Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Responding to God's Promises in Prayer

How should we respond to the promises of God? Is there a way that in prayer we can respond with more than a simple “thank you”? This morning as I was reading in 2 Samuel 7, I saw such a response in action.

David had intended to build a house for God. God basically told him that he had been too much a warrior to build God a house. But then God turned the table on David and promised to build him a house. That is, he promised to give him and his sons after him a great kingdom.

First he responds in humility. In verse 18 he says, “Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far?” He realizes that he is unworthy of such a promise.

In humility he recognizes the greatness of God who is able to accomplish all of this for generations to come. In verse 19 he says, “And yet this was a small thing in Your sight, O Lord God; and You have also spoken of Your servant’s house for a great while to come. Is this the manner of man, O Lord God?”

In continuing humility he also acknowledges that it is through God’s condescending mercy that He would even make known to David such a plan. In verse 21 he says, “For Your word’s sake, and according to Your own heart, You have done all these great things, to make Your servant know them.” We need to remember that it is only through the mercy and grace of God that He reveals anything at all to us.

Because of what God was able to do, David exults into praise: “Therefore You are great, O Lord God. For there is none like You, nor is there any God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears.”

One of the things we need to remember when we are thanking God for things He has done or promised to do is that He does what He does for His own name’s sake. Sometimes we become quite egocentric when it comes to our praying as though everything God does somehow revolves around us. David says in verse 23, “And who is like Your people, like Israel, the one nation on the earth whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people, to make for Himself a name—and to do for Yourself great and awesome deeds for Your land – before Your people whom You redeemed for Yourself from Egypt, the nations, and their gods?”

Finally he asks God to do what He has promised. Sometimes we shy away from this kind of praying because we think, “God said it, why should I pray it again?” But David doesn’t think this way. He says, “Now, O Lord God, the word which You have spoken concerning Your servant and concerning his house, establish it forever and do as You have said. …And let the house of Your servant David be established before You.” And he continues in verse 28, “And now, O Lord God, You are God, and Your words are true, and You have promised this goodness to your servant. Now therefore, let it please You to bless the house of Your servant, that it may continue before You forever; for You, O Lord God, have spoken it, and with Your blessing let the house of Your servant be blessed forever.” Do you see what he is doing? God promised to bless David’s house and so David asks God to bless his house.

Let’s use this as an opportunity to improve our prayer life and increase our faith by praying back to God what He has promised.

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