Seizing the Promises

Complimentary Story
September  2022

   “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”  (Jude 3).

   Why do Christians fail to receive answers to their prayers? There are various reasons, too many to cover in this article. Hopefully you will find an answer for yourself in what we discuss here today.

   James addresses the issue of unanswered prayer in chapter 4 of his Epistle. “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.”  (James 4:3 NASB).

   James shows us that selfish prayers are not going to receive a positive response from God. Keep your prayers based on the promises found in God’s Word.

   A second reason why people fail to receive is because they remain under the influence of the domain of darkness. The Hebrew word for darkness is “Chosheck.” Chosheck means: 1) darkness, 2) sickness, 3) poverty, 4) misery, 5) falsehood, 6) ignorance and 7) death. (Remember, “For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.”  (Colossians 1:13 NASB).

   Let’s take note of #5) falsehood and #6) ignorance. Christians fail to receive answers to their prayers because they remain under the influence of the domain of darkness; specifically, falsehood and/or ignorance.

   Some Christians are taught incorrectly concerning prayer, that would come under the heading of #5) falsehood. Some Christians are not taught at all about how to get answers to our prayers, that would be #6) ignorance. To be ignorant is not to be stupid, it simply means we are un-taught. It means we lack knowledge or experience. There is no condemnation here, we are all ignorant to some degree, just in different areas.

   Regardless of the reasons for it, the lack of knowledge in how to pray effectively yields defeat and failure.

We gain additional light or insight into unanswered prayer from James in Chapter 4:2c, which states, “You do not have because you do not ask.” I can hear your response already, “But Dave, I’ve been asking God for years about this issue.” Yes, I know.

   Our problem lies in the mistranslation of the word “ask.” Ask is the Greek word “aiteo,” #154 in Strong’s Concordance. The true meaning of aiteo is not found under #154 but under #4441 where Strong says “#154, aiteo, which is strictly a demand of something due.” This interpretation of #154 is further verified by #155 and #523, apaiteo, which means to demand back. Therefore, James actually said, “You do not have because you do not demand.”

   John taught this same doctrine of demanding prayer in 1 John 3:21-22.  “Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we (aiteo) demand we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.”  (1 John 3:21-22 NASB).

   John reaffirms this doctrine of demanding prayer in chapter 5:14-15.  “And this is the confidence that we have before Him, that, if we (aiteo) demand anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we (aiteo) demand, we know that we have the (aitema) demands which we have (aiteo) demanded from Him.”  (1 John 5:14-15 NASB; see Peter, Acts 3:6-8).

   Did you catch that part about “according to His will?” God’s will is expressed in the promises found in God’s Word. Keep your prayers based on His promises to you. Those are the prayers He is WILLING to hear and answer.

   Peter, James and John received this doctrine of demanding prayer from Jesus at the Last Supper (Passover). “And whatever you (aiteo) demand in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you (aiteo) demand Me anything in My name, I will do it.”  (John 14:13-14 NASB).

   “If you abide (remain) in Me, and My words abide (remain) in you, (aiteo) demand whatever you wish and it shall be done for you.”  (John 15:7 NASB; See also Mark 11:22-24).

   “You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you (aiteo) demand of the Father in My name, He may give it to you.”  (John 15:16 NASB; See also John 16:23-24, 26).

   Failure to meet the condition of the promise, which is to demand, results in failure to obtain the promise; which is answered prayer.

   This doctrine of demanding prayer is what Jesus was trying to get across to us in Matthew 11:12.  “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.”  (Matthew 11:12 NASB).  The margin of my Bible says it this way, “... the kingdom of heaven is forcibly entered, and violent men seize it for themselves.”

   Being born again is a gift we passively receive from God. However, Jesus taught us that the blessings that we are entitled to as a result of our salvation, as a result of being the children of the most-high God, are not passively received, they must be forcibly entered. The blessings must be seized by demanding, not by begging or by attempting to passively receive them. Like the Promised Land of the Old Covenant, we have to fight to obtain what God has Promised Us in the New Covenant.

   The woman with the issue of blood is a perfect example for us. She pressed through the crowd that stood between her and her healing. She was determined to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment. She was determined to seize her healing. (Mark 5:25-34).

   According to what Jesus taught us, you can push through the thoughts of doubt that crowd your mind. You can push through the years of false doctrine that says, “God doesn’t heal like that anymore” or “the age of miracles is over.” If you push through all the resistance Satan throws your way and seize, lay hold of and hold on to the promises of Jesus’ Gospel, He will answer your demands.

   How can I make such a bold statement? Simple. Jesus promised. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever.  (Hebrews13:8 NASB).

   What has Jesus won for us? What are we entitled to? The word “saved” is the Greek word sozo. Sozo means: Physically or Morally; 1) to save, 2) to heal, 3) to preserve, 4) to protect, 5) to do well, 6) to be whole, 7) to make whole. Also, the Hebrew word “Yesha,” from which Jesus gets His Hebrew name, “Yeshua,” means: 1) Liberty, 2) Deliverance, 3) Help, 4) Salvation, 5) Freedom, 6) Welfare, 7) Prosperity.

   Today’s religious Pharisees will argue and refute this Good News (Gospel). Well, they will have to argue with Jesus. It is His Gospel. Demanding prayer is His teaching. Demanding prayer is His Doctrine. Demanding prayer is His promise to us. These promises are in red. They are His words.

   “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.”  (Mark 13:31 NASB).

   Let’s all preach the same Gospel Jesus preached.


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