For "Scripture Sunday":
Five Keys to Answered Prayers
"How do we know that God will hear our prayers and that we will receive answers to them? Here are five things the Bible tells us to do.
If you are like me, you probably relate to King David’s poignant prayer:
“Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation. Give heed to the voice of my cry, my King and my God, for to You I will pray” (Psalm 5:1-2).
We know God deeply cares for us, and He wants us to come to Him in prayer. But how can we know that He will hear us and answer our prayers?
Thankfully God answers that question for us. The Bible reveals five keys for receiving answers to our prayers.
First key: Ask
Jesus said in Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it will be given to you” (emphasis added throughout). This is a very basic starting point. However, it is one that too often is misunderstood or not used.
A young man told me once that he hadn’t prayed in two years. I stressed to him the importance of prayer. His reply was, “But doesn’t the Bible say God knows what we need before we ask?” He was referring to Christ’s words in Matthew 6:8.
Yes, our Father does know what we need before we ask, but by asking we show our Father that we see the need as well, and really want His help to meet that need. Asking shows Him how important the need is to us. God, of course, also sees the difference between habitual, repetitive prayers and persistent, fervent, heartfelt prayers.
Luke’s account of Jesus’ words adds an important truth, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find. … For everyone who asks receives. … If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? … If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”(Luke 11:9-13).
To learn to worship and serve the true God, we need His Spirit, which reveals to us His truth (John 4:24). God says He will give His Spirit to those who ask Him. We need to be asking for help and power from God (which He gives through His Spirit) on a daily basis.
Second key: Have faith."
(For more about the Holy Spirit and how to receive its benefits, see the article “How Do You Know You Have the Holy Spirit?”)
The three keys Jesus gives for seeing answers to prayer can be summed up as: Be persistent, be purposeful and be personal.
An Amazing Fact: "Researchers studying walleye vision found that orange is the color most visible to walleyes, followed by yellow and yellow green. Surprisingly, red is the least visible color. No wonder you find so many orange and chartreuse lures in the tackle boxes of savvy walleye anglers.
Another interesting fact about walleye fish is that a sudden decrease in light level triggers them to bite. That explains why the fish usually turn on just as the sun is disappearing below the horizon and the light intensity is rapidly decreasing. It also accounts for the biting that starts when the dark clouds preceding a thunderstorm roll in.
The very best time to catch a trophy walleye is five to seven weeks after the fish have completed spawning. That’s when the big females, famished after not having eaten for nearly two months, go on the prowl for food. And with the natural supply of baitfish at its annual low, they’re likely to hit almost anything you throw at them.
Maybe you can’t think of anything more boring than fishing, but many of Jesus’ first disciples were fishermen. The first time they heard Jesus, He asked them to push their boats out into the lake and let down their nets. Inside they laughed, “What does He know about fishing? You don’t catch much fish in the daytime!” But they agreed to do it anyway. “And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking” (Luke 5:6).
Peter appropriately responded to the amazing catch of fish. “When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!’” (v. 8). Jesus replied, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men” (v. 10). The proud fisherman was not ready to serve the Master fisherman until he was humbled. We are best prepared to go fishing when we recognize our limitations and listen to the Creator of fish and men."
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him. Luke 5:11
Disinfectant wipes are the most convenient ways to clean anything from kitchen countertops, to bathroom sinks. However, traditional wipes containing bleach can cause skin irritation and the fumes can be toxic if over-exposed. Soak 20 paper towels in a Ziploc bag full of 1/4 cup of vinegar, and a 1/4 cup of seltzer. Feel free to add scented oil for scent, and wring out the excess liquid before use.
Still have not heard from Ray, it has been nine weeks now, but after paying more in court costs and fees, the guest house and contents are now legally mine. No one was supposed to be in there until the final Writ of Possession was done. Ray left a lot of mostly junk behind, but there are a couple of things worth selling to try to recoup my losses.
The new worker, James, hasn't been back, but Jay and I have been busy installing an air conditioner through the wall in my bedroom. I had quit having it in the window when the burglars broke in my house that way. They just pushed in the AC, so being installed through the wall will stop that. Now the windows are screwed shut, and potential burglars will have to break one to gain entry. Also, I have a motion detector security light on that side of the house.
Jay and I went to church early as the pastor and his wife were out of town and I was volunteered to ramrod the potluck. An elder also arrived early to help me, which was a good thing as I didn't know how to cook boxed shells and cheese! I only know how to cook from scratch and use real cheese, not some yellowy goop that squeezes out of a pouch. I looked at the long list of ingredients and said "none for me."
The congregation brought a lot of great contributions for the pot luck, but strangely, all the meat was chicken, except for my turkey chili and beans. My red cabbage and apple dish was made from fresh cabbage. I had made both dishes the day before and put them in crock pots. The other veggies were frozen, so it didn't take long to get it ready. One lady brought cornbread with sliced onions cooked in the top. Then there were three kinds of potato salad. Usually we have too many desserts, but this time only one, plus the standby cookies. You never know what people will bring, but it is always good.
The Bible readings were Deut. 7:12-11:25, Isa. 49:14-51:3, and 2Cor. 4:5-6, 13-15. The teaching was about how the season for some of the Feast Days is approaching, and how we should be glad and anticipate it.
Even though it is still hot, I do believe that it is a little cooler each day.