People will follow almost anyone if they will assuage their fears, and most generally, these fears are only alleviated for a short period of time, they are never truly relieved, yet follow they will.
Fear, in one of its most general terms, is the inability to control our current circumstances, the state of affairs that we had predetermined have been altered, and an agitation begins to set in, we are no longer in control. All depending on the circumstances of course, we will either figure out a different plan of action, or we will hand the power of authority over to someone whom we believe will be better able to handle the unforeseen with greater foresight and attentiveness. In other words, those things that arrive in our lives that we have no control over, we hand over to those we believe will be able to handle them.
We plan the best that we can for our lives, but even the best laid plans can be interrupted by unforeseen incidences, and it is at this time that adjustments must be made, a different route must be planned, and the path altered. Hopefully the other fork in the road will intersect somewhere with the one that we had initially set forth, but this is not always the case. What we had hoped to obtain may become unattainable, no matter our best efforts, the entire plan must be discarded and another set-in place, and the emotions of the loss of that thought process must be dealt with. There are two options at this juncture of the path, hope or despair.
When we offer up our prayers to the Lord, the question almost always arises in our minds, am I asking in faith, or in hope. “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” (Mark 11:24) We know that whatsoever we ask in the name of our Lord, we will receive if we do not ask amiss, (James 4:3) we know that we must be abiding in Christ, (John 15:7) if we seek and knock, it will be given unto us, (Matt. 7:7) and along with Matthew 21:22, we know that if we are asking with true faith, “All things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” So why do we only hope, why do we pray in such a way that denies us the promises of these verse, why do we doubt, when we should be praying in complete faith that our prayers will be answered.
Even when we are sure that what we are praying in earnest for is of the will of God, we still seem to have a fear that for some reason we will not be heard, or that we will not receive that which we have prayed for as we asked it of the Lord, and this is the reason that people will follow almost anyone who will set their fears at ease. When the Lord for whatever reason He decides does not answer our prayers, we tend to doubt His reasons, or at best we will simply verbalize that it must not have been in His will, we fear the possible circumstances because the prayer has not been answered. Others will quote to those who have asked their request of the Lord that they have probably wavered, as stated in James 1:6, but that of course is complex in itself, for how much wavering is necessary, does our Lord spot the very moment of our doubt, and then decide that it was enough doubt to not answer our prayers, no matter the circumstances.
What occurs when our prayers are not answered, the prayers that could have a life changing effect upon the rest of our lives, is that people begin to doubt, the doubt brings a fear that the circumstances will devolve quickly, and so they will seek assistance from others, from someplace besides our lord. How many times can you recall in the Old Testament alone that the children stopped following the Lord when life became easy, when He blessed them, they sinned, and then He sent no further blessings. What they did was what we will still do today, we search elsewhere for what we desire, we fall into fear that we will not have what we need or want, and the Lord is left out of any further requests. We look outside of His grace and mercy for what only He can supply.
There is another side to this believing that we will receive what we have asked for, we fear that we may be denied what we have asked for, we fear, in a sense, that we should not ask our request of the Lord for many reasons. “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32) Many tend to believe that they should not ask, their treasures are in heaven and they should not expect anything from the Lord beyond what they need, they fear to ask. They will spend their lives toiling in the world, asking from others, even growing deeper and deeper in debt, saving any request to the Lord for those “last minute” times, the times when healing is requested, or they have no other place to turn. There is an unreasonable fear that their prayers are nothing but a burden to the Lord, and they will not ask unless it is a case that they see as absolutely necessary.
We cannot pick and choose verses here, there are indeed certain requirements that must be met before we can be assure that what we have asked of the Lord we will receive, some of these we have already mentioned. Our Lord knows our needs, and He will provide them to all that ask, and ask within the proper contexts that He has set forth, do not be deceived here, just because you are saved does not guarantee that whatever you are asking for you will receive. The Lord knows those that are living lives that are pleasing to Him, and those who for whatever reason are still living with unrepentant sin in their lives, and until those sins are taken care of, until they are laid at His feet and repented of, (1st John 1:9) they can expect no answer.
Does that mean that we must be perfect in the eyes of the Lord for the fulfilment of Matthew 21:22, of course not, that is not possible, but it does mean that we must be righteous, we must be living a life that is pleasing in His eyes, our lives must be in accordance with His will, and above all, we must not fear that He will not answer our prayers, we must have faith, for “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Heb.11:6) And why would He answer our prayers, because He loves us, and those whose prayers He answers he knows that they will immediately praise His name, not only in their own hearts, but to all that will listen. There are fewer things that a Christian loves to do than praise the Name of the Lord.
It can be difficult sometimes, for we feel as if we are at times presuming upon the Lord by our requests, that perhaps we should just stay quiet, for does He not know our hearts, our needs. If there is one thing that our Lord loves it is when His children speak to Him, when they offer praise to His name, when they make requests of him, He loves us, and He loves it when we talk with Him. Fear is never the answer my friends, not in the sense of terror or fright, not when it comes to our Lord. Do not lose heart when He does not answer, keep knocking, but do not forget to seek inside of yourself, perhaps there is something against Him that you are not aware of, ask Him to show you if there is any sin in you that you are not even aware of, and then ask in faith, believing that you will receive that which you have asked for.
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Eph. 3:20-21)