A man once planned a boat trip to Europe. When his friends found out, they all came asking him to buy something for them while he was there. When they had gone, he looked over their lists and found, to his dismay, that if he made all of their purchases, he would have no money left over to pay for the trip. In fact, of all his friends, only one had brought money to purchase what he wanted the man to buy.
When the man returned, his friends gathered around him, eager to see what he had brought them back from his trip. To their surprise, they found that he had made only one of the purchases he had been asked to make. The man explained, “One day, as I sat on the deck of the ship looking over your lists, a breeze came along and blew them all away, except for this one.”
“How could that have happened?” a frustrated friend asked.
“Well,” he replied, “this list was weighted down with the money needed to make the requested purchase!”
Do you see the point? When we go to God in prayer, do we give Him something with which to work, or do we go before Him empty-handed? In other words, when we ask Him to help the poor, are we willing to help the poor? When we ask Him to comfort the sick, are we willing to comfort the sick? When we ask Him to help spread the good news of Jesus Christ to all the world, are we willing to help spread the good news of Jesus Christ to all the world? Are we willing?
Sometimes, God uses us to answer our own prayers. The question is this: Are we willing to do some of the work, or without lifting a finger, do we simply expect God to cater to our every demand? Matthew 7:7 teaches about prayer, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Notice that in order for something to be given, found or opened, we must first ask, seek and knock. Yet, what role are we willing to play as God answers those prayers? James 2:15, 16 reads, “If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,’ and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?”
The next time you ask God to answer a prayer, ask yourself this question first: “Am I willing to do whatever God needs me to do in order for this prayer to be answered?” You might find some incredible results if you do!
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