4 May he grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed. — Psalm 20:1 NLT
When we read verses like the one above and others throughout the Bible, what thoughts go through our minds? Does this mean that we can ask God for anything and expect to get it? Is there any requirements for prayers to be of a certain form or prayed in a certain way? Is God like a huge dispensing machine where we deposit a prayer and out comes everything we asked for? Is/are there some particular thing(s) we must do before this is true? Suppose a non-Christian reads the Bible, reads these verses and prays? What answer could that person expect? Is God obligated to answer every prayer? if so, why? if not, why not?
There are two categories of people that pray; the unsaved and the saved. I believe it could easily be proven that the only prayer from an unsaved person that God is obligated to answer is a prayer of repentance. None of God’s promises besides salvation apply to the lost or unsaved. Those of us who have prayed the “sinner’s” prayer and are now the redeemed are in a different place entirely. Tomorrow a deeper look at some of these questions.
19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts.
— Ephesians 5:19 NLT
If we take any time to read the testimonies of our brothers and sisters who are persecuted by being imprisoned, our hearts will break at the stories of their cruel treatment. Sleeping in hot containers in the blazing sun or on cold ground in winter time. Being allowed only one set of clothing with no laundering facilities for months. Being fed one meal a day (on good days) and that being nothing but gruel. Being given the worst of the chores, such as shoveling out the latrine pools and carrying the waste away in buckets. Being beaten for witnessing to the other prisoners. When these brothers and sisters are interviewed (if they survive), they each have amazing stories of how God was gracious to them, providing supernatural spiritual, mental and physical strength. But there is one common theme that runs through their stories. When asked the quesiton; “How do you survive such cruel treatment for such a long length of time?” They tell stories of singing the spiritual songs they have learned while serving Jesus. Some are old hymns, some are psalms and other Bible verses set to music, some are words that God has given them for just such a time. Helen Berthane tells her story of imprisonment in the containers in Eritrea in her book, “The Song of the Nightingale”. In her book, she tells of many songs that Jesus gave to her. In our own lives, though we certainly have never tasted such cruel punishment for our Christian beliefs, such songs can get us through the hardest times. Take the time to commit some Spiritual songs to memory and the next time, satan shoots his fiery arrows at you, repel them with your favorite songs and verses. He will flee.