Wednesday, February 10, 2016

God's hand in our prayers (Acts 19:11-20, 1 Corinthians 1:27-29, James 5:16)

"He makes His servants flames of fire (Hebrews 1:7)"
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

My husband and I had a funny situation at Church last week.  I love to sing to the Lord.  For me it's the best way to worship.  It's like being in His throne room.  

So we found our seats and waited for the service to start.  When the music started I heard this voice behind me... it was hard to describe.  She was completely off key.  I tried to move forward in my seat but didn't want to fall on the floor and draw attention.  Then the still small voice whispered and I realized her song was the most beautiful voice in the room to God.  I sensed His smile.  He loved her song.  While we seek perfection, Our Heavenly Father? He sees our hearts.  All our songs are symphonies to Him with faith.

Don't know about you, but these verses always give me courage.  I can be very foolish at times.
27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.
(1 Corinthians 1:27-29 NKJV) 
11 Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them. 
When I first read this I was a bit confused.  But if I read this verse correctly.  It wasn't Paul, it was God who worked the miracles.  Paul was being a servant, allowing God's hand to help.  That's what it's like to be a servant.  Asking for the impossible, hoping for a miracle, and then healing comes.  
16 Therefore,confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. (James 5:16 NASB77)
I've had some good times in prayer.  At one time, I was on a Christian Forum.  I joined the prayer team.  One day a young man asked me to pray for him so he could pass his finals.  So I prayed that God would relax his mind and bring to mind all he'd learned.  He was so excited when he passed.  He told more kids to ask for prayer for finals.  Being part of miracles is really awesome.  It restores faith.  It wasn't my words that mattered, it was that I was a servant allowing God to do some miracles.

13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” 
Hmmm...  Someone's putting the cart before the horse here.  First we have to believe Jesus is Lord, the Son of God.  So I'm not sure this will go well...

14 Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so.
15 And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?”
Ok, so  evil spirits know Jesus.  Yet the Chief Priests and Pharisees had no clue.    It's sort of like saying, "We exorcise you because of the doohickey or thingamajig.  You know like He said."  That's why Jesus is in our hearts, to serve Him, protect those who are vulnerable.  And pray hard.  God is perfectly able to understand what we're trying to say.  It's best not to be too serious, when we pray and sing. 

16 Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 
So this really didn't go well at all.  It would be so humiliating to run in the streets naked and wounded.  Somewhere along the line, the chief priest forgot his duties.  And no longer listened to God's still small voice.  

17 This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. 18 And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds. 19 Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.

(Acts 19:11-20 NKJV)