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Seven Footsteps to Answered Prayer

Decide

I pray and hope that some of you have after our discussion last week established the desire of your heart. Have done so in such a way that you will not rest until that desire has been granted to you. Now that the first footstep has been taken it is now time to take the next which to plant our foot in the print of decision. So let us look at the word decision and what it means in the context of this study. Merriam Webster defines decision as, “a determination arrived at after consideration.” In this definition we have considered our desire and now we have determined to work towards achieving that desire.

We arrive at a lot of decisions during the course of a day without much consideration. We may be driving down the highway and see an advertisement and decide that is something we want or would like to do and go for it. We may be exploring a menu at the local café and decide to have an item on the menu and then are drawn to a rather tasty looking picture and order that instead. All of that is okay in the normal course of events of our day but the decision we are talking about here is a life directing decision that will set the course of our future path. It is a decision that will commit us to achieving the desire of our heart.

Some spend a lot of time and energy considering what they want to do but never reach a decision. I fall into this as well as I spend a lot of time considering the possibilities only to find the opportunities passing me by. All important things take consideration but the truth is that a mind that has not come to a decision is a mind that is un-made. There are many things of the past we have made decisions and on how we will respond upon them and these decisions govern our responses to different situations. But, if we are faced with the need to make a decision which will determine the path to achieve a desire of our heart until that decision is made we will not know how to respond to the possibilities that may occur. This means that our mind is operating in the grey area and if we have to jump we will not know which way we should.

Once we have establish the desire then it is necessary that we reach a decision to commit our self to achieving that desire. As expressing our desire to our Heavenly Father is important to show that we are earnest making a decision it is important to show that we are committed to that desire. Making a decision is paramount to getting an answer to our prayer. Otherwise our mind is not made but is un-made. James the half-brother of Jesus expressed it this way in his letter. “But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:6-8)

James grew up with Jesus and knew him as well as any of the other family members of the household. I am sure he loved his brother Jesus but he never accepted Him as the Messiah or the Son of God. It must have been a metal struggle for James to love his brother yet not accept Him for who He really was. Jesus certainly never excused Himself from His calling to do the will of His Father. So how was James to react when rebuked by His brother Jesus? There must have always been that question in James’ mind, is he the Messiah? This struggle must have played on the mind of James all through his youth and even more in the three years of Jesus’ ministry. It wasn’t until the resurrection of Jesus that James finally decided to accept Him as the Messiah. James certainly knew the perils of double-mindedness and the instability that it causes. Indecision is a troubling thing for many people. Decision requires faith.

Setting our mind with the commitment of decision will open new doors of opportunity ahead of us but it also means that there will be doors that must be closed behind us. When we have committed ourselves to become the traveler of one path then we must forsake the practices of the old path we were traveling. After our consideration of our desire and the decision to commit our self to achieving it then we must dedicate our self to the choice we have made.

Many people will not move on a decision made without hearing the word of God’s voice. They may even look for signs from circumstantial occurrences that come along in life. Such as cloud formations, a spoken word for a friend. Maybe they feel called to the mission fields and received a coupon for pizza in the mail. Yes, pizza, they think, I’ve been called to Italy. As serious or silly as this may sound there are those who feel that every event in life has the purpose of God speaking His will into their thoughts. God does not necessarily work in that way, although He could. God speaks to us in the Spirit of Truth just as we are to speak to Him. (John 15:26) We will know God’s will by our study of God’s Word, by His indwelling Spirit, and through our prayers in the Spirit of Truth.

It is not possible to navigate the path of our direction if we are not in motion. All though the Scripture we see God using people who were busy fulfilling their desire according to His will and purpose. They were not people just sitting in the shade of a tree waiting for God to send a circumstantial formation in the clouds as guidance. We must remember that our relationship with God is a partnership in His ministry. Yet, some will not take the initiative without the direct leadership of God. But if we are not involved in the Kings ministry already, then we are a part. If we are unsure as to where to start in living in God’s will and plan for our life, then we should start with the basic. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20) This is our mission field, “You shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) Jerusalem, (community) Judea, (state) Samaria, (nation) and to the remotest part of the earth. This will place us in motion in accomplishing His will and God will lead us. “Commit your works to the LORD And your plans will be established.” (Proverbs 16:3)

Some just pray that they are walking in God’s will. Their prayer is whatever your will is my will is, whatever your desire is my desire is, and whatever you want is what I want, dear Lord. This is a prayer that lacks desire, lacks decision, commitment and faith to act. It is a prayer that is confusing at best. I am guilty of such a prayer. This is a problem that I have had with relationships with others as well. I may ask a friend what do you want to do. They will answer whatever you want to do is okay with me. That is not an answer to my question but a sign that they have no real ability to express what they desire to do. My reaction is that they have a confused and indecisive mind. One must make a decision based on what they believe is the correct path to take in order to achieve their desire. By doing this at least they are in motion and if that direction is not correct, or they get sidestepped, the Prophet gave us this truth. “Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left.” (Isaiah 30:21) We must remember that we are spiritual beings navigating the world in a physical tent. Our Lord and Master speaks to us in the Spirit of Truth.

Making a decision based upon our desire is important. It was important to Jesus when He asked the blind beggar Bartmaeus what his desire was. “And answering him, Jesus said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” And the blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!” (Mark 10:51) Jesus wants him to express his desire and make a decision of faith to receive it. When we take our desire and make a decision of faith to receive it then we are in the position to seek God until it becomes a reality. It is true that we can have the wrong desire and thus make the wrong decision. The Apostles Paul wanted to go to Asia but was prevented by the Holy Spirit. The Apostle again attempted to go and was prevented a second time. Then in Acts we read, “A vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” (Acts 16:9) The Apostle Paul was in motion committed to the decision to fulfill his desire which he believed was the will of God for his life. But it was not to be as we see in the vision that he received. Paul changed his path and went as the Lord directed resulting in Europe receiving the gospel message of Jesus Christ. God directed his path according to His will and purpose.

If we are in a love relationship with God through Jesus Christ then our desires will be good according to His Word. If we make decisions based on desires we believe to be good with God at the heart of each then He will direct our paths and answer the prayers for the desires of our heart. “In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:6) Determine your desire, pray, decide to move upon that desire, pray, trust God in faith to direct your paths.

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant March 8, 2015

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