The Berean Expositor
Volume 28 - Page 98 of 217
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YOUR PRAYER.--This is the first link.
MY EXPECTATION.--This is the third link.
Now it is very possible that a prayer may not be "answered" because of the absence of
the third link. Others may be praying for me, the Lord may hear and have all supplies
necessary, but unless I, too, share in the intercession in the sense of being really desirous
that the Lord's will be done in the matter, it may be best for all concerned if the supplies
be withheld until I, too, shall be led to "expect". Or, prayer may have ascended on my
behalf, the Lord have heard, and I have an "earnest expectation and hope", yet it may be
but to "consume upon my own desires". In the case of the apostle he had that special
"salvation" in view that pertains to the prize, but his earnest expectation was, "as
always", that Christ should be magnified in his body, whether by life or death, and when
a man has reached that stage of spiritual growth there need be no withholding of supply
or limiting of prayer.
In Phil. 4: 5-7 we have further light upon the purposes of prayer.
"Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand, Be careful for
nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests
be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth understanding, shall
keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4: 5-7).
The word "moderation" is derived from the verb eiko, "to submit", which we find in
Gal. 2: 5. There is in the word a combination of the ideas of gentleness, agreeableness,
ready yielding of rights, or, as one has put it, "the sweet reasonableness" of Christianity.
Many times we may be right, but we may be more right not to insist. To illustrate by an
opposite, we all know what we mean by a "stickler" and knowing that, we also know
from this passage that such a person is the antipodes of the "moderate" believer.
Anyone who is ever ready to consider others better than themselves will naturally
possess this gentle attitude. It is a sensitive quality, however, and develops only in the
conscious presence of the Lord. The statement that "the Lord is at hand" does not refer to
the second coming but to the presence of the Lord here and now. As in Eph. 6:, so in
Phil. 4:, we have a prayer that comprehends "all my affairs and how I do". This prayer
knows no limits, but extends from nothing to everything.
"In nothing be anxious, but in everything by prayer . . . . . make your requests . . . . ."
The final test of prayer however is in the answers promised. While we allow nothing
to worry, and do not limit our prayers to any one aspect of need, the answers indicate to a
large extent in what direction our prayers should tend. We may, legitimately, pray for
"daily bread", but the answer that is absolutely assured is not "daily bread" but "the peace
of God that passeth all understanding". We may pray for deliverance from trouble, but
the answer, whether we are delivered or whether we are sustained through the trouble, is
"the peace of God". We may pray concerning every single feature of our life, from the
lowest physical necessity to the highest spiritual experience, but God has not pledged to