The Promises Of God
Our heavenly Father has made many promises in the Bible. But there is confusion about which verses we can claim as a definite commitment from God. Three questions are useful in evaluating whether divine promises apply to our own situation:
1. Is this promise limited to a specific person or circumstance, or does it apply to all believers? For example, the pledge made to Abraham and Sarah about giving birth to a child (Gen. 18:10) is restricted to them, whereas Hebrews 13:5 contains a guarantee to all Christians that Jesus will be with them forever.
2. Are we asking the Lord to meet a need or a desire? A need is something that we must have in order for God to complete His work in our lives. A desire is something we want for satisfaction or enjoyment. If we lose our job, then an essential—an incoming wage—is missing. But if we want a new position for personal reasons, it’s a desire.
3. Before fulfilling a promise, does the Lord require some action on our part? Proverbs 3:5-6 is a conditional promise, which pledges God’s direction on the basis of our trust in Him. On the other hand, Jesus’ assurance of His presence with believers is unconditional (Matt. 28:20).
By evaluating Scripture on the basis of these questions, we will know which promises apply to our situation. Think of how much more confidence we’ll have in asking our Lord to fulfill them. For, as 2 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV) says, “No matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ.”
The Battle That Is Prayer
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints. Ephesians 6:18
When we pray, our thoughts are centered on “our side” of the prayer: time, place, and our need. Even after we pray, our attention is on the answer we hope to receive. Again, all that activity is on our side of the prayer. But what about “God’s side” of our prayers? What happens in heavenly places, at the throne of God, when we pray? Simply put, we don’t know—and it is fruitless to speculate. But we should not ignore the glimpses behind the curtain that Scripture offers.
First, prayer is linked to spiritual warfare—it was the last thing Paul mentioned in his description of the Christian’s spiritual armor (Ephesians 6:18). Anticipating conflicts in Jerusalem, Paul requested prayer for his deliverance before arriving (Romans 15:30-33). Jesus labored so mightily in prayer that an angel had to minister to Him (Luke 22:43-44). And Daniel 10 gives us a glimpse of the actual three-week spiritual warfare in heaven that surrounded Daniel’s prayers.
The next time you pray, thank God for the strength to persevere and that His will is always done.
Recommended Reading: Daniel 10:2, 12-14
It is impossible to be a true soldier of Jesus Christ and not fight. J. Gresham Machen