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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Before You Know It: Answered Prayer

I think it’s so fascinating how God sometimes answers prayer immediately, or He even has the answer on the way before the prayer is prayed. I was reading about Abraham, and it impressed me that Abraham’s servant was still speaking when God showed him the answer to his prayer. I hope you’ll enjoy reading these biblical examples of God’s immediate answers: 

Abraham’s servant was praying for a wife for Isaac. He needed a sign. He prayed, Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water: And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast showed kindness unto my master (verses 13-14). Before he had done speaking . . . Rebekah came out (verse 14), and of course, she gave him water and volunteered to water his camels. God answered his prayer! (The whole story can be found in Genesis 24:2-67.)

Moses had led the Israelites across the Red Sea on dry land, but once in the desert, the people were thirsty. They’d been three days without water, and when they arrived at a place called Marah, the water was bitter. And the people murmured against Moses, saying, what shall we drink? And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them (Exodus 15:24-25). Immediately, God showed Moses what to do. God would supply potable water for thousands of thirsty people.

Again, the Israelites complained to Moses about their lack of water. Moses, the great man of God cried to the Lord, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me. And the LORD said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go. Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel (verses 4b-6). As soon as Moses asked God what to do, God answered and provided the solution. (The whole story is in Exodus 17:1-7.)

Moses went up on Mount Sinai and communed with God. And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God (Exodus 31:18). The Ten Commandments were an extension of the fellowship between God and Man.

Elijah challenged Ahab and the prophets of Baal to meet him on Mount Carmel. They did, and they prayed to their gods, cutting themselves, and crying out. Nothing happened to their offering. It was Elijah’s turn. He prepared the offering and wet it down with repeated soakings of water. Then he prayed, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God (1 Kings 18:36-39). (The whole story is in 1 Kings 18:19-39.)

Elisha was in Dothan. The king of Syria decided to surround the city with troops. Elisha’s servant was very upset when he saw horses and chariots all around the city. But Elisha knew they were not defenseless. He told his servant, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha (2 Kings 6:16-17). As soon as Elisha prayed, his servant saw. (2 Kings 6:11-17 for complete story)

Nehemiah was King Artaxerxes’ cupbearer. One day, the king noticed that Nehemiah looked sad, and he asked Nehemiah why. Nehemiah was terrified, as the king had the power to kill him for looking sad in his presence. But Nehemiah answered that Jerusalem’s walls were down and the gates had been burned. Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchres, that I may build it. And the king said unto me, (the queen also sitting by him,) For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return? So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time (verses 4-6). Nehemiah prayed to God for favor in the king’s eyes, and he was immediately granted his petition. (Nehemiah 2:1-6)

There are more! Watch for my next post.

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