Sunday, January 15, 2012

Do you think it’s come to that?

        Does God Change as a Result of Our Prayers?
Prayer? - Do you think it’s come to that?
I Thess. 5:17 and James 5: 13-18, Romans 8:26, Matt. 6:9-13

            Pastor Karl Elkins says the best prayer he had ever heard came from a woman whose life was crashing in.  Her husband had left her, he was behind in paying child support to her, her boss was insensitive, and he didn’t care about her situation, nor did he appreciate the long hours he required of her kept her away from home longer than she wanted to be.  She wasn’t sleeping and she was diagnosed with depression, but she didn’t have time to address it because she had two children under the age of ten.  At wits end, she asked her pastor what to do.  He asked her: “have you prayed about your situation?”  She asked, “Do you think it’s come to that?” He explained to her that prayer was not as complicated as she had made it out to be, and that it was just conversation with God.  She stared at him a minute, and then just bowed her head and yelled “HELP.”   Christians are promised a helper, the Holy Spirit, who will empower us to accomplish His work on earth. Acts 1:4-8, and we are also promised that the Holy Spirit will intercede for us when we pray and don’t know how to say what we need. Romans 8:26.  Sometimes we just don’t know what to say to God when we‘re in trouble, or how to say it.  

Some people think a relationship with God requires performance of an unknown and fearful set of prerequisite events unachievable by anyone other than the most righteous. Doesn’t it take a degree of perfection to come before a Holy a God with your problems? Nope.  Don’t get that idea.  God desires a repentant and obedient heart more than anything else. Psalm 51:16-17. Consequently, what can we better do for God than show Him that we rely on Him and that we know we cannot do it alone.

The question then becomes, what does prayer look like?  Jesus didn’t leave us without instruction.  He left us with His Model prayer. (Matt. 6:9-13). That prayer does several things.  The prayer begins by acknowledging God’s sovereignty over all situations (v9). It notes that God’s will is best for us, and that we understand His desires would be best for us in the long run (v10).  It acknowledges our needs and that we are right in asking for them to be taken care of, but one day at a time (v11).  Recall that the children of Israel were hungry in the wilderness and God provided for them, one day at a time (Ex. 16:1-36).  In verse 12 it talks about our relationships, debts and debtors, and reminds us that we are to have God’s perspective on that as well. Be willing to forgive someone else if you want forgiveness. (Matt. 18:21-35). Jesus then reminds us that we need to stay close to Him to be able to escape the wiles of the devil, and that we are correct to seek God’s participation in our lives to avoid falling into the snares of the evil one v.13). God recognizes the activity of Satan in our world and that we don’t have the strength to endure his deceit without God’s help.