Sunday, May 8, 2016
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. Phil 4:6
A great many people get discouraged because they pray for temporal blessings; for what is not good for them. God does not answer such prayers; and they ought to thank him for it. Now the men who are taken up the most prominently in Scripture, perhaps the most eminent men who ever lived, don't get their prayers answered. It is no sign that God does not love us, because we don't get our prayers answered, as we want them answered. There is Moses, whom God takes up more than any man in the Old Testament. He prayed as no one else prays. He was a man of prayer, and we can hear him praying God to take him over the sea to the goodly land. But God did not answer his prayer—not because he did not love him,
but because he had something else in store for him. We can imagine him talking to Moses as a mother to a child, who is asking for something she does not wish him to have. God
says: "That will do, Moses! I hear you; I know you want to go over there pretty bad; but I am not going to let you go. It's no use." But God did for him that which was much greater than any answer to his prayer could have been. He did for him what he never did for any other man. He conferred upon him tho greatest, the most sublime distinction he could give to any mortal. God buried him. He could not see the promised land, and as some one has beautifully expressed it, "God kissed his soul away." God did not answer his prayer. Yes, he did answer it, if that which happened later could be called an answer. He did answer it fifteen hundred years afterwards, when he appeared with Elias on the Mount of Transfiguration. It appeared that his prayer was not answered. But it was answered at last. So it was with Elijah. There he was praying under the juniper tree; he was praying that he might die. But God did not answer his prayer. But it was by the power of prayer that he was rendered fearless, when he was set before Ahab. Look at him calling down fire on Mount Carmel. All the prophets could not call the fire down; he prayed, and the fire came. He prayed under the juniper tree that he might die; but God did not answer his prayer. Why not? Because it would have been a disgrace to God—the man's dying then under the juniper tree. God loved him too well to answer his prayer. God does not answer our prayers, sometimes, because we ask for things that would be harmful to us. We would get a good many things we ask for, if God did not love us too well to answer our prayers.
A man was shaving himself once, and his little boy came up to him and said, "Father, let me have the razor."
And his father said, "Why, my boy, what do you want it for?"
"Oh, I just want to whittle a little with it; I just want to play with it."
The father said: "No, I cannot let you have it, my boy. You will cut yourself."
"No, I won't! I want it; it shines so!"
The father said, "You cannot have it."
Do you say the father did not love the boy? he loved him too well. Now there are a great many of God's people who are just like this little boy: They are praying for razors. God knows what we want better than we do, in temporal things. God loves us too well. There was Paul. He prayed and prayed earnestly that God would take the thorn out of his flesh. But God said: "That will do, Paul; I cannot do it. The thorn must remain; it will give you more grace." Then Paul thanked God for the thorn. He wouldn't have it out if he could, because he got more grace by it. These things bring us closer to Christ. All prayers are not answered just as we want them answered. He loves us just the same, if we don't get them answered just as we want them answered. We may then rely upon it, God has got some-thing better in store for us. We can pray for the conversion of friends, because God likes that. Let us go boldly, and call God to convert our friends; and God will hear and answer our prayers.
D. L. Moody