I Want To Skip The Training Program !
We had a young lady in our church who told me that the answered prayers she received, because of our church interceding for her, was a great thing! She had this complaint however, “I believe if you could teach them to be more faithful I would receive more answered prayer, please work on that!”
We took a close look at a few of Paul’s prayers for the churches. Ephesians 1: 15-19a, 3:14-21. Philippians 1:9-11. Colossians 1:9-12. There are many others, but these reflect the “Training Program” we all enter into when we became saved. Notice no mention of health and wealth.
As I read these to her she said, “Well, that is nice, but what those folks really needed was for their plans and dreams to be fulfilled, and God can most certainly do it if He really wanted to!” I said, ” He loves us too much to leave us to find our own happiness, in our own way. Does it not make sense that He knows more about what will make us happy, over and above, what we think we want to make us happy? Besides, have you not experienced getting just what you wanted, and then came the let -down afterwards?” She said, “Yes, what causes that?”
I said, “Sin has caused us to want what will not satisfy. We are fooled by the fanfare and bright lights of worldly things. He wants to make us like Christ in our character, to be like Christ in our hopes, and yes, even our dreams.”
“Will I still get all of these answered prayers?” I said,” Well, you are young in the faith, and as it was for me at that time, it seemed every prayer, even the little ones, got answered. Over time I noticed that the ‘Training Program’ had priority over what I might request in prayer.”
“I suppose you could have a parent who bailed out their adult children every time they got into financial trouble, but we all know that is a bad parent. The parent wants the good feeling of being a parent, but is doing a bad thing. The focus changed to making the parent feel good, instead of really helping the child. God is never that short-sighted.”
“Wow, to really get close to God, and know and live out your life destiny, will involve great suffering, right?”
I said, ” If their was another way I would have found it by now, because I fight the ‘Training Program’ every day, but it is right; and pure; and it has transformed me. What’s happening is this; God will burn out, scrap off, cut out, pull you away from, the things of the world and give you more of Himself. Of course, He still answers prayer for the things we need in this life. I refer you to Matthew 6:33.”
” So at church they will pray for your needs. And God has met those needs thus far, right.” She said, “Right.” I said, “If the people at our church really care, they pray for more than your next physical need to be met. I see how you arrived at some of the things you said at the first. Most prayer request at any church are about health and wealth, right?” “Yea, why is that?” she said.
“Young lady I will leave that for you to figure out. Read those prayers of Paul and line your thinking up with that. Come back and give me a report.”
She moved to another city, I moved to Texas. 20 years later I got a report. She gave the most amazing testimony. She had a richer tone in her voice, she said her false dreams were smashed, yet replaced with a maturity she did not think was possible for her. She had lived the reality of Philippians 3: 7-14.
She said, “Praise God for unanswered prayer. Not because He was unwilling to answer, but because He kept to the ‘Training Program.’ He simply loves us too much to leave us to ourselves. That is true love and true greatness. My friends look at me funny now when I say to them, ‘I really don’t want a thing this world advertises as fulfilling. I can see through it now.’ ”
A. Romans 8: 28-31 and Hebrews 12: 1-13 The Training Program.
B. Romans 12: 1-2 How you know you are in the right frame of mind
to receive training.
C. Ephesians 3:14-21 The daily results in which you know it is working.