I was just thinking about what I posted earlier about my son while I was doing horse chores this evening. The Lord spoke to my heart about my final statements in the blog entry. That if I was going to pray that God would do a work in me, I should act like I believe he would…like Daniel did when he made the effort and moved the hay after praying for rain.
I heard the voice of the Spirit whisper to my heart: “But do you *want* to be made whole?”
This surprised me.
I was then reminded of John 5:5-7, which says:
One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.
When Jesus saw him lying there
and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time,
he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
This man had been disabled for THIRTY-EIGHT years! He was there waiting for a way to get well. His presence in that place, his condition…it all seemed to indicate that he, of course, wanted to get well! So, why did Jesus ask him the question?
As I was pondering the way my son had prayed in faith for rain and taken action based on that faith, I considered…he really WANTED the rain. In fact, he wanted it enough that he planned for it, to welcome it. He put effort into receiving the rain. He DID something in preparation for the rain–the answer to his prayers. He anticipated the rain. When he prayed for rain, had Jesus asked him, “Do you want it to rain?” Daniel’s prayer *and* his actions would have indicated “YES! You BET I do!”
What about me? When I pray that God would take away my desire for food beyond what I need…well, do I *want* to get well? Do I *really* **want** the answer to my prayer to be yes? Or is there some way in which I continue to cherish sin in my heart?
Psalm 66:17-19 says:
I cried out to him with my mouth;
his praise was on my tongue.
If I had cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened;
but God has surely listened
and heard my voice in prayer.
If I am to be like Daniel when I pray, if I am to believe that God will bring it about, if I am going to act like it is going to happen…what kind of actions will that illicit in my life? Jesus asks me, “Do you want to get well? Do you really want to be free? Or are you comfortable with this ‘issue’ in your life? Does it ‘work’ for you?”
Am I making provision for the flesh? Or am I making provision for Him answering my prayer?
n the New American Standard Bible, Romans 13:14 says this:
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and make no provision for the flesh
in regard to its lusts.
If I think about Daniel, what would it have looked like if he hadn’t believed his prayer for rain would have been answered? He would have left the hay alone, but he might have gotten on sun screen and gone to the lake to go swimming. He would have left my bible out on the back deck instead of bringing it in. He might have even turned on the air conditioning or opened the windows in the house…he would have made provision for anticipating that the Lord wasn’t going to answer his prayer for rain.
Instead, he was convinced…he believed, he asked, he wanted what he asked for enough to DO. Could this be, in part, what James means when he said:
In the same way, faith by itself,
if it is not accompanied by action,
But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds,
and I will show you my faith by what I do.
– James 2:17-18
Daniel’s faith caused him not just to pray, but also to act, to do…a “deed” or two. Not to win God’s “yes,” but to anticipate it!
If I pray in faith for God to forever remove an unhealthy attachment to food in my life, if I anticipate that His answer will be yes, what DEEDS will I DO that show that I anticipate God acting in response to my prayer? Will I make provision for the flesh, expecting that I will never be free from an ungodly attachment…or will I expect not to feel the compulsion to eat to excess any more and choose to act, to DO something(s) that demonstrates to God and to myself that I know God is at work doing a new thing, changing my lusts, passions and desires? Am I making provision, if you will, for His affirmative answer to my prayer? Or am I making provision for my flesh, demonstrating a lack of faith *and* the answer to Jesus’ question “Do you want to be well?” that says, “No…no thanks…not really. Silly me…I didn’t MEAN to ask you to heal me…”
As I sit here editing this blog entry, I am smiling. God has such a sense of humor. Can you believe it? I actually, literally hear rain outside…the windows are open (my doing…). Maybe I better shut them.