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In Isaiah 58, God said that if you will "divide your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him" then "your light will break out like the dawn, and your recovery will speedily spring forth; and your righteousness will go before you; the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard."
Now, notice the next phrase: "Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry, and He will say, 'Here I am'." What an awesome promise and reality! God tells us, through His prophet, to feed the hungry and help those in trouble. Notice that the actions required on your part actually answer someone else's prayer. You become the answer to the heart cry and need of the hungry and those in difficult circumstances.
Listen to the promise that follows: "The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." God says in the next verse that because of our actions, we actually become known as a person who rebuilds cities and walls of protection, and ultimately be known as a restorer of homes.
We have discovered in our personal lives, and as a ministry here at LIFE Outreach, that we are in fact an answer to many people's prayers. We have become an answer to the prayers of the missionaries, to the desperate prayers of parents on behalf of their children and to the cries of those facing death or unbearable hardships.
It is truly amazing what happens when we focus our attention on the needs of others. I pray for others because I know it works. God has invited -- and even commanded -- us to pray.
Paul taught that we should live in a spirit of continuous praying. This does not imply that we close ourselves up in a closet. It indicates that we can live in a conversational relationship with God. Sometimes we will be totally still, totally alone, isolated from all other sounds and influences, crying out to God in intercession for our own personal and family needs. Sometimes we pray on behalf of others. But we can also express our hearts to God when we are working, playing, relaxing, driving or fellowshipping with our friends. Prayer should be an automatic conversation every time we find reason to praise or to share our own heartfelt need or the needs of others.
When you pray, keep in mind that God does hear and God does respond, yet know that it is on His timetable and not ours. But according to His promise in Isaiah, when we become the answer to prayer, He quickly responds and our prayers are answered. I find great comfort and assurance in being able to say what Jesus said in those intense moments just before His crucifixion, "Thy will be done -- not my will, but Thy will be done." We make requests, but the results are in God's hands.
Whether I become an answer to someone else's prayer will be determined by my willingness and availability. Every day, I pray, "God, make me sensitive to your will and the needs of others."
God will bless us as He blesses others through us. In our world today, there are so many needs and concerns. Every Christian needs to pray, but it is crucial that we learn the power of being someone else's answer to prayer.
Author: James Robison
Word Count: 657
About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, a Christian media ministry and mission relief organization. He and his wife, Betty, host of the television program Life Today; He has authored numerous books, including The Absolutes: Freedom's Only Hope and True Prosperity.
Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at jamesrobison.net
Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.