By: Mary E. Adams
"Great trials seem to be necessary preparation for great duties." ---Confucius
It is sometimes difficult when we find ourselves seemingly misplaced. Our plans often are overturned by God's...which fit into His will.
Such was the case with the Apostle Paul. Shut up in prison, he could not be out evangelizing and establishing churches, but it was during those times that he wrote epistles which now comprise most of the New Testament...revelations of truth upon which we base our faith in the Lord. Paul surely prayed for God to help, and it would have been easy for God to send his angel to release Paul, but He didn't...there was a more pressing need for Paul to write. "Not my will, but Thine be done".
During these past months, I have had some exciting times...in solitude. It is when we are still long enough, we can know God in another deeper revelation of His truth. Like looking into a kaleidoscope, we must allow ourselves time to turn the barrel and aim toward the light to see that truly, we only know "in part." Such has been my experience with prayer. I thought I knew about all there was to know on this subject, having read hundreds of books and listened to many sermons regarding our need to pray, and myself having had many, many wonderful answers and miraculous manifestations. Yet God knew I needed a deeper enlightenment, and it could only come as I was put aside for a season so He might teach me. What I will share with you, my dear friends, might be something you already know....but possibly you were like me, needing to gather up the loose ends and strip away my fragile shell of faith in order to walk the way I always wished for, but thought unobtainable. I pray you will share my joy at this discovery of mine.
ANSWERS COME IN RESPONSE TO QUESTIONS
Hebrews 1:14 says about angels, "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" Ministering spirits! Jesus had angels come and minister to him after his 40 days of fasting and temptation. And it was during this time that the devil had brought up the subject of angels when he suggested Jesus prove a quote from Psalm 91:11 by leaping off the pinnacle of the temple: "He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone." Of course Jesus replied, "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." All of us, at one time or another, go through trials in which we stand upon His Word for our healing or for a deliverance of some kind. It is during these times that Satan taunts us the most...for he seeks to destroy our faith in God.
But our subject is on these ministering spirits Paul talked about in Hebrews. The Bible tells us plainly that God gives them "charge" over us...this word meaning "to command". This same powerful Psalm 91 gives us four requirements we must meet for these ministering spirits to receive such a "charge": We must 1. Dwell (or live) in His secret place. (verse 1 and 2)., Make God our refuge (verse 9). 3. Set our love upon Him (verse 14) and 4., call upon Him (verse 15).
In Psalm 35,
David cried unto the Lord concerning his enemies who relentlessly persecuted
him. "They rewarded me evil for good...when they were sick, my
clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting...I behaved myself as
though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that
mourneth for his mother. But in mine adversity they rejoiced...with
hypocritical mockers in feasts, they gnashed upon me with their teeth...Lord,
how long wilt thou look on? rescue my soul from their destructions."
David was in the midst of great anguish in his prayer. He cried to the Lord, "let them be as chaff before the wind, and let the angel of the Lord chase them...let their way be dark and slippery: and let the angel of the Lord persecute them, for without cause have they hid for me their net in a pit, which without cause they have digged for my soul..."
The psalmist David wrote in Psalm 34:6: "This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them."
A host of angels surround each of us who know Him and walk in His ways...but, as I have come to understand, they only respond to a "charge" from our heavenly Father in response to His will AND OUR PRAYERS!
We find a good example of this in the book of Daniel, when Daniel prayed for God to reveal something to him, and twenty one days later the angel of God appeared to him and said these words: "Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand and chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words."
The angel went on to explain that he had been sent, but had a mighty battle to fight with the prince of the kingdom of Persia...a HEAVENLY BATTLE! How many times do we pray, yet when the answers to do not come soon, we literally abandon the angels of God? As James says, "he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord."
In another instance, Daniel was preserved in a den of lions, but the very next day the king found him unhurt. "My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lion's mouth, that they have not hurt me." By praying for God to protect him with his angels, Daniel was not touched.
Neither were the three Hebrew children, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego destroyed in the fiery furnace. King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished to see "four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they were not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. He cried out, "Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who hath sent his angel and delivered his servants that trusted in him.."
Abraham knew much about angels. When sending his servant to find a wife for his son Isaac, the servant was very apprehensive he might make a mistake. But Abraham told him: "The Lord God of heaven shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence." How did Abraham know this? Because he had prayed and asked the Lord to send His angel to guide his servant, and he knew God would do it!
Elisha's servant was fearful as he saw the Syrian army compassing the city. But Elisha had prayed. He knew what unseen presence was about them. He asked the Lord to open his servant's eyes to see what he saw. "Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them." Elisha knew he could pray, and the ministering spirits would respond. "And the Lord opened his servant's eyes to behold that the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha."
Prayer was made for Peter "without ceasing" when he was shut up in prison, sleeping between two soldiers and bound with two chains! "And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison; and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands." Peter was led past the first and second ward, then to an iron gate which opened by itself and released him into the street a free man.
Jesus was well acquainted with the ministering spirits that surrounded him. When Peter drew his sword to defend Jesus, he was told to put up his weapon. "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?"
As I studied these things, I realized that my prayers had often failed to ask God to order His ministering angels to do their work. I had assumed it was an automatic thing. Didn't they encamp around me? Yes, but waiting for His orders...a "charge" from God. And the element I was missing? My legal right to ask, as an heir of salvation, they be sent forth with God's command.
And so I began to do a little experimentation.
On the day of our first big snowfall, I had to drive 40 miles into Anchorage on slick, icy roads. So I got into my car, prayed, and asked the Lord to dispatch his angels to protect me, my friend who went with me, and my car...to deliver us there and back with no harm. It so happened we picked the worst road to get onto the highway. It was clogged with fishtailing, slipping cars and trucks. One was completely upside down...but we inched along safely until we reached the highway. And then...a sand truck pulled in front of us, as if ORDERED and TIMED to be on the worst part of the highway...across the river bridges, and to drive IN FRONT OF US! We followed that large truck until it ran out of sand. No skidding, no sliding, no danger at all. The rest of the trip we saw seven vehicles in the ditch, many others sliding around...but not us! We drove there safely coming and going. I am convinced it was the angels that preserved us.
Again, we had an urgent email from a missionary-friend in Guatemala. She and her family were about to leave for the States and were coming to Alaska, but vouchers for their airfare had been lost or misplaced. They could not come without them! Immediately I went once again and asked God to dispatch his angels to find them and get them into their hands. I somehow KNEW God would do it! I was so convinced of it, that on our Wednesday night prayer service, our Pastor mentioned we should pray for their vouchers. My immediate reaction stunned even myself, "there is no need...I have prayed and God's angels are taking care of it!" I was not trying to be arrogant...it was just that my faith had grabbed hold of this thing and I believed it was already done...and if the vouchers did not come, then God had another plan that was better than ours! And sure enough...it happened! Two days later another email came. The vouchers had been located!
This was beginning to be fun! So last Tuesday I again had to go into Anchorage...to the military base. As I was waiting around, I began to think about a tooth that had been bothering me. I wondered if they might take a look at it for me and I would save money going to a dentist in Wasilla. They did. The dentist was a very nice man, but after examining my tooth he told me it was loose and needed to come out. I thought to myself, "No, I will once again ask for my ministering angels to be charged with this situation...I needed that tooth!"
And so I did...while waiting for the x-ray. As soon as it was developed, the dentist looked at it and said, "Wow! Look at this! There is a wisdom tooth underneath that seems to be causing the problem. But the root is very long and intact. Perhaps I can scrape under the gums and it would be okay". And so he did. I had no pain whatsoever...and I still have my tooth! Hallelujah!
So now my prayers have changed dramatically. I have learned a great lesson. Now I can pray just like Jesus prayed when He stood at Lazarus' tomb: "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always..." He hears us! And we can say, like Jesus, "Be of good cheer!" truly knowing nothing is impossible with Him. And when we pray for His perfect will, the outcome cannot possibly ever be anything less than good...whether we see it as good or not.
This assurance has increased my faith immeasurably over these past few weeks. I no longer think of my prayers as being answered on a "maybe" proposition. If I have asked Him to command His angels in behalf of my prayers, and if He, in His great wisdom does not have a better plan in mind...then they will most certainly do their job! I might sometimes have to wait a bit, as Daniel. But they are nevertheless fighting and battling to get to me and "come for my words." The only way I could possibly lose, was to quit believing.
Friend, are you discouraged at the battle raging in your life? Do you face an uncertain future with overwhelming problems? Have you suffered unjustly when those you tried to help became your enemy? Our ministering spirits, our angels, are surrounding you this very moment...but they need an assignment. Once you have met the requirements, submitted to God's will, ask that the angels of God be charged with answering your prayer.
Then wait patiently and see what happens.
Mary E. Adams
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