GOD ANSWERS PRAYER By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
Jesus said: "Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matt. 11:28). "And him that cometh unto Me, I shall in no wise cast out." (John 6:37). "Ask and it shall be given you, seek and ye shall find. Knock and it shall be opened unto you. For everyone that asketh receiveth, he that seeketh findeth and to him that knocketh it shall be opened." (Matt. 7:7-8)
"Behold I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear My voice and open the door, I will come into him and will sup with him and he with Me." (Rev. 3:20).
The Lord invites: "Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not." (Jer. 33:3). "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee." (Heb. 13:5)
During a lengthy interview in the early 1980s, discussing the great miracle healings that had occurred under our ministry, the editor of a large Norwegian newspaper asked, “Who is Max Solbrekken?”
I replied, “The boy delivering telegrams does his job and gets back on his bicycle, often without being thanked. The boy is not important, but the telegram is. Max Solbrekken is not important, but the message is very important. I am just a messenger boy for Jesus!”
Next day's Newspaper carried a large picture and an article that covered a full page. The headline screamed, “Max Solbrekken: A Messenger Boy for Jesus!”
ONLY BY THE GRACE OF GOD!
Beginning in 1963, by God’s grace I have been allowed to carry the Gospel of Jesus Christ to masses across the world, the Lord working with us and confirming His Word with miracles, signs, and wonders!
Multitudes have responded to altar calls for salvation and great numbers have been miraculously healed by our Saviour from many nations, tribes, and peoples.
From 1989 to 1995, we conducted major crusades across the former Soviet Union. In 2004 and 2005, I was asked to preach in four Ministers Conventions in Brazil with a total of 10,000 preachers. In Parque Brasil in Paulinia, S.P. Brazil, I preached to more than 300,000 people on April 13, 2005. Our latest Gospel Unity Crusade was in Kampala, Uganda in 2011.
After our three and a half month long 1966 World Crusade including preaching to a tribe of headhunters in Eli, Tabuk in Kalingo Apio, Philippines, a Journalist asked, "You preached to the head hunters and you still have your head. How can we account for that"?
I replied, "I got to their hearts before they got to my head." The next morning, the journalist's story carried the headline: HE GOT TO THEIR HEARTS BEFORE THEY GOT TO HIS HEAD. One of my greatest joys was preaching in Darfur, Sudan in 2006 and 2007. To God be all the honour, praise and glory, through Jesus Christ the Lord! Amen.
The Bible is the authoritative, divinely inspired and perfect Word of God! His signature is on the original autographs, written by holy men as they were inspired by the Holy Spirit.
St. Peter stated: "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." (2 Peter 1:20-21)
Martin Luther had not seen a Bible until he was more than 20 years old and his colleague Dr. Carlstadt had received his doctorate in theology from a prestigious Roman Catholic Seminary without ever reading the Bible!
For hundreds of years the Roman Catholic Church refused Christian laymen the right to read and study the Holy Scriptures. They claimed that it was too deep. “Only an educated priest or theologian could understand God's Word”, they stated.
A TRICK OF THE DEVIL!
Satan knows how powerful God's Word is and was using this deceptive tactic to keep people in bondage. Jesus said, "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free". (John 8:32)
Martin Luther was charged with heresy by the Roman Church, for preaching the pure Gospel of Jesus. He was hauled in before the highest–ranking body of civic and ecclesiastical rulers of the Church of Rome and the Empire. On April 18, 1521, at his trial at the Diet in Worms, Germany, he was asked: "Will you recant of your writings?"
Luther replied: "Since your Majesty and your lords desire a single reply, I will answer without horns and without teeth. Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason, I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other. My conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe! Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise! God help me. Amen."
One hundred years earlier, the 'Bloody Old Vatican Wolf' had given the Bohemian monk Jan Hus a guarantee of 'safe conduct', if he would come to a similar trial. Believing the pope to be honest, he accepted his invitation and was betrayed and turned over to the secular arm to be burned at the stake!
Luther stated: "The gospel that we have today has come to us at the cost of the blood of Jan Hus that was spilt 100 years ago."
No wonder Martin Luther stated, “The papacy is a general chase (hunting expedition) in which the Bishop of Rome is seeking to capture and bring to hell as many unsuspecting souls as he can”. There is, however, a sad period in Luther’s life where he did not treat the Jewish people properly!
Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses and other cults, put their own interpretation on God’s Word today! But St. Peter said, "No prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation..."
WHAT DID HE MEAN?
God interprets the Scripture, Himself! The message He wants us to receive is not what a certain sect or denomination reads into the Scripture, but what He (God) is communicating! How does He interpret the Scriptures? By using other Scriptures which the Holy Spirit has anointed!
Scripture interprets Scripture and God does not contradict His Word. When taken in context, you will find that there are NO contradictions in the Holy Bible!
The Holy Spirit and the Word of God agree totally, because the Holy Spirit anointed holy men to write the Scripture, and God has no mental block or speech impediment! He said what He meant. And He honours His Word with His total power and authority!
Jesus Christ Himself is the Living Word of God and the Holy canon of Scripture, the Bible, is the written Word of God. Therefore, if you will believe the Word of God and appropriate it for yourself, Jesus Christ will come out of the pages of this holy book and come into your heart.
St. Paul said, "For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar..." (Rom. 3:3-4)
There are more than 33,000 promises of blessings in the Bible and they all have to do with God's dealings with mankind! His promises are not for angelic beings, but for lost, sinful, sick, and fallen man. His promises are for you and me!
CHRIST INVITES EVERYONE!
Jesus invited, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest". (Matt. 11:28) The most beautiful word in any language is 'Come'. This is a word of invitation and when Jesus calls, we must always be ready to answer His call!
He said, "Come unto Me". He is the only One with solutions to our problems and answers to our questions!
While on a visit to the USA, the then Soviet Union's communist president Mikhail Gorbachev stated, "Only Jesus Christ had the solutions to every problem. I don't possess that skill".
When asked by US reporters, the reason for glasnost, perestroika and the new freedom of religion which was happening in his country, Gorbachev replied: "JESUS CHRIST"!
As startled reporters asked him to repeat his answer, he stated without hesitation: "Jesus Christ". Then, as if realizing what he had just said, Gorbachev quickly changed the subject.
Christ's invitation is to "all who labour and are heavy laden", and that takes us all in. Gorbachev was right: Only Jesus Christ has the solution to every problem!
He promises rest and peace to all who respond to His invitation! And we all need a new meeting with Jesus! No one is exempt from the burdens, frustrations, temptations, pressures, cares, sicknesses and other pitfalls of Satan, the world, and the flesh!
Testing, temptations, and trials come to us all in various forms and fashions. The inability to pay our debts - due to unemployment, unreasonable taxation, or sickness - is one of the biggest stress producers in this generation! Our faith is sorely tried as we deal with things like family break-up among children, grandchildren, relatives, and friends.
Christ Jesus, however, has promised us total victory, a release from tension and an abiding peace as we look to Him alone and keep our trust in His Word!
Hear His Word again: “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”. (Matt. 11:28)
Notice - He did not say ‘Come to a certain religious body or embrace a certain philosophy, ideology or theology’...but He said, "Come unto Me".
Jesus didn't mention His mother Mary or His inner circle disciples Peter, James or John or His brother James who became the pastor of the world's first Pentecostal Church (the church was born on the day of Pentecost and exhibited supernatural signs and wonders) in Jerusalem!
He didn't say come to the high priest or rabbi or pastor, evangelist, apostle or prophet! He said, "Come unto Me"!
There is not a single account of Jesus ever turning away anyone who came to Him for help. He met the needs of each one! And that is reassuring to know, especially when you are in need of a miracle healing or are in danger, and must have an answer to your prayer!
MY OWN TESTIMONY!
I can verify that God is a "God at hand and not a God afar off". (Jer. 23:23). I can confirm that God answers prayer! In 1984, my team and I were conducting a crusade in Northern India, when a staggering miracle occurred. I had planned to have a large crusade in southern India, where nearly all visiting evangelists conduct their crusades.
Previously I had been in the south and central parts of India but had not ventured into the north where the zealous, devout and often fanatical Brahmin Hindus have almost total power.
In fact, for the previous twenty years the number of Christians had declined there each year, as daughters of Christian families were marrying Hindu men because of the low status and dismal financial opportunities for the followers of Jesus Christ among the predominant Hindu population!
Thousands of pastors were ready to embrace our ministry in the south, and we were expecting 100,000 persons on the opening night, with prospects of larger crowds as the crusade progressed. And I was excited about going! Then God changed my plans and I was challenged to go to northern India, to a very intellectual city of Brahmin Hindus and Muslims.
The Hindus had just completed a ten-day-revival in Amedevad, Gujarat in preparation for our coming, to rejuvenate the people in their beliefs and to warn them to stay away from our meetings! On the first night of our crusade, 1/4 million Muslims were in the streets in a gigantic parade, to start 21 days of fasting in a celebration called Ramadan!
We began with only 3,000 people on the opening night, backed by two Methodist churches. About 120 young people from Asia and Europe - with a group called ‘Christ is the Answer’- had blanketed the area with posters!
My message was titled, ‘Jesus Christ the same Yesterday, Today and Forever’! I declared the gospel of Christ according to St. Peter: "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved". (Acts 4:12)
I PRESENTED THE CLAIMS OF CHRIST!
I presented the claims of Christ: "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me". (John 14:6). "I am the door: by Me if any man enter in he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy; I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10: 9-10)
And I quoted St. Paul: "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour: Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave Himself a ransom for all..." (1 Tim. 2:3-6).
I declared that Jesus Christ was the Son of the Living God, born of a virgin woman, His Sinless Life, Miracle Ministry, Victorious Death and Glorious Resurrection from the dead!
Less than 100 came forward for salvation in the first service, but God performed several miracles of healing in answer to my prayer!
The next day, Hindu Religious Leaders decided to drive us out of the Park and conduct another Ten - Day Hindu revival on the very grounds we had a permit to use! Unbeknown to me, our Crusade Leader had received their letter informing us of their intentions, with a warning of serious trouble if we did not vacate the area that evening!
THE LETTER DIVULGED THAT THE POLICE HAD BEEN ALERTED OF A POSSIBLE RIOT AND THAT 50 FANATICS WITH STONES AND STICKS WOULD START AN UPROAR, STOP THE CRUSADE AND KILL THE PREACHER, IF NECESSARY!
There were about 6,000 in attendance that evening. I chose for my text Acts 17:18-32 where St. Paul preached his famous Mars Hill message, ‘The Unknown God’. The Bible declares that St. Paul was “stirred in the spirit” while he waited for Timothy and Silas, because the entire city was “full of idols”!
Invited by the philosophers to speak, he said: “Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For, as I passed by and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO THE UNKNOWN GOD’.
“Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, declare I now unto you! God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
“Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though He needeth anything, seeing He giveth to all life, and breath and all things. And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitations: that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us: For in Him we live, and move, and have our being.
GOD COMMANDS ALL MEN TO REPENT!
“Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent:
“Because He hath appointed a day, in which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man Whom He hath ordained, whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead.” (Acts 17: 16 – 30).
I said, "I entered your city last evening and beheld your temples, images, idols and gods. Idols that are made of wood, stone, plaster of paris, and plastic; gods that have eyes that see not, ears that hear not, mouths that cannot speak, hands that have never helped anyone and feet that are stationary"!”
I quoted the Psalmist David concerning the gods of the heathen: “Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God? But our God is in the heavens: He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased. Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they speak not: They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not.”
Then I presented Jesus Christ, the only true Saviour of the world and the Son of the Living God!
At precisely 9:00 PM as I was making the altar call, suddenly other loud speakers began blaring out an opposing message - in the Hindi language - in the very same venue which we were using! They had made good on their threat and now they were commanding everyone to vacate the park, because a riot was about to begin!
This was no idle threat. These fanatics meant business! On those same grounds, two years previously, the Muslims had started a riot in a Christian crusade, to stop the meetings. Muslim fanatics had overturned a bus with 17 men, women, and children, poured gasoline on it, setting it ablaze and killing them all! Of course, everyone fled, and the Crusade was history!
More than thirty years earlier, a well-known American evangelist was conducting a successful crusade in North India. Fanatics began a riot and he had to leave.
The Indian government then declared him non-gratis-persona, effectively barring him from the country, stating that his crusades were dangerous and prone to violence and riots. In this manner the bigots and religious fanatics had stopped one of the world's greatest soul winners from preaching in that nation for more than 3 decades!
A MIRACLE OF GOD INTERVENED!
NOW, THEY WERE PLANNING TO DO THIS TO US, BUT GOD INTERVENED! Just as the fanatics were entering the grounds, I was making the altar call. More than 500 people were so gripped by the message and by the Holy Spirit that they rushed forward to receive Jesus Christ, as a powerful anointing came over me and the entire site!
Then as I prayed a powerful prayer, rebuking the devil and calling upon God - in Jesus' Name - for miracles among the people, a 6 -year -old boy who was lame in one leg from birth was instantly healed!
His parents, who were Brahmin Hindus rushed forward to testify, along with their healed son. Upon hearing the commotion and the testimony, the fanatics asked, "Is that Mr. and Mrs. so and so? (a prominent businessman). Is it true that his son is healed? Who is that man? Is he a prophet?"
Those around them in the crowd said, "Yes, he is a prophet from Canada". They dropped their stones and sticks saying, “We could have killed a prophet. We’ll give him another day.”
They pulled down their loudspeakers! The next evening, the crowd grew to about 10,000 and I preached on ‘God's Love and the Blood of Jesus’! The fanatics who had previously wanted to hurt me, now wanted to kiss my feet. And the revival continued with the crowd growing to approximately 40,000 persons.
And according to the last reports we have had, the Christian community was not only strengthened but also is growing! Thousands enrolled in the New Converts Class, by mail. And hundreds took special courses for Christian Ministry! To God be all the glory!
Here, however is the good news: We can come to our Heavenly Father at anytime and anywhere, for any need and expect a hearing and an answer to our prayers! God's Word says, "Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not". (Jer. 33:3)
All of us go through times of difficulty and trouble, and God is more willing to give than we are to ask. Jesus said, "Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full". (John 16:24)
JESUS BIDS US COME TO HIM!
We are invited to call upon Him in the day of trouble and He will deliver us and show us His mighty arm outstretched, in signs, wonders and miracles!
All we must do is call, and He will answer! It is humbling for us to acknowledge our weakness and need for help. It is humbling for us to request assistance from an outside force in this proud, efficient, and materialistic world in which we live.
If we want an answer, however, we must call upon His Name! Jesus said, "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him"? (Luke 11:13)
Our Lord stated, "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool". (Isa. 1:18)
Jesus invited, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened." (Matt. 7:7-8)
The simplest thing in the world for anyone to do is to ask for something. And yet, it can be the most difficult!
To ask God for forgiveness, we must acknowledge our failings and sins. To ask God for guidance, which road to take or for strength, we acknowledge our weakness. And to ask God for divine healing, we admit that we are sick and need help!
But Jesus made it so easy! He said, we must become like little children and ask with child-like faith and expectation. And His promise is sure and guaranteed to work. He will keep His Word!
Jesus said, "If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you". (John 15:7)
Again He stated, "Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: That whatsoever ye ask of the Father in My name, He may give it you." (John 15)
WITHOUT CHRIST WE ARE POWERLESS!
We must remember Who our Source is! Jesus Christ is our Redeemer and the Holy Spirit gives us the power to function by His grace. And the Word of God is Supreme that He may be all in all!
Jesus said: "But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you and ye shall be witnesses unto Me..." (Acts 1:8). "Without Me, ye can do nothing"! (John 15:5). "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. I will be with you until the end of the world". (Heb. 13:5)
WE MUST ASK IN FAITH! When we approach God’s Throne of Grace, we must ask specifically for what we need or desire! We must be specific, so that we can prioritize our request and focus on our needs!
It is important to lay out our needs in a definite request, believing that He hears us and will keep His promise!
Faith is expecting an answer when you pray! Faith is trusting God so explicitly, that when you have met the conditions that He has set forth in His Great Document - the Holy Bible - He will respond favourably!
The Bible says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen". (Heb. 11:1). Here is Moffat's translation of this verse: "Faith means we are confident of what we hope for; convinced of what we do not see."
Faith is like the title deed to a property you own but have never seen. You know it is yours because it has been bequeathed to you in a will or it has been given to you as a gift ~ possibly in another part of the world ~ and you still haven't received it or seen it.
That is how faith works! We have God's promises regarding prayer and His desire to answer, but the things we have prayed for may not have happened yet!
Keep on trusting, expecting, and believing, and the answer will come! Loved ones will come to Christ, sicknesses will be healed by God's power and your many prayer requests will be answered when you pray in the Name of Jesus! We have His Word on it!
The Bible says, "Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass". (Psalms 37:5). Jesus showed us how faith works in Mark 11:22-24:
"And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, that whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
“Therefore, I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them."
In my opinion, Heb. 11:1 is a theologian's definition of faith. The layman's definition of faith is found in verse 6.
"But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." (Heb. 1:6)
FAITH IS THREE THINGS!
1). Faith is coming to God with your needs and making your requests known!
When you bring your request to God in prayer, you are declaring your faith in Him! By asking God for help, you are demonstrating faith! You wouldn’t come to God for help if you didn't believe He could help you! This is proof that you do believe that He is greater than yourself and your need!
You are saying: "Lord, You are greater than I and more powerful, and that is why I am coming to You. I am weak, helpless and needy. I trust in You as my Saviour, Healer and Deliverer! Wash me in Your precious blood and heal me through Your broken body. Hear my prayer, O Lord. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
2). Faith believes that God exists!
Faith is believing that God is real, that He is alive and available today! But, you may ask, “Who is God?” That question has been asked repeatedly for thousands of years. Here are some truths about God from two historical creeds of the Church.
In 230 A.D. during the Arian controversy (attack on the deity of Christ and Trinity) 318 Church Fathers (many of them victims of persecution) met at Nicaea, and adopted a statement of faith. It is called the Nicene Creed:
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
The Only begotten Son of God,
Begotten of Him before all ages,
God of God, Light of Light,
Very God of Very God,
Begotten, not made,
Being of one Substance with the Father,
By Whom all things were made.
I believe in the Holy Spirit
The Lord and giver of life,
Which proceedeth from the Father and the Son,
Who with the Father and the Son together,
Is worshipped and glorified.
A part of the Athanasian Creed reads thus: “In this Trinity, nothing is before or after, nothing is greater or less: but all three Persons co-eternal, together and equal.” Concerning Jesus the Son, they wrote into the Creed: “Equal to His Father, as touching His Godhead; less than the Father, as touching His manhood.”
In his book, ‘The Knowledge of the Holy’, A.W. Tozer writes: “Christ did not hesitate to use the plural form when speaking of Himself along with the Father and the Spirit. ‘We will come unto him, and make our abode with him’ Yet again He said, ‘I and My Father are one.’ It is most important that we think of God as Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the Person nor dividing the Substance.”
He is eternally existent in three persons: God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit! God is omnipotent (all powerful), omniscient (all wise), omnipresent, (everywhere present at once), incomprehensible (unknowable), transcendent (above nature), eternal (without beginning and without end) and immutable (never differing from Himself).
Faith is: Believing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He died on the cross for our sins and arose from the dead for our justification! Faith is: Believing in the God of the Bible!
3). Faith is expecting a miracle when we pray!
Faith anticipates and awaits the imminent answer from the eternal, living and trustworthy One, whose name is Faithful, True and Holy!
The Holy Scripture says: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen". The NIV translation renders this verse thusly: "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." (Heb. 11:1)
Faith is a fact and faith is also an act, because "faith without works is dead being alone". (James 2:26) Faith is now! Faith is a present day reality and faith gets the job done! Yes, indeed my friend: Faith Works Miracles!
I close this brief paper with these words from St. John: “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made Him a Liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of His Son.
“And this is the record that God hath given to us Eternal life, and this life is in His Son. For he that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
“And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us: and if we KNOW that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we KNOW that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.” (1 John 5: 14, 15)
“Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is NONE other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4: 7-12)
May the Blessed Holy Spirit make these precious truths real to everyone reading these inspired words. Amen.