receiving answers to prayer
By Niki Behrikis Shanahan
“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”
I John 5:14-15
I know that most of you love it when I do an article on animals going to Heaven. But I think it is also very important to focus on the time we have here for our pets and ourselves. We all want to see people and pets healthy and well, and we want them to live as long a life as possible. When I refer to answers to prayer, I am speaking about your pets, you, your family and friends – every creature you pray for. Most people do not receive everything they want from God, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t continue to work toward that goal. I’d like to go over the major points on the subject of answers to prayer. First, there’s the question “what is the source of sickness and trouble?” Second, “is it God’s will for us to be healed and blessed?” And third, “how do we receive answers to prayer from God?”
1. Who puts sickness and trouble on us?
Jesus said I have come that you may have life and more abundantly. He said, Satan has come to steal, kill, and destroy. 1 Peter 5:8 says for us to be vigilant because your adversary the Devil, as a roaring lion, walks about seeking whom he may devour.
Now if it was God who put sickness on all the people that Jesus healed, He would have been going against the Heavenly Father if He healed them, right? There is no recorded Scripture that says there are some people that Jesus wants to heal, but others He’s ok with letting them stay sick. He went about doing good and healing everyone who would believe on Him – all that were oppressed. It also says that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever so He still heals today.
Even in weather related disasters there are people who blame God. God doesn’t cause these destructive weather patterns. Remember when Jesus was on the sea in the boat with His disciples? He was sleeping and they woke Him up and said, don’t you care if we perish? Jesus commanded the wind and the sea to calm down and go back to normal. If God caused the great storm, Jesus would be working against the Heavenly Father to command it to stop.
If a person thinks it’s God’s will for something bad to happen to them, they are going to have a difficult time fighting it both physically and spiritually. It’s important for people to come to grips with this truth because there are many, many people who believe that God puts these things on us, and it is not true. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the Heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17) Deep down I don’t think people really believe that God is the villan or they wouldn’t bother to go to a doctor to receive help if they thought it was futile.
2. Is it God’s will for us to be healed and blessed?
In a previous newsletter we talked about the Our Father prayer in which Jesus said, pray Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. If God wants things to be on earth as it is in Heaven you have to ask yourself “how are things in Heaven?” Is there any sickness, is there any lack or poverty, is there any sorrow. Of course we know there’s no sickness, lack, sorrow or anything negative in Heaven. Therefore, we may conclude that God would like it to be the same way here on earth, because He said to pray that His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. That being the case you have to wonder why anyone would think that God would put sickness and trouble on us, and why they would think that He wouldn’t want to heal them or help them out of their troubles.
You might say, well people and animals are going to die sometime. Yes they are, but they don’t necessarily have to be sick to leave and go to Heaven. God can simply take them. Their heart can stop beating and they can just go home. It doesn’t have to be a bad and painful experience. Only God knows when the time will come for each creature to leave and go to Heaven. I know that some of you have found yourself in a situation where you have felt the need to make a choice to euthanize your pet. I am not being critical of your decision by any means. None of us want to see our animal companions suffering in pain. I am saying that it is possible even in a dire situation for a miracle to take place, for a situation to turn around, and I would like that positive outcome to be yours. One way or the other we know that our beautiful animal companions go to Heaven, and they will be waiting for us when we get there.
Psalm 34:19 says that a righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. So we can see that we are going to have troubles here in this world, but the other part of the verse is that the Lord delivers him out of them all. Jesus said in this world you will have trouble, but He also said take heart for I have overcome the world.
You hear many saying well, if it’s God’s will for somebody to be healed, then He’ll just do it. And if they aren’t healed, it must have been God’s will because He allowed it. This is wrong thinking if you are believing according to the Bible. The Bible doesn’t say to sit down and wait and see what God will do. It says “are there any sick among you?” Let them go to the elders and let the prayer of faith save the sick. It says, ask, and it will be given, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you. For everyone that asks receives, everyone that seeks shall find, and everyone that knocks, it shall be opened unto you. In the next verse it talks about binding and loosing. That means whatever you pray for – you call for it on earth and it’s done in Heaven. Notice it doesn’t say whatever God binds on earth is bound in Heaven – it says whatever “you” bind on earth is bound in Heaven.
“Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in Heaven. Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in Heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
Is everything that happens God’s will? There are many things that happen that are definitely not God’s will. For example, when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden that was not God’s will. He allowed it because He gave them a choice, He gave them a free will. He warned them that the day they did eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil they would die. But it was not God’s will. There are people throughout time since Jesus died and rose again that have rejected Him, but John 3:16 says that God so loved the World that He gave His only beloved Son that whosoever believes on Him should not perish but have everlasting life. God doesn’t want anyone to perish, but some are going to.
Jesus went about doing good and healing the sick everywhere He went. Is it just for some and not for others? The Bible says that God is no respector of persons, so what He does for one, He’ll do for another. It may not seem like it works that way, but it is in the Word of God. So we need to find out how to make it work in our lives.
“He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed.”
I Peter 2:24 NIV
“Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases …”
Psalm 103:2-3 NIV
3. How do we receive what we want from God?
“He will call on Me and I will answer him, I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver and honor him (Psalm 91:15). In this verse God is clearly expecting us to call on Him and He’s planning on answering us.
Jesus gave us instruction on how to handle the troubles of this life. He said, “if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20-21) He said something similar of a tree being moved. He doesn’t mean that you literally want to move mountains and trees, He’s talking about moving the obstacles in life. Jesus always said the end result of what He wanted. He would say you are healed when people came to Him for healing. The disciples did, too. They said to the lame man, silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I thee, get up and walk.
If you review all the examples of people praying in the New Testament I think you’ll find they spoke the desired end result. It’s not that they are trying to lie, it’s that they are speaking in faith. Even Jesus said of Lazarus, he’s not dead but he is asleep. We all know Lazarus was dead, but Jesus meant he is temporarily sleeping or dead, but he knew He planned to raise him up. He said the desired result. Most of the time He said to people, you’re faith has made you whole. Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” Does our faith matter? In Mark 6:4-7 it says, “He could not do any miracles there, except lay His hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.” So we definitely take some responsibility in receiving answers from God.
Each person and animal will die someday and we don’t know when that will be. So we should always pray for healing and help out of our troubles. When we do leave here and our pets leave here, we’ll be in Heaven with the Lord. Until then I would encourage you to believe God and speak the blessings on you and your family!
This is a big subject which is too lengthy to cover in this article so I am listing a few books for further reading. They are all available on Amazon.
God’s Creative Power by Charles Capps ISBN: 978-0-9820320-3-9
The Tongue A Creative Force by Charles Capps, ISBN: 978-0-9819574-8-7
Healing The Sick by T. L. Osborn, ISBN: 978-0892744039
Animal Prayer Guide by Niki Behrikis Shanahan, ISBN: 978-0972030120
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
Copyright Niki Behrikis Shanahan 2011
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