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How to Receive Answers to Your Prayers
By Herbert W. Armstrong
September 20, 1981
Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Jesus Christ:
Another month has almost rolled by, and I have GOOD NEWS for you. Of course, there is the usual "good news and bad news." You get all the bad news in your newspaper and on your TV and radio newscasts.
For the three years Jesus Christ, the living Head of this worldwide Work of God, has been working through His servants to get His Church back on the track and ready for His comparatively soon return to earth. The Church will be His BRIDE meeting Him in the clouds as He comes - and His Church shall have made herself READY (Rev. 19:7). But will each one of us in the Church be ready?
Thank God, we are getting ready! And God is PLEASED. I have found in 50 YEARS in Christ's ministry, that when we please Christ, He BLESSES US! And He is blessing His Work now!
The September issue of The PLAIN TRUTH has brought its circulation to the highest point in history, climbing toward FOUR MILLION COPIES - now 3,792,171. As of two days ago, income for the month to date is 33.7 percent above a year ago. This brings the year-to-date increase up to 19.2 percent.
New radio and television stations are opening to us. The powerful CBS Seattle, Wash., station KIRO has opened to us, the time, 7 am. Sunday mornings. Only one other religious program is accepted on that station - a Seventh-day Adventist program.
As a result of a religious broadcaster being unable to pay his bills, we have been offered the half-hour slot beginning 9 a.m. Sundays on the leading Cleveland, Ohio, independent station, WUAB.
Just this morning, I viewed a most pitiful religious program. It was an entire half-hour desperate appeal to the public for money. The program was having to go off the air. The program repeated a segment of a similar appeal for money some three weeks before. It had brought a slight response but not enough. The television evangelist had done everything in his power. He had cut all expenses to the bone. He had beseeched GOD. He had prayed his heart out for financial help. It had not come. And now, he said to the PUBLIC of this world, "You people are now my last resort."
It is certainly true - God does not always answer prayer. "And," He says, "whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight" (I John 3:22). This minister was not keeping all God's commandments.
Let me tell you two personal experiences. They may help you receive answers to your prayers. In the fall of 1948, I faced a desperate financial emergency to save Ambassador College. I had purchased the original block of campus property on a lease-and-option contract. The conversion date into a purchase contract was December 27, 1948. 1 had been making all lease payments on time. But on December 27, interest for 25 months was to come due, besides taxes for the 25 months. This Work was still comparatively small at that time - but GROWING at the rate of 30 percent annually. Its income was averaging $500 per day. Committed operation expenditures also averaged $500 per day. I would need an additional $50,000.
I had never appealed to the public over the air - or in any manner - for money. But I did appeal to members and coworkers. I had done all I knew. But the extra $50,000 did not even begin to show up. Shortly after Thanksgiving Day, I sent out an appeal just as heartrending as this TV evangelist did this morning only I sent it to GOD, not to the public over the air. And I was keeping His commandments! The next day $3,000 came in the mail, instead of the usual $500. The second day another $3,000. This continued until the entire $50,000 had come in prior to December 27.
Another incident I have written of before. But I'm sure most of you have not read it, and it may be helpful.
It was in early January, 1930. 1 had given mySELF to Jesus Christ almost three years before. I was keeping His commandments. I had experienced some miraculous answers to prayer. But now we had come to a time of serious need. I was not yet in Christ's ministry. My business had been swept away by forces beyond my control. I was out of work, out of money. My wife was expecting our fourth child in a week or two. She was excessively anemic. The doctor was fearful. She would have to go to the hospital, he said, and the doctor bill for delivery of our third child had not been paid. Our credit was not good at the hospital. I had prayed for my wife, but she had not been healed. We were without food, without fuel even for cooking. What to do- God had not answered my prayers. It was Saturday morning. I began to fast and pray. I did not fast and pray to induce God to answer. I fasted and prayed for one reason -- to learn WHAT WAS WRONG WITH ME that prevented God from answering.
All day long I alternated between a solid hour of prayer, an hour of Bible searching to find the answer and then an hour of thoughtful contemplation. Then another hour of prayer, and so on. This continued until bedtime that night. It continued early next morning. By about 1:30 in the afternoon one of our daughters cried out, "Grandpa and Grandma Armstrong are driving into our driveway!" By this time I KNEW what had been wrong - WITH ME! I had been letting up too much on prayer. I had had my mind almost wholly absorbed on the physical problem of earning some money, and I had begun to neglect God and prayer. Now I KNEW I was in contact with God. I KNEW He was hearing me, and would answer.
Hurriedly, in a prayer lasting less than 20 seconds, I asked God for the first time in two days to heal my wife's anemia. I asked Him to take care of the hospital bill for both deliveries. I asked for food. I asked for fuel. I asked for money. I asked for a new overcoat. The only one I had had a 4- or 5-inch hole in the hip area. Then I quickly added that God knew whatever we needed, even before we asked, and for Him to send whatever else He knew was a need. I rose and ran out to meet my parents.
There was part of the prayer answered immediately! The back seat of the car had been removed, and it was loaded with wood fuel. My mother had a large covered pan with a cooked dinner, which needed only a warming over.
Next morning my wife's cheeks were red. The doctor was shocked! How did she get all that iron in her blood so suddenly- The morning mail brought a letter from my wife's uncle with a settlement on her estate from her mother's death - which paid the hospital bills in arrears and in advance for the immediately expected child delivery. That day my brother insisted he buy me a new overcoat, and late in the day a deal broke supplying money to pay our back house rent. The next day my other brother drove up, saying he was leaving his car with me to use until my wife was in the hospital. She might have to go in the middle of the night, and I did not then have a car. A day later my sister came over with a robe for my wife to wear in the hospital. I had not thought to ask for that.
Brethren and co-workers, we need to fast and pray, to be sure we are IN CLOSE CONTACT WITH THE GREAT GOD OF LOVE! Time is short. Christ's Bride shall have made herself READY!
Yes, when our ways please God, He blesses us. Be sure we are all close to GOD and faithful in each one, our own part in His Work! He is prospering His Work! So much so, right now, that Satan is sure to STRIKE against it! Pray for the Work, and thanks for praying also for me.
With deep love in Jesus' name,
Herbert W. Armstrong