We are commanded to pray often. What then is prayer ? Is it the means to unlock fulfillment of our personal desires through persistent prayer ? We will run into difficulty with the sovereignty of God if our persistence or our faith is the driving force in forcing the hand of God.
Firstly I believe everyone agrees that prayer is essentially the means of approaching the throne of God and getting into His presence. When we first believed, we were taught to pray using the format of ACTS. That is, to express our feelings of awe of God’s glorious omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence (Adoration), God’s mercy (Confession), God’s goodness (Thanksgiving) and God’s provision (Supplication) when we converse with Him. So prayer is not all about petitioning but rather a whole worship experience which includes our concerns. We learned as well that Jesus our Lord and His Spirit are both interceding for us when we stutter with our concerns.
Prayer is essentially a means of grace in which God’s Spirit assists us in progressive sanctification. It will deepen our walk with Christ as the main fruit of the exercise. Through prayer, God’s Spirit will quiet our anxious restless spirit when adverse or trying circumstances rage around us. Through prayer, we can reveal our true condition of helplessness. At the end, prayer accomplishes not just answered prayers but surely our total dependency on God.
The whole creation is groaning right up to the present time as she awaits the coming glory and we groan too as we wait eagerly for our adoption to son-ship and the redemption of our bodies. Rom 8. We are then commanded to pray persistently so that we do not lose sight of the Hope when true justice will prevail. Prayer is where we find comfort and encouragement to wait for the coming glory when we know God will hear our prayers. Luke 18:1-11.
(Luke 17:6 He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.)
Luke 17:6 has been ridiculously quoted out of context by false teachers that you can just command in faith about anything to obey your wish. In the context of Luke 17:1-10, the disciples were finding it almost impossible to be so forgiving and to be watchful all the time that their daily action would not stumble others as the judgment was draconian; so they were asking for faith to do so. The key word is TRUST – our trust or our faith in God – that the power to do anything rest in God. As long as you can comprehend and trust even a LITTLE (your faith as small as a mustard seed) that with God nothing is impossible, your prayer to be forgiving or to be Christ-like will surely be answered for such prayers are definitely in His Will. It is the same consistent teaching as in Matt 19:16-26. The disciples were shocked to learn that it is hard for a rich person to enter heaven as they believed wealth to be blessings from God (and they have just noted that the rich young ruler was pious too) – to which Jesus our Lord replied that with man it is impossible but with God all things are possible.
Even if we do not interpret within the context of this whole passage of Luke 17:1-10, it is almost ridiculous to think that the method or the way we shout or command in our prayers of selfish desires will tip the scale between the sovereignty of God and the obstacle from the Devil (as expounded by the hyper grace false teacher). Can you seriously believe that the Will of the omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent God has to depend on the way we shout or command in Jesus’ name ?
God’s Revealed Will from the beginning to eternity has always been to make man conformed to His Son. Rom 8:29. First, He pre-destines (Rom 8:29) and then He sanctifies progressively (2 Cor 3:18) and finally He fulfill His will for us when Christ our Lord returns (1 John 3:2). Self scented-ness in the centre of sin is the root of all our headaches from which we seek freedom in Christ. If our prayer is always about self scented-ness being the perennial theme and focus focusing on personal well-being and prosperity always, how can God ever fulfill His revealed will for us ?