Terry R Baughman is Lead Pastor for LifeChurch in Gilbert, AZ. See his complete bio at trbaughman.com
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Asked and Answered
Heard on High
Terry R. Baughman
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:11–13 NKJV).
Often we have used the verse above and focused on “thoughts of peace” or “a future and a hope.” In the larger context we are given a promise that when we call on the Lord and pray to Him, He will listen. As we seek the Lord we are assured that we will find Him, particularly when we seek with all our passion. All we have to do is ask. As we voice our prayer toward heaven we know that He hears and He is preparing an answer for us.
Children are often persistent in their repeated requests. When they want something strongly enough they will continue asking until they get the answer that they desire. One particular persistent child would not take no for an answer. She would continue to press for the answer that she wanted. Her parents finally had to tell her, “Asked and answered!” She learned that when she pressed the issue too far this would be the response and she was unlikely to get a change of outcome. Of course, this illustration anticipates a negative response without an expected change.
With God, very often we find that He has already promised a positive outcome. Just because we have not seen the evidence of its completion we continue asking for something that He has already granted. Perhaps God looks down in our times of prayers of petition and responds, “Asked and answered!” When we have a Word from the Lord that He has heard us, we can rest assured that the answer is on the way. We don't have to see the final outcome to know that He hears us. Faith assures us of His attention and gives us confidence in His answer.
Prayers are powerful. James said, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16). The prophet Elijah was offered as an example of fervent and effective prayer. James recalled that the prophet prayed and the heavens ceased from pouring out rain on the earth. The drought continued for three and a half years. Yet, when he prayed again for the rain to return the answer was incredible and miraculous. There was a sound of an abundance of rain after the showdown with the false prophets of Baal and the simple faith filled prayer of the man of God. Before the sign of rain the prophet prayed for a sign from heaven. He prayed until he saw a small cloud arise over the sea. That was all the assurance he needed and he warned King Ahab to head for the city before the rains descended. He asked and God answered!
Our our prayer should be offered with the full confidence that we are being heard. So many promises in Scripture confirm a positive answer to our petitions. Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8). Let our faith arise in the promises of Scripture and in the words of Jesus.
If we can take these words to heart our prayers will change. No longer are prayers repeated words of obligation or rote recitation, but they will become faith petitions and deliberate requests knowing that God not only hears us when we pray; He answers! We may pray more carefully knowing that what we ask can have eternal significance. God will move heaven and earth to respond to our earnest prayers and fervent petitions. They will be asked and answered!
“We know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:15).