Unanswered prayer: What to do with the “not yet things in our lives
We need to know what to do with the “not yet things in our lives” and by this I mean the things we are seeking God for His Kingdom to come in an area of our lives, the community around us or even in the world.
Jesus’ primary mission was to reveal the Father. Within His mission of unveiling the Father, He unleashed the nature of His Father on the earth as people were forgiven, healed and set free.
Jesus raised up a group of followers in this same Spirit. Central within the training He gave them a battle cry, “Your Kingdom come, your will be done on the earth as it is in Heaven.” This in essence this was more than a prayer, it was a mantra for the Father to be unveiled in every sphere and cultural and sociological influence.
Jesus’ propagation of His mission was worked out within the context the rabbi-disciple relationship. He sought to grow a tribe who would continue His mission through them having His heart, which flowed out of the relationship they were to have with His Father, and as a consequence they would do His works.
His very first ministry act in Mark’s Gospel was to call disciples. This tells us that central to His purpose was to restore humanity to its original assignment of seeing the influence of the Kingdom of God come to every corner of the earth. This was the essence of the Gospel.
Discipleship at its heart was about raising up maturing sons and daughters. Only mature children would be able to continue on this mission.
In order to do this Jesus directed His ministry to his disciples growth in how to access His Kingdom. For His Father’s Kingdom to come through their lives they would need to know how to access the Kingdom, for although it was the Father’s will for them, it was not an automatic guarantee. This side of the Second Coming the Kingdom would need to be apprehended by faith.
Jesus utilized touch points to condition them object lessons about the ways of faith.
In Mark 6, Jesus releases His disciples off to announce and bring the Kingdom. They had journeyed along with Him up to this point becoming acquainted with the Kingdom.
Having tasted He releases them to go ahead of Him to give away that wish they have received.
And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits (Mark 6:7).
Demon powers, in Mark are synonymous, Matthew and Luke’s commission by Jesus to “Go Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers.”
Mark, however, more poignantly pinpoints the causal factor of the chaos in the world, to the agent of darkness. Jesus, in Mark is shown to draw a “lethal unity” (Jame Kallas) between the agent of darkness, the Devil, and also his works.
The disciples who go out to see the Kingdom come are amazed by what they see. On their return Jesus calls them together for a debrief (Mark 6:30).
Word, though gets out, and suddenly 5000 people gather ahead of Him. Jesus uses this as an object lesson to further teach His disciples about the ways of His Kingdom.
When it comes to late in the day, one of His disciples comes to Him and points out that the crowd haven’t eaten all day.
Jesus tells His disciples to feed them. Locked into a natural mindness, they are unable to see the solution to their problem is “On the earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus primes the miracle for them by handing them the little boys packed lunch. It miraculously multiplies in the disciples hands.
A few verses later Jesus instructs them to cross the lake at night alone and head to the other side. In this instance Jesus sets them up to face head on another challenge.
On route across the lake a storm confronts them and the disciples think they are going to die. The original readers would have been aware of details that we don’t see in this story. The Jews in Jesus’ day were afraid of expanses of water, especially at night. They were the domain of chaos and the evil one (Genesis 1:2 – darkness over the waters were the chaotic results
And Jesus comes to them walking on water and they freak out. Once in the boat He stills the storm.
51 And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled. 52 For they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened.
We need to see that Jesus is helping them grow in their ability to apprehend the Kingdom by cross pollinating breakthrough from the areas in our lives where we have been able to apprehend breakthrough.
In Mark 9 Jesus again helps them further to apprehend the Kingdom. His disciples who had seen incredible Kingdom breakthrough in the areas of deliverance were unable to cast out a demon in a long boy.
14 And when He came to the disciples, He saw a great multitude around them, and scribes disputing with them. 15 Immediately, when they saw Him, all the people were greatly amazed, and running to Him, greeted Him. 16 And He asked the scribes, “What are you discussing with them?”
17 Then one of the crowd answered and said, “Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. 18 And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not.”
19 He answered him and said, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.” 20 Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth.
21 So He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?”
And he said, “From childhood. 22 And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it: “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!” 26 Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.
28 And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?”
29 So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”
What is interesting is that the disciples are confused as to why they couldn’t cast the demon out. Not seeing breakthrough surprised them. For us it is mostly the other way round. We are surprised if we do see breakthrough. Yet deliverance and healing were so normative for the disciples that it confused them when it didn’t work.
At this juncture the disciples had a choice of how to respond. Would they use their circumstance to shape their convictions about God and His will in this circumstance or would they look to Jesus.
When we use our circumstance to form our theology it can result in us plateauing or loosing the breakthroughs we have obtained.
For example. the disciples could have determined that the reason the boy was not delivered was because of some sin issue in his life. They also might have concluded that it was not God’s will for him to be set free and even that God had lessons for him to learn from his condition.
Our circumstances, whilst having the ability to colour our theology, are the poor primary pallet to use to shape our mindsets about the nature of God and His ways.
Confronted by the “Not Yet” thankfully they look to Jesus for direction.
Jesus is perfect theology, as Bill Johnson says.
Jesus gives them a key to what to do in these circumstances.
The disciples have just heard that their are no limitations when facing impossibilities,
“If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
And yet he then tells them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”
What is clear from this statement is that that certain impossibilities require from us a greater level of faith for breakthrough to happen.
The prescription to the breakthrough that Jesus issues to pray and fasting, is about praying ourselves into a greater apprehension of the revelation of God as Father.
My friend Chris Gore puts it this way:
“I must have a greater revelation of who you are and who you are in me and who you want to be through me.”
When combined with fasting, we literally starve the unbelief about the nature of God to death in us. Fasting helps us to focus our hearts on Him. Fasting is not an attempt to persuade God.
Faith ultimately is in the heart not the head. The delays to breakthrough will actually reveal what’s in our heart.
Other Sermons In This Series
October 12, 2017
July 07, 2019
October 12, 2017