I’ve been thinking a bit about prayer. Most of us believe it makes some kind of difference sometimes. Some of us wait until hard times come, and then we pour on the whine. Would you like a little cheese with that whine? Would you like me to call you a whambulance? We pray most often when we are running scared, and our prayers then sound a lot like a 911 phone call.
The Bible tells us that the god of this world is the devil, and he has limited powers here. His influence is greatest over those who do not accept Christ, but he still messes with believers from time to time. While Satan is roaming around trying to devour us, right now, God chooses most often to influence this world through the body of Christ who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. It is through this inhabiting that the work of the kingdom is done through us. God will not completely rule the earth again until Jesus returns and the devil and his company are vanquished forever.
So how does God work in this present darkness? Some, like the early Methodist theologian, John Wesley, think it is through prayer that God moves. John supposed that “God does nothing but in response to prayer”. Meaning if we don’t ask for it, it doesn’t happen. Wow, that puts a lot of pressure on us, now doesn’t it? But what if that is true? If it’s true, then most of us aren’t praying enough. Most of us better get off our duffs and start asking for stuff. Now by stuff, I don’t mean stuff. Well, I think even stuff is okay sometimes, depending on the motivation.
The Bible says we have not because we ask not. It also says if we ask in accordance to his will it will be given to us. Every good and perfect gift comes to us from the Father of heavenly lights. We just have to ask. He will give us the desires of our hearts, the Bible says, but we have to ask according to His will. How do we manage that?
Prayer is talking to God. The more you talk to someone, the more you get to know them. I know what motivates my husband for the most part because I know him like no one else. Why? Because I have laid down and gotten up with him each day for 26 years. I have seen him under pressure and rested, attacked and praised, sick and well, and everywhere in between. I know him. I’ve spent time talking to him. A lot. Others may think they know him, too, but not like I do. I’ve put in the time.
The more time we spend talking to the Father, the more we learn his good and perfect will and what motivates Him. The more our hearts join with His, the more our requests will become in tune with what He would want us to have.
I did a word search on Biblegateway.com to find the word “ask” in the Bible. It’s in there quite a few times. It generally shows up right before the phrase, “and it will be given”. The “it will be given comes only after the “ask”. Now sometimes God just does stuff. Like Pentecost. No one asked for that. God just did it. But for the most part, we have to ask. When the sick came to Jesus, He would have them ask for their healing.
My kids have asked a lot over the years. And if it is in my power, and it will bless them, I say yes. My kids also know me well enough to know ahead of time to what I will likely say yes. I’m guessing God loves me so much more than I love my kids. If the God provides for the birds of the air and the flowers of the field, how much more then will he provide for us? Lots. I think lots.
Paul tells us to pray without ceasing. Is that even possible? Maybe. If we make absolutely everything a matter of prayer. If we are always in that attitude, then as we go about our day, we touch base on it all. I’m not saying this is an easy thing for me. I don’t have ADD, but I do have a problem sometimes with focus. I am distracted and I forget to pray. Now in light of all I have said about prayer and the benefits to me it can bring, that’s really stupid.
I have this idea in my mind that when we get to heaven, all the prayers that have been prayed on our behalf will be there on a reel for us to see and hear. That’s in my head, not in the Bible. Still, I’d want the people I love to have LONG reels. I would want them to see that I left nothing for them on the table unasked.