Wednesday, November 24, 2021
Thanksgiving Message - Fifth Kernel of Corn - God Hears and Answers Our Prayers
I have heard the words of others who have said that their words come from the Lord. They tell those who listen to donate money to their ministry and, in return, they will share the secret to getting God to give them whatever they want. They call themselves preachers and demand that you give to their ministries so that God will bless you. They always quote the same Old Testament verses and tell you that your offering must be given in order for you to receive God’s blessings.
If you don’t receive your blessing from God, those same charlatans will tell you to donate even more and more money. I have seen people donate hundreds of dollars that they didn’t have to these ministries. They continue to pray and donate. Even after all of that, they may still not receive what they want. It’s usually at this point that these charlatans will tell you that you still don’t have enough faith in God and that you need to continue to prove to Him that you are faithful by giving more.
After they have spent all of their money and have received nothing that they desired, they are dejected and give up completely on their relationship with God. In their minds, God didn’t listen to them and God certainly didn’t answer their prayers. Are they right? They certainly aren’t right.
In Psalms sixty-six, the author writes, “For I cried out to him for help, praising him as I spoke. If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But God did listen! He paid attention to my prayer. Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer or withdraw his unfailing love from me.”
The Bible is full of passages that say the same thing. God listens and answers the prayers of His children, because He loves them. The problem that often comes up is how we treat God in our prayers. If we tell God what we want like children writing out their Christmas wish list, then we are changing the dynamics of our relationship with God. God is no longer in control or the one we share. By making demands of Him, we put ourselves in control and turn God into a blessing vending machine. We no longer serve Him; He serves us.
Because of that one change in our relationship with the Almighty, God will still listen and He will answer, but it may not be the way or what we wanted. We may even become disillusioned or decide to give up on God. We may even say to ourselves that God gave up on us and doesn’t really listen to prayers or give us what we want.
When his disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, he gave them a model prayer that we all have learned and have memorized. We call that prayer “the Lord’s prayer”. It is a very simple prayer, but it is so meaningful. When you begin to analyze it and break it down by parts, you can easily see that this prayer asks for very little.
In chapter six of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says, “Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.”
The prayer teaches us that we only have today and that we ask for God to provide for our needs and also ask for Him to forgive our sins. It goes on to ask for the ability to resist temptation. Nowhere in the prayer does it ask for fame or fortune. It simply asks for the provisions of one day and to be forgiven of sin. There is nothing more to it.
If we truly believe in the language of this simple, yet profound, prayer, we will soon see that our Heavenly Father does listen and answer our prayers. It took me quite some time to learn this lesson myself. I often acted like a spoiled child and made demands of Him. After not getting what I wanted, I, too, would question Him and wonder whether or not He was listening to me.
Over time, I began to see things in a different light. As I grew older, I began to understand the true meaning of that simple prayer and my place as a child of God. I have seen the power of prayer and witnessed many miracles. I have seen the hand of God intervene where no mortal could. I have been a witness and a recipient of His love and intervention.
Don’t make the mistake of taking His love and blessings for granted or asking Him to give you things that you don’t need. It is so very easy to ask for more, but you should be content with all that you have and be thankful for it. I know that it is difficult to think in these terms and you, like most, want more.
We all say the same thing over and over, “If I only had that or this, I would be happy and not ask for anything more.”
I have said those words before in a prayer. The words just come out and we always are wanting more and more. But, we need to stop and think about what we are saying in our prayers.
In chapter thirteen of his first epistle to the Corinthians, Paul writes, “When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.”
When you consider the plight of the Pilgrims during their first year in the new world, they weren’t concerned about frivolous things. They were happy with what they had and they asked the Lord to get them through the perils and problems of one day. They thanked Him for the blessings of their meager rations and knew that God would see them through all of their struggles.
With that faith guiding them and keeping them on the path of righteousness, God’s bountiful hand filled their storehouses with unimaginable bounty and blessings. All the blessings that they received came from the Lord. Everything that we have received and will receive comes directly from the Lord. It is His to give and take.
In chapter one of the Book of Job, Job, after enduring the loss of his family and his possessions, says, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!”
When you think of it, we own nothing. We come into this world with nothing and we depart from it with nothing. Everything we have or had is given to us by the Lord. It is simply on loan.
So, as you reflect on the fifth kernel of corn, know that the Lord does listen and answer the prayers of His children. But, also realize that our prayers must always keep Him in the center of our lives and we shouldn’t demand things from Him. We should always lift up our voices to Him in thanksgiving and praise.
In chapter twenty-nine of the Book of Jeremiah, the Lord says, “For I know the plans I have for you. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”
When you pray as Jesus taught us to pray, you, too, will see the blessings of the Lord pour out before you. Stay faithful to Him no matter what happens and you will stand firm in His grace.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.