Some years ago, I heard from a lady who chastised me for writing about how I stood on the promises of God for my oldest son, and witnessed the Lord delivering him in mighty ways. She shared with me how she had earnestly prayed for her own son's deliverance, but had seen him die in a senseless tragedy instead. She urged me not to encourage others to pray the promises of God, because it might get their hopes up, and cause them to be bitterly disappointed. My own heart grieved for this woman, and I felt ashamed that I had caused her so much pain.
As I turned to God for His perspective on the matter, He brought to my remembrance some great men and women of faith who had tragically lost children of their own, but had continued to stand on God's promises, and to encourage others to do the same. Perhaps the Lord understood the doubt and discouragement that the woman who wrote me was experiencing. I certainly did. But which attitude would please Him more - the one that discarded the promises of God because of a personal experience, or the one that pressed on in faith despite unimaginable pain? I believe we can find the answer in Hebrews 11:6 (NIV), which says: "Without faith it is impossible to please God."
Recently, I went through a trial that dampened my own faith more than I care to admit. At one point, as I cried out to the Lord in desperation, He began bringing across my path numerous people who urged me to pray and stand on the promises of God. One of the things that impressed me most was hearing a godly man say that Satan simply cannot defeat a believer who perseveres in prayer, and claims the promises of God. Since then, I have gotten more serious than ever about claiming God's promises, and encouraging others to do the same. These days, when one of my loved ones turns to me for prayer, it's not unusual for me to tell them, "Get your promise books out!" Not only have I distributed Bibles to many of my relatives and friends, but I have also given them books containing God's promises. I have found that people who won't necessarily sit down with a Bible, will often cling to a little promise book in their times of need. And I have discovered these little books to be some of the most powerful witnessing tools I have ever encountered.
The Bible instructs us to "Put the Lord in remembrance of His promises." (Isaiah 62:6 AMP) How do we do that? Through prayer. I recently heard from a woman who was having serious problems with her teenage daughter. No matter how long or hard she prayed, she saw very little change in her child's life. Then I recommended some books to her that contained prayers based on God's promises. As her prayers shifted from being problem-centered to promise-centered, she was able to focus on the power of God, rather than on her own powerlessness. That's when she began seeing mountains move, and her daughter's life being radically changed.
Scripture says: "God is not a man, that He should lie. He is not a human, that He should change His mind. Has He ever spoken and failed to act? Has He ever promised and not carried it through?" (Numbers 23:19 NLT) God longs for us to take Him at His Word, and to pray His promises back to Him. While God is Sovereign, and He will be the One to decide how our prayers are answered, let us never forget that it is faith that pleases Him, and that enables us to reap His richest rewards!
Prayer: Lord, teach me how to pray and stand on Your promises to bring Your perfect will to pass in every area of my life, and the lives of my loved ones. Remind me often that Your promises have the power to strengthen, comfort, refresh, and revive me in times of trouble. (Psalm 119:49-50) Thank You, Lord, that You are "the God who keeps every promise"! (Psalm 146:6 TLB)
Promise-Power Point: If I judge God's promises solely on the basis of my personal experiences - or those of others - I will rob them of their supernatural power for my life; but if I keep my faith in the Lord's promises, and expect Him to honor them, He will be pleased, and I will be blessed.
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