“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matthew 6:5-8).
“I listen more than I talk.” That’s how a well-known pastor described his prayer life in a sermon I heard recently. It was the reason he gave that really got my attention. “After all, it seems like God is going to do whatever he wants to do anyway.”
There are various ways to respond to that statement, including simply nodding your head in agreement. If we don’t dispute the sovereignty of God (and surely we don’t), then where and how does prayer fit into God’s plan? Or why should we bother praying if God has already determined the answers before we start to pray?
I suppose that most Christians have wondered about that question at one time or another. Certainly skeptics have thrown it in our faces to discourage us from seeking the Lord in times of crisis. I confess that I have wrestled with this issue on more than one occasion.
If God is sovereign, why should we pray at all? For the past several months, I have been researching that question and I would like to share with you seven statements that will help us think wisely about this question:
- GOD INVITES US TO ASK FOR WHAT WE NEED.
- WE DON’T KNOW WHAT WE REALLY NEED.
- GOD KNOWS WHAT WE NEED BEFORE WE ASK HIM.
- WE DO NOT PRAY TO INFORM GOD OF ANYTHING.
- WE PRAY TO EXPRESS OUR TOTAL DEPENDENCE UPON OUR HEAVENLY FATHER.
- WE PRAY BECAUSE GOD IS HONORED BY OUR PERSISTENT FAITH.
- WE PRAY BECAUSE HE’S GOD AND WE’RE NOT.
Let me close with a very simple theology of prayer for all of us. Our part is to pray fervently, sincerely, and honestly, bringing our deepest concerns to the Lord. God’s part is to listen to our prayers and to graciously answer them in his own time, in his own way, according to his own will. If we do our part, God cannot fail to do his.
Next Sunday is Palm Sunday and we will be talking about peer pressure and how it influenced the events that took place in Jerusalem during the first Holy Week. The message is entitled “Dealing with Peer Pressure” and we will be using a traditional Palm Sunday passage from Matthew 21:1-11.
I look forward to seeing you in worship as we begin Holy Week together. Until then, HAVE A GREAT WEEK WITH JESUS!
Sincerely His then yours,
P.S. Don’t forget our COFFEE & DONUT FELLOWSHIP has been moved to the narthex from 9:30 – 10:15AM. Come and join us!