< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Unanswered Prayer – No Such Thing! Part 3

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Unanswered Prayer – No Such Thing! Part 3

One way to know the will of God is to yield to His discipline. Hebrews 12:5-6 says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes everyone He accepts as a son.”

So this says, God disciplines His children so that we may know His will for our lives and embrace it.

First of all, I don’t believe that God disciplines us by punishing us with some misfortune. Our own disobedience may lay ourselves open to this (that’s called consequences!), but God is not the author of evil and my understanding of discipline has to do with the conscience.

God makes us aware of our sin and His Holiness and we’ll talk about that in a moment, but for now let me say that God disciplines by His Spirit, who convicts us of sin, righteousness and judgment. The Spirit is constantly seeking to communicate. We don’t have to get God interested in us. He’s already interested! God listens to us. It’s we who need to listen to Him. And prayer is the most effective listening device we have.

To listen to the voice within, however, is not always a pleasant experience and that’s why at least one aspect of prayer leads to discipline. Spirit-assisted prayer sensitizes us to the will of God. It makes us aware of our sin. One of the most significant changes in a believer’s life when they first become a believer is they lose their ability to rationalize sin. They still sin, but they can no longer rationalize it.

The author from Oral Roberts wrote about this too. He said,

“It occurs to me that for God to treat me with contempt would be for Him no longer to be offended by my sin. The passage cited in Hebrews goes on to say, “If you are not disciplined…then you are illegitimate children…” Again, “the Lord disciplines those He loves.” In fact if we are still sensitive enough to the Spirit so that we feel guilty for our sin then that is not only cause for shame, it is also cause for rejoicing because it means that God is still treating us as sons and daughters.

God’s discipline not only makes us aware of sin, it makes us aware of God’s righteousness as well. Hebrews 12:11 reads, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” God’s discipline is not negative, it is profoundly positive.”

We are in the business of becoming Holy in whatever it takes. We are becoming more like Christ until one day in Heaven we will be like Him.

Prayer sensitizes us to the discipline which exposes our sin, but it also reveals to us God’s complete plan for our lives as well. It reveals not only where we have been, but where we are going. The gospel is never simply what not to do. It also includes what we can become by virtue of our faith in the living Christ.

Prayer arms us for spiritual battle. It makes us aware of what God keeps us from (sin) and what God keeps us for (holiness). To be made aware of God’s holiness is the grand object of prayer. So, we have come full circle.

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