Praying God’s Way

  • January 13, 2016
Wednesday 13

Luke 18:1-8

We like to keep things simple: Follow a few steps and reach the preferred result. Prayer, however, cannot be reduced to an easy formula. It isn’t some static activity where repeating certain words brings the desired solution. It’s ongoing communication with the heavenly Father and should involve listening, speaking, and acting on what we hear from Him.

God has promised to answer His children’s prayers, but He often waits before responding. He does so for many reasons.

Preparation. Sometimes God has to make us ready for what He wants to give us. We may have some attitudes or behaviors not aligned with His will (James 4:3). He’ll deal with them before He gives us His gift.

Spiritual growth. The Lord may use delays to test our faith or deepen our relationship with Him. No response from Him means He wants us to continue to seek Him and converse with Him.

Timing. God’s timetable often doesn’t match ours. He knows what He wants to accomplish in our spiritual life and in our relationship with Him. We can trust that He will put to good use the time between our request and His reply.

God includes delays as part of the believer’s prayer life. Sometimes He answers our first request, but often it takes several petitions before He responds. In certain situations, we have to keep knocking—as the persevering widow did—before God gives us His answer. (See Luke 18:1-8.)

Jesus calls us to a lifestyle of “asking, seeking, and knocking”—a lifestyle based on trust in God’s promise to answer His children. Are you persistent?

Bible in One Year: Genesis 42-45

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1 Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart,

2 saying, In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man.

3 There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, `Give me legal protection from my opponent.'

4 For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, `Even though I do not fear God nor respect man,

5 yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.'"

6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unrighteous judge said;

7 now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them?

8 I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?"

3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.

1 Now Jacob saw that there was grain in Egypt, and Jacob said to his sons, Why are you staring at one another?"

2 He said, Behold, I have heard that there is grain in Egypt; go down there and buy some for us from that place, so that we may live and not die."

3 Then ten brothers of Joseph went down to buy grain from Egypt.

4 But Jacob did not send Joseph's brother Benjamin with his brothers, for he said, I am afraid that harm may befall him."

5 So the sons of Israel came to buy grain among those who were coming, for the famine was in the land of Canaan also.

6 Now Joseph was the ruler over the land; he was the one who sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph's brothers came and bowed down to him with their faces to the ground.

7 When Joseph saw his brothers he recognized them, but he disguised himself to them and spoke to them harshly. And he said to them, Where have you come from?" And they said, From the land of Canaan, to buy food."

8 But Joseph had recognized his brothers, although they did not recognize him.

9 Joseph remembered the dreams which he had about them, and said to them, You are spies; you have come to look at the undefended parts of our land."

10 Then they said to him, No, my lord, but your servants have come to buy food.

11 We are all sons of one man; we are honest men, your servants are not spies."

12 Yet he said to them, No, but you have come to look at the undefended parts of our land!"

13 But they said, Your servants are twelve brothers in all, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and behold, the youngest is with our father today, and one is no longer alive."

14 Joseph said to them, It is as I said to you, you are spies;

15 by this you will be tested: by the life of Pharaoh, you shall not go from this place unless your youngest brother comes here!

16 Send one of you that he may get your brother, while you remain confined, that your words may be tested, whether there is truth in you. But if not, by the life of Pharaoh, surely you are spies."

17 So he put them all together in prison for three days.

18 Now Joseph said to them on the third day, Do this and live, for I fear God:

19 if you are honest men, let one of your brothers be confined in your prison; but as for the rest of you, go, carry grain for the famine of your households,

20 and bring your youngest brother to me, so your words may be verified, and you will not die." And they did so.

21 Then they said to one another, Truly we are guilty concerning our brother, because we saw the distress of his soul when he pleaded with us, yet we would not listen; therefore this distress has come upon us."

22 Reuben answered them, saying, Did I not tell you, `Do not sin against the boy'; and you would not listen? Now comes the reckoning for his blood."

23 They did not know, however, that Joseph understood, for there was an interpreter between them.

24 He turned away from them and wept. But when he returned to them and spoke to them, he took Simeon from them and bound him before their eyes.

25 Then Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain and to restore every man's money in his sack, and to give them provisions for the journey. And thus it was done for them.

26 So they loaded their donkeys with their grain and departed from there.

27 As one of them opened his sack to give his donkey fodder at the lodging place, he saw his money; and behold, it was in the mouth of his sack.

28 Then he said to his brothers, My money has been returned, and behold, it is even in my sack." And their hearts sank, and they turned trembling to one another, saying, What is this that God has done to us?"

29 When they came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan, they told him all that had happened to them, saying,

30 The man, the lord of the land, spoke harshly with us, and took us for spies of the country.

31 But we said to him, `We are honest men; we are not spies.

32 `We are twelve brothers, sons of our father; one is no longer alive, and the youngest is with our father today in the land of Canaan.'

33 The man, the lord of the land, said to us, `By this I will know that you are honest men: leave one of your brothers with me and take grain for the famine of your households, and go.

34 `But bring your youngest brother to me that I may know that you are not spies, but honest men. I will give your brother to you, and you may trade in the land.'"

35 Now it came about as they were emptying their sacks, that behold, every man's bundle of money was in his sack; and when they and their father saw their bundles of money, they were dismayed.

36 Their father Jacob said to them, You have bereaved me of my children: Joseph is no more, and Simeon is no more, and you would take Benjamin; all these things are against me."

37 Then Reuben spoke to his father, saying, You may put my two sons to death if I do not bring him back to you; put him in my care, and I will return him to you."

38 But Jacob said, My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he alone is left. If harm should befall him on the journey you are taking, then you will bring my gray hair down to Sheol in sorrow."

1 Now the famine was severe in the land.

2 So it came about when they had finished eating the grain which they had brought from Egypt, that their father said to them, Go back, buy us a little food."

3 Judah spoke to him, however, saying, The man solemnly warned us, `You shall not see my face unless your brother is with you.'

4 If you send our brother with us, we will go down and buy you food.

5 But if you do not send him, we will not go down; for the man said to us, `You will not see my face unless your brother is with you.'"

6 Then Israel said, Why did you treat me so badly by telling the man whether you still had another brother?"

7 But they said, The man questioned particularly about us and our relatives, saying, `Is your father still alive? Have you another brother?' So we answered his questions. Could we possibly know that he would say, `Bring your brother down'?"

8 Judah said to his father Israel, Send the lad with me and we will arise and go, that we may live and not die, we as well as you and our little ones.

9 I myself will be surety for him; you may hold me responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame before you forever.

10 For if we had not delayed, surely by now we could have returned twice."

11 Then their father Israel said to them, If it must be so, then do this: take some of the best products of the land in your bags, and carry down to the man as a present, a little balm and a little honey, aromatic gum and myrrh, pistachio nuts and almonds.

12 Take double the money in your hand, and take back in your hand the money that was returned in the mouth of your sacks; perhaps it was a mistake.

13 Take your brother also, and arise, return to the man;

14 and may God Almighty grant you compassion in the sight of the man, so that he will release to you your other brother and Benjamin. And as for me, if I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved."

15 So the men took this present, and they took double the money in their hand, and Benjamin; then they arose and went down to Egypt and stood before Joseph.

16 When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to his house steward, Bring the men into the house, and slay an animal and make ready; for the men are to dine with me at noon."

17 So the man did as Joseph said, and brought the men to Joseph's house.

18 Now the men were afraid, because they were brought to Joseph's house; and they said, It is because of the money that was returned in our sacks the first time that we are being brought in, that he may seek occasion against us and fall upon us, and take us for slaves with our donkeys."

19 So they came near to Joseph's house steward, and spoke to him at the entrance of the house,

20 and said, Oh, my lord, we indeed came down the first time to buy food,

21 and it came about when we came to the lodging place, that we opened our sacks, and behold, each man's money was in the mouth of his sack, our money in full. So we have brought it back in our hand.

22 We have also brought down other money in our hand to buy food; we do not know who put our money in our sacks."

23 He said, Be at ease, do not be afraid. Your God and the God of your father has given you treasure in your sacks; I had your money." Then he brought Simeon out to them.

24 Then the man brought the men into Joseph's house and gave them water, and they washed their feet; and he gave their donkeys fodder.

25 So they prepared the present for Joseph's coming at noon; for they had heard that they were to eat a meal there.

26 When Joseph came home, they brought into the house to him the present which was in their hand and bowed to the ground before him.

27 Then he asked them about their welfare, and said, Is your old father well, of whom you spoke? Is he still alive?"

28 They said, Your servant our father is well; he is still alive." They bowed down in homage.

29 As he lifted his eyes and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother's son, he said, Is this your youngest brother, of whom you spoke to me?" And he said, May God be gracious to you, my son."

30 Joseph hurried out for he was deeply stirred over his brother, and he sought a place to weep; and he entered his chamber and wept there.

31 Then he washed his face and came out; and he controlled himself and said, Serve the meal."

32 So they served him by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because the Egyptians could not eat bread with the Hebrews, for that is loathsome to the Egyptians.

33 Now they were seated before him, the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth, and the men looked at one another in astonishment.

34 He took portions to them from his own table, but Benjamin's portion was five times as much as any of theirs. So they feasted and drank freely with him.

1 Then he commanded his house steward, saying, Fill the men's sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man's money in the mouth of his sack.

2 Put my cup, the silver cup, in the mouth of the sack of the youngest, and his money for the grain." And he did as Joseph had told him.

3 As soon as it was light, the men were sent away, they with their donkeys.

4 They had just gone out of the city, and were not far off, when Joseph said to his house steward, Up, follow the men; and when you overtake them, say to them, `Why have you repaid evil for good?

5 `Is not this the one from which my lord drinks and which he indeed uses for divination? You have done wrong in doing this.'"

6 So he overtook them and spoke these words to them.

7 They said to him, Why does my lord speak such words as these? Far be it from your servants to do such a thing.

8 Behold, the money which we found in the mouth of our sacks we have brought back to you from the land of Canaan. How then could we steal silver or gold from your lord's house?

9 With whomever of your servants it is found, let him die, and we also will be my lord's slaves."

10 So he said, Now let it also be according to your words; he with whom it is found shall be my slave, and the rest of you shall be innocent."

11 Then they hurried, each man lowered his sack to the ground, and each man opened his sack.

12 He searched, beginning with the oldest and ending with the youngest, and the cup was found in Benjamin's sack.

13 Then they tore their clothes, and when each man loaded his donkey, they returned to the city.

14 When Judah and his brothers came to Joseph's house, he was still there, and they fell to the ground before him.

15 Joseph said to them, What is this deed that you have done? Do you not know that such a man as I can indeed practice divination?"

16 So Judah said, What can we say to my lord? What can we speak? And how can we justify ourselves? God has found out the iniquity of your servants; behold, we are my lord's slaves, both we and the one in whose possession the cup has been found."

17 But he said, Far be it from me to do this. The man in whose possession the cup has been found, he shall be my slave; but as for you, go up in peace to your father."

18 Then Judah approached him, and said, Oh my lord, may your servant please speak a word in my lord's ears, and do not be angry with your servant; for you are equal to Pharaoh.

19 My lord asked his servants, saying, `Have you a father or a brother?'

20 We said to my lord, `We have an old father and a little child of his old age. Now his brother is dead, so he alone is left of his mother, and his father loves him.'

21 Then you said to your servants, `Bring him down to me that I may set my eyes on him.'

22 But we said to my lord, `The lad cannot leave his father, for if he should leave his father, his father would die.'

23 You said to your servants, however, `Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you will not see my face again.'

24 Thus it came about when we went up to your servant my father, we told him the words of my lord.

25 Our father said, `Go back, buy us a little food.'

26 But we said, `We cannot go down. If our youngest brother is with us, then we will go down; for we cannot see the man's face unless our youngest brother is with us.'

27 Your servant my father said to us, `You know that my wife bore me two sons;

28 and the one went out from me, and I said, Surely he is torn in pieces," and I have not seen him since.

29 `If you take this one also from me, and harm befalls him, you will bring my gray hair down to Sheol in sorrow.'

30 Now, therefore, when I come to your servant my father, and the lad is not with us, since his life is bound up in the lad's life,

31 when he sees that the lad is not with us, he will die. Thus your servants will bring the gray hair of your servant our father down to Sheol in sorrow.

32 For your servant became surety for the lad to my father, saying, `If I do not bring him back to you, then let me bear the blame before my father forever.'

33 Now, therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the lad a slave to my lord, and let the lad go up with his brothers.

34 For how shall I go up to my father if the lad is not with me--for fear that I see the evil that would overtake my father?"

1 Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried, Have everyone go out from me." So there was no man with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers.

2 He wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard of it.

3 Then Joseph said to his brothers, I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?" But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence.

4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, Please come closer to me." And they came closer. And he said, I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt.

5 Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.

6 For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting.

7 God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance.

8 Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt.

9 Hurry and go up to my father, and say to him, `Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay.

10 You shall live in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children's children and your flocks and your herds and all that you have.

11 There I will also provide for you, for there are still five years of famine to come, and you and your household and all that you have would be impoverished."'

12 Behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see, that it is my mouth which is speaking to you.

13 Now you must tell my father of all my splendor in Egypt, and all that you have seen; and you must hurry and bring my father down here."

14 Then he fell on his brother Benjamin's neck and wept, and Benjamin wept on his neck.

15 He kissed all his brothers and wept on them, and afterward his brothers talked with him.

16 Now when the news was heard in Pharaoh's house that Joseph's brothers had come, it pleased Pharaoh and his servants.

17 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, Say to your brothers, `Do this: load your beasts and go to the land of Canaan,

18 and take your father and your households and come to me, and I will give you the best of the land of Egypt and you will eat the fat of the land.'

19 Now you are ordered, `Do this: take wagons from the land of Egypt for your little ones and for your wives, and bring your father and come.

20 `Do not concern yourselves with your goods, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours.'"

21 Then the sons of Israel did so; and Joseph gave them wagons according to the command of Pharaoh, and gave them provisions for the journey.

22 To each of them he gave changes of garments, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver and five changes of garments.

23 To his father he sent as follows: ten donkeys loaded with the best things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain and bread and sustenance for his father on the journey.

24 So he sent his brothers away, and as they departed, he said to them, Do not quarrel on the journey."

25 Then they went up from Egypt, and came to the land of Canaan to their father Jacob.

26 They told him, saying, Joseph is still alive, and indeed he is ruler over all the land of Egypt." But he was stunned, for he did not believe them.

27 When they told him all the words of Joseph that he had spoken to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived.

28 Then Israel said, It is enough; my son Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him before I die."

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Publish Date September 30, 2016
Who Do You Say That I Am?

If you claim that “Jesus is Lord,” then your life should reflect your stance.

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