We must enter into an expectant spirit of prayer, knowing that, when we meet His conditions, God will hear and answer us.
“Ask and you will be given what you ask for. Seek, and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened. For everyone who asks, receives. Anyone who seeks, finds. If only you will knock, the door will be open” Matthew 7:7,8
We were conducting a Bible study on the subject of prayer when Amy, a professing Christian most of her life, said, “God never answers my prayers. In fact, I cannot recall a single prayer of mine that God has answered specifically.”
Several others in the group chimed in and said, “Neither can I.” So we turned to this passage and discussed it together. Would God lie to us? Is His Word trustworthy? Or is prayer an exercise in futility? Are we simply talking to ourselves and each other, or is there a God who hears and answers? If so, why have these not had their prayers answered?
First of all, we had to review the qualifications for prayer. Jesus said, “If you abide in Me and My Word abides in you, ask what you will and it shall be done unto you.” The Scripture also says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” So if we expect to have our prayers answered, Jesus Christ must be the Lord of our lives. There must be no unconfessed sin in our lives and we must be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Further, 1 John 5:14,15 reminds us: “If we ask anything according to God’s will, He hears us and answers,” so we must be sure that we are praying according to the Word of God. As we pray, the Spirit of God impresses upon us certain things for which to pray specifically, such as the salvation of a friend, the healing of a body or a financial need. If the prayer is offered with a pure motive and according to God’s will, we can expect an answer to it.
And we cannot pray casually. We must enter into an expectant spirit of prayer, knowing that, when we meet His conditions, God will hear and answer us.
Within a matter of weeks everyone in that Bible study, especially Amy, was inspired by the exciting challenge of prayer. God had truly heard, and again and again, they were able to point to specific answers.
Bible Reading: Luke 11:5-13
TODAY: I shall review my spiritual walk to be sure I am meeting God’s conditions: (1) Christ is Lord of my life. (2) I am filled with the Holy Spirit. (3) There is no unconfessed sin in my life. (4) I am praying according to God’s Word. And (5) I am praying specifically. As a result, I expect my prayers to be answered because God promises they will be.
So, how do we put off an aroma that is pleasing to God and others in our life?
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Romans 12:1
Nothing attracts or turns people away from someone or something more than smells. Think about how people are drawn to good smelling aromas coming from restaurants and then think about how people are reluctant to go into shops with a bad odour. All throughout the Bible, we are called to give a pleasing aroma to the LORD. This is an interesting concept, but, one we need to understand and seek after. When our lives “smell good”, it implies that we are living in a way that is attractive to God, and through this we begin to feel and embrace His presence near to us. We, likewise, draw others in with this unusual aroma not given off by the world with a chance of pointing them to Jesus. So, how do we put off an aroma that is pleasing to God and others in our life?
It means we become the living sacrifice the Bible calls us to be by submitting our time, talents, and ultimately our lives to Jesus. We become true followers of Jesus, not just church goers or Christian look alikes. We go all in and pursue Jesus with our whole hearts, minds, and bodies. We spend time in prayer, personal devotion, and serve the body of Christ to the fullest. When we do this, we naturally begin to put off love, joy, peace, forgiveness, and compassion to the world around us. This is a pleasing aroma to all people, believer or not, and something that will naturally draw people in. Even more so, this is a pleasing aroma to God. When we put off this aroma to the world around us, people will desire for their lives to “smell’ like this also and hopefully begin to crave the One whom ignites this aroma within us.