wine at the wedding, but Jesus responded, "My hour has not yet come." (Jn 2:4)
In other cases, if answers don't come within the parameters they imagined to be reasonable, skeptics on the sidelines will say, "See, we told you so." Similar taunts were hurled at Jesus, "He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ." (Lk 23:35) Not understanding God's complete plan; that Jesus would die, and then rise from the dead.
Christian duty is to "purify one's self, just as He is pure." Then, "Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him." With the expect- ancy, "Speak, LORD, for your servant hears;" and an attitude "Let it be to me according to your word." (1Jn 3:3, Ps 37:7, 1Sam 3:9, Lk 1:38)
"Blessed is he who waits..."