of the things that thrill me when I read the Bible is how God answers
prayer in miraculous ways. Wasn't
it wonderful how Daniel and his three friends prayed to God and God
revealed to Daniel, that very night, King Nebuchadnezzar's dream, and
what it meant? But I must
confess that sometimes the thought comes: Why does God seem not to
answer our prayers in the same way?
course we know that prayer is not a push-button kind of thing, where God
automatically answers our prayers. We
also know that there is no special method of praying that is
"effective". Or is
there? Does the Bible teach
us how to pray, not in the sense of what to say but in other senses?
Let's see now. How
did Daniel pray?
Bible says that, "Three times a day he got down on his knees and
prayed, giving thanks to God, just as he had done before" [Daniel
6:10]. Hmmm, this high
official made time to pray three times a day, and knelt to pray?
Is this relevant for us? Many
will argue nowadays that kneeling is not really necessary.
Most evangelical churches do not practise kneeling to pray.
Do you know that this is one of the obstacles hindering Muslims
from knowing Christ? They
cannot understand how we Christians can be so disrespectful to an
almighty God who holds power over our very lives.
Christians, we need to go back to the Bible to see what it teaches us
regarding the matter at hand, or should I say "at knee"?
As modern theologians and pastors like to say: What is the
Biblical principle that we should understand?
back to the example of Daniel, in Daniel 10 we see him receiving a
vision of an awesome man dressed in linen and gold, with eyes like
lightning, standing above the River Tigris.
This supernatural being told him, "Since the first day that
you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before
your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to
them" [Dan 10:12]. Could
the principle therefore be that we should humble ourselves before God?
How should we humble ourselves?
when he saw God standing with two other persons near his tent,
"hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low
to the ground" [Genesis 18:2].
Would you say that Abraham humbled himself before God?
King Manasseh was taken captive by the Assyrians and taken to
Babylon by a hook pierced through his nose.
He was bound in bronze shackles.
"In his distress he .... humbled himself greatly before
the God of his fathers. And
when he prayed to Him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened
to his plea; so He brought him back to Jerusalem and to his
country." [2 Chronicles 33:12, 13].
Note carefully what happened: after Manasseh humbled himself
greatly before God, God listened to his prayers and rescued him from
what seemed like a hopeless situation.
Then there is the example of Jesus.
Jesus himself knelt down to pray, for example at Gethsemane.
As followers of Jesus Christ, shouldn't we follow his example in
the predominant belief today is that just bowing the head to pray is
enough; we have humbled ourselves if we do this.
Anyway, if we come before God in humility, then that should be
enough. The trouble with
this view is that I can find no passage in the Bible which says that we
should come before God in humility.
On the other hand, there are several clear passages about how
people who had humbled themselves before God got their prayers answered.
records the words of God on the matter of bowing the neck, albeit in
relation to a day of fasting by the Israelites:
this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for a man to humble himself?
it only for bowing one's head like a reed,
or lying on sackcloth and ashes?
not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loosen the chains of injustice, ....
to set the oppressed free, ....?
it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with
you see the naked to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?" [Isaiah
passage gives us an insight into what God thinks about humbling oneself
by only bowing one's head. God
can, of course, see what is in our hearts.
But just bowing our heads to pray is evidently not enough.
King Manasseh could not loosen the chains of injustice, etc.
while he was a prisoner of the Assyrians, but he could still humble
himself by kneeling before God. Was
he humbling himself in earnest? Since
God answered his prayer, I think God saw that Manasseh's heart was
doesn't God want us to walk with Him and to talk to him as a Father and
as a friend, and call Him by his given name?
Assuredly He does. So,
must we always kneel when we have such conversations with Him?
I do not know the answer; if you do, please let me know.
It seems to me that in such casual conversations where we tell
Him what we feel and our complaints, we can be casual.
However, when we are pleading with God and raising our
supplications, doesn't the matter become sort of "official"
and no longer a friend-to-friend chat, but a
Don't we have to bow down before a great King, and kneel before a
great God? Didn't God say,
"By myself I have sworn, .... Before me every knee shall bow"
[Is 45:23]? Why kneel to God
only when He comes in glory? If
He is worth kneeling to then, is He not worth kneeling to now?
you have been praying and God does not seem to listen, perhaps you
should check whether you have been humbling yourself before God?
The simplest check is to see whether your knees are in contact
with the floor, and whether your head is bowed in real humility.
And it is best to start the prayer as Jesus did, remembering that
God is the almighty God of Heaven [so we are not speaking casually to
some no-account human being], that His name is Yahweh [and not Satan or
Kuan Yin], and that the most important thing is not our will but His
will, and His kingdom and not our little castle on earth.
When we remember how awesomely great God is, then we will have
the full confidence to believe that He can, and will, answer our prayer
"in Jesus' name".
Carrie Teh was our chapel speaker on August 24. She spoke on the topic of
‘Women in Leadership’ from 1 Cor. 14:33-35 and 1 Tim. 2:11-15.
speakers for September will be :
7 - Mr Chen Lei
14 - Ms Hukali Aye
21 - Ms Debbie Lee
28 - Mr David Lang
A Blessed Birthday to…
Hua Chai Sing 5/9
Eric Tan 5/9
Choo Lee Yuen 5/9
Errol Oh 7/9
Quek Tze Ming 7/9
Albert Cheng 8/9
Tan Hun Hoe 8/9
Hannah Ng 8/9
Ang Siew Lin 9/9
Margaret Lim 10/9