Praying Glorifies God

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Praying Glorifies God

James R. Aist

“Let us then come with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

In an earlier article, I presented biblical evidence for the understanding that the main reason God created mankind, and, thus, the reason for our existence, is to glorify God (click HERE). In this article, I will argue that the very act of praying, regardless of the outcome, glorifies God, and therefore, it helps us to fulfill the main purpose for which God created us.

In evangelical Christianity, we are used to the idea that we glorify God by our singing, preaching, serving and even our giving. But, in my experience, bringing our concerns, our cares and our needs to Him in prayer seems to have been relegated to more of a self-serving exercise, where any glory given to God depends on the answers, if any, to our prayers. Such an attitude can prevent us from praying, or, worse still, it can lead us to put God on trial, as it were, where we, in effect, demand that God give us an explanation for unwanted outcomes, or else! But God has shown me a better way to approach His throne of grace, an attitude that will always give Him glory, regardless of His response. I believe that this better way, when embraced and employed, will allay the fear of unanswered prayer that so easily can become a roadblock to praying at all.

This better way is really very simple, albeit not necessarily easy. Start with acknowledging that God is on His throne in heaven and does whatever He pleases (Psalm 115:3). The corollary to this fact is that you, on the other hand, are not God. And, God is still God regardless of the outcome of your prayer. These three things we must settle in our hearts, before approaching Him for help. Then, be prepared to accept and make peace with the outcome of your request as the best outcome possible, regardless of how it stacks up against your personal opinion or desire. Trust that God always has a good reason for His response to your request, and remember that He doesn’t owe you an explanation if you don’t like it! “Where is the glory in that?”, you might ask. Well, the glory is in the act of going to God for help, thus acknowledging both who He is and His great and everlasting love for us. The mere act of praying to God glorifies Him by acknowledging who He is, and it fulfills the very purpose for which He created us! There is no such thing as a fruitless prayer!

Finally, in this context, I want to leave you with a thought to mull over. Could it be that maybe, just maybe, praying is ultimately more about God than it is about us. If the act of praying, regardless of the outcome, glorifies God, and if that, in turn, fulfills our primary purpose for existing, then what outcome could possibly be more important than that?

(To find more of my articles with a biblical theme, click HERE)

The “Handwriting” on the Wall

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The “Handwriting” on the Wall

James R. Aist

“… I have now come to give you insight and understanding.” (Daniel 9:22)

From the time I was eight years old, God has been communicating with me, now and then, through visions. I was forty years of age when this vision came to me. It was springtime, 1985. One Sunday morning I began to pray earnestly, asking God what He wanted me to do with the rest of my life. Just four days later, in the middle of the night, I was awakened suddenly and sat straight up in bed, aware of the presence in the room of a “spirit being.” At first, there was nothing visible to explain this phenomenon. By this time in my Christian walk, I had enough Bible knowledge (e.g., 1 John 4:1) to “test the spirits”, so I said to it, “Who are you?” There was no verbal response, but something bright then appeared on the wall to my left. So, I looked in that direction and saw, in large, white, bold lettering, a Scripture reference: “DANIEL 9: 22…” As I was pondering that message, the writing slowly faded away. Through this vision, God was directing my attention to the book of Daniel, chapter nine, verses 22 and following. Realizing that this was no ordinary spiritual experience, I made note of the message on the wall and went back to sleep, with the intention of looking into the matter thoroughly the next morning.

Now, up until then, I had virtually no idea what was in the book of Daniel, except for the story of “Daniel in the Lions’ Den.” So, the next morning, with the aid of a study guide, I carefully studied the book of Daniel through twice. For our reference, here is the passage of Scripture to which I had been directed: 21 indeed, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. 22 He informed me and talked with me, and said, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. 23 At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved. Therefore understand the matter and consider the vision: 24 “Seventy weeks have been determined for your people and upon your holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make atonement for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy Place.

Let me share with you now my understanding of the message that God was giving me through this vision. First, in verse 22, Gabriel, speaking to Daniel of a prophecy given many years earlier by the Prophet Jeremiah, said “… I have now come to give you insight and understanding.” God was saying to me that He was giving me insight into and understanding of the Scriptures that I did not already possess. And second, I found out that Chapter 9 is considered to be the “backbone of Bible prophecy”, because, in Chapter 9, it predicted to the day when Jesus would make His triumphal entry into Jerusalem as the long-promised Jewish Messiah! God was confirming to me the accuracy and reliability of the Bible as His Word and calling me to become a student of the Bible then and there, no longer just a casual and occasional reader of it.

You may wonder how this vision impacted my life. Simply put, it set my life on a different course. After all, this vision was God’s way of answering my question concerning what He wanted me to do with the rest of my life! Since that day, my worldview has become thoroughly and unequivocally biblical, and I have become, not only a student, but also a teacher, of the Bible. And, I now have the courage of my convictions, courage to stand boldly and publicly for the truths of God’s Word. To God be the glory, all of it!

(To read more of my articles with a biblical theme, click HERE)

God Remembered!

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God Remembered!

James R. Aist

“I will compensate you for the years the locusts have eaten…” (Joel 2:25)

The trail of this testimony began when I was forced to accept the fact that my first marriage, which produced three wonderful and dearly beloved children, was soon to end in divorce. I was especially concerned about the eternal destiny of my children, so I went to my “meeting rock” under an oak tree at the edge of a small woods behind my house to meet with God about it. I sat down on the rock and began to cry out to God on behalf of my children. I didn’t try to hide anything. I confessed that I had not fulfilled my biblical responsibility as spiritual head of the household, and, consequently, my children seemed to be headed in the wrong direction, spiritually. At that time I had little positive influence on them, and I confessed that, through my own negligence,  I was not in a good position to lead them spiritually and teach them about the things of God. I told God that if my children were going to be saved, He would have to step in and, somehow, make up for my negligence and do whatever it takes to save them. Then, with Joel 2:25 in mind, I pleaded with Him to do it.

Several years passed, and God responded gloriously to this prayer. I was attending the Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship International Men’s Advance at Lake George in upstate New York. One day when they were immersion baptizing in the lake, I stepped forward to be immersed by Pastor Don Yarborough. We had never met, and he knew nothing about me. As I approached him in the water, he just stared at me straight in the eye with a blank look, and kept staring. I thought to myself, “That’s strange; he doesn’t seem to even see me coming.” Finally, as I drew near to him, he reached out his hand to me, we shook hands, and I introduced myself. Then he said that something very unusual had just happened; it had happened only once before in his ~20 years of baptizing people. He said that as I was approaching him in the water, he received a prophecy for me, in the form of several Bible passages from both the Old Testament and the New Testament. They all had to do with the head of the household being saved and all of his family with him. He then proceeded to share with me all five of those Bible verses. When he had finished with that, he gave me the interpretation of the message: “God wants you to stand on and hold fast to these biblical promises, which he is confirming to you and your children.”

Wow! Through this prophecy, God had just told me that all of my children will be saved. Clearly, this was God’s response to my prayer, at the “meeting rock”, for their salvation! Needless to say, I was a “happy camper” the rest of that afternoon.

I didn’t say anything to any of my children about this glorious promise at that time, because I didn’t want to risk getting in the way of what God was going to do or how He was going to do it. After all, I had given the salvation of all of my children over to Him to take care of, and I meant it.

God’s Perfect Timing

God’s Perfect Timing

A True Story by Angie Brown

Colleen finished the letter she was writing, folded it and slipped it into an envelope.  Nearby lay her purse.  She reached into it and pulled out nine one-dollar bills.  This was all the money she had earned in three weeks.  She was only 14 years old and had taken a job at the lake, working for a young family with two children.  Her job was to take care of the children and do some housework.  For these responsibilities, her wages were three dollars a week, plus room and board.  She was excited about this wonderful opportunity to earn a little money.

She counted the money again to make sure she had taken all of it from her purse.  “I never had so much money in all my life,” she said to herself.  “I could buy some new clothes for school, notebooks and maybe one of those erasers with the rough edges to erase ink.”  For a few moments she felt very rich, but then she remembered what she was really planning to do with the money.  Seven brothers and sisters at home were in need. She felt a burst of joy and satisfaction as she stuffed the money into the envelope with the letter and sealed it.  Then, with a sense of accomplishment, she put the letter in the mail.

A few days later, and many miles away, Colleen’s mother, Dessy, was in her kitchen checking the cupboard.  “If I had some flour and yeast, I could mix up some bread dough to bake,” she thought, “or a bone for soup; but payday is three days away.” “Tell me what to do, Lord” she prayed.

Then she walked out into the back yard and began taking the freshly dried laundry off the clothes line, still praying.  After filling her arms with a load of clothes, she walked back into the kitchen and heard the sound of footsteps on the front porch.  She laid the clothes down and walked to the front door, just as the mailman was leaving.  “Oh,” she said to herself, taking the mail out of the box, “a letter from Colleen.  I’m so glad she has this opportunity to work at the lake.”  Colleen and the two older children were a big help to her at this particular time.

As she opened the letter to read it, a bunch of bills fluttered out.  When she had read Colleen’s letter and counted the nine one-dollar bills, she exclaimed, “She…she has sent me all the wages she has earned!”  Dessy’s cheeks were drenched with tears as she thanked God over and over for answered prayer. So, with money in hand, she left immediately for the grocery store.

Later, when Colleen’s employer learned that she had risked sending cash in a letter, she was concerned.  “You know, you took a big chance sending the money that way”, she said. Colleen paused for a moment and then replied “Oh, I knew it would get there. It was needed at home.”

Isn’t that a beautiful example of how God answers prayer and provides for the needs of His own people? And just in time, too!  His timing is perfect, isn’t it?

(For more articles by Angie Brown, click HERE)