On The Path Of Winners
BY BAYO OGUNMUPE
Spiritual Keys To Answered Prayer
ASK and you will receive that your joy may be full – John 16:24. When your prayers are not being answered, ask yourself these questions: One, how is my relationship with Jehovah? If I regard iniquity in my heart, God will not hear me – Psalms 66:18. Anything that adversely affects your relationship with God also affects your prayers. Friendship gives you favour, intimacy gives you access. The one who watches the wind will not sow seed and the one who looks at the clouds will not reap – Ecc 11:4. So, if you ask Jehovah what you desire, it shall be done for you.
Second, how strong is your faith? Without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. God’s deepest longing is to be believed. When you pray, put your heart and soul into it. Your priority should not be getting your needs met, but building your relationship with God.
Three, am I showing patience? Until God’s time finally comes, He might test your patience. Joseph was tested by the very promise God gave him. Can’t you hear satan whisper, ‘’I thought your dream said you were supposed to be prime minister; what are you doing in prison?’’ But Joseph saw God’s promise fulfilled in God’s time.
Be patient in trouble, and prayerful always – Rom 12:12. This generation has been dubbed, the microwave generation. The reason was, we charge through life like we are on fire. But God has His own timetable and it cannot be rushed. So when He puts you on hold: watch your words. Like a rudder on a ship, what you say determines your direction and helps stop wrong thoughts from infiltrating your mind. The mind is a garden, thoughts are the seeds, harvest will be either flowers or weeds. Ask Jehovah to help you control your emotions. Be patient and prayerful always.
Complaining magnifies problems. Prayer turns negative energy to a powerful force for good. He who is of a merry heart has a continual feast, so said King Solomon of ancient Israel. Laughter dispels tension, lightens the burden and fills your soul with joy. Appreciate the chance to learn. The Chinese view problems as prospects. In their culture, the symbol for problems and opportunities are the same. The diligent makes use of everything, so learn from your experience regardless of how hard it is.
Remember, most of the world’s greatest discoveries and breakthroughs resulted from crises. Love unconditionally, problems are caused by people and under pressure you might be tempted to lash out. Learn to see people through God’s eyes. Overcome evil with good. Be courteous and maintain your dignity when you are under pressure.
Let patience possess your souls. Make peace your priority. Look for life’s breakthroughs from unexpected sources. When you commit thy ways unto Jehovah don’t be surprised when the people and the circumstances He sent to your life aren’t what you expected. God spoke to Balaam through a donkey and used the Burning Bush to gain Moses’ attention. Never be in such a hurry about anything. Ever notice that the faster you go, the more behind you get. Jesus said, ‘’By your patience possess your souls.’’ God’s timing is best. He may be withholding directions to cause you to seek Him more intently.
Don’t try to skip the relationship and get on with doing. God is more interested in a relationship with you than He is interested in what you can do for Him. Don’t be too proud to ask for help. Solomon said – with humility comes wisdom – Prov. 11:2. But the ultimate source of wisdom is God. If you need wisdom talk to God in prayer, ‘’For Jehovah gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy – James 3:17. ‘’I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go, i will guide you,’’ Psalm 32:8.
What it takes for your prayers to be answered are one, commitment. Real leaders don’t quit, they couldn’t even if they wanted. Two, you must be creative. Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant. Problems unlock your creativity. Finally, you must be compassionate. You must love the people, rather than crowds. Don’t be greedy for worldly things, it is idolatry.
Our champion this week is Constantine the Great, also known as Saint Constantine, Roman Emperor from 306 to 337. He became sole emperor of both the East and the West of the Roman Empire from 324 to 337 A.D. Constantine was the first Roman emperor to profess Christianity. By doing so, he profoundly influenced world history. His conversion set Christianity on the path that led to the formation of Christendom. Thus, the religion became the strongest social and political agent ever to influence the course of human history.
As emperor, Constantine claimed via a dream that the Christian God assured him of assistance in the battles to keep his empire. In 313, Constantine granted freedom of worship to Christians believing that they could unify the empire. Then he held the pagan title pontifex maximus or chief priest and thought himself overlord of all religions. As a Christian, Constatine was appalled to find disputes over doctrine in the church.
With him the church had acquired both a protector and master. Constantine organised the First Council of Nicaea in AD 325 at which the doctrine of trinity was ratified.
The result of his alliance with the bishops was a church part Christian and part pagan. This was because the emperor’s goal was religious pluralism, not the pursuit of truth. To please both religious camps, he adopted a stance of conscious ambiguity in his governance, while championing Christianity, he kept a foot in paganism. Constantine postponed his baptism until a few days before his death in 337. He held back in order to retain the support of both Christians and pagans. Thus, the church Constantine legitimized became very powerful, but one that thus turned its back on Christ, and embraced the world. What this means is that we should not take the teachings of any denomination for granted but that we should examine them in the light of the Bible, 1 John 4:1.