Wednesday, May 9, 2018

How Do You Pray?

Dear Friends,

All three daughters absolutely love and adore their father. He loves them unconditionally with all his heart and has told them that he will take care of anything they need. All they need to do is to ask. Shy Tracy comes before her dad and timidly bows her head. “Dear father, if it would be your will for me, I’d like to go to Disneyland..” She leaves and never mentions Disneyland to him again... 

The extroverted daughter, Ashley, runs to her father and shouts, YOU dearest daddy are the KING over this household and in your NAME daddy, as your beloved ANOINTED and APPOINTED daughter, I take AUTHORITY over my vacation!” Ashley fervently declares, “And by the POWER you have given me daddy, I CLAIM this vacation trip to Disneyland!!” Ashley’s left hand begins to tremble as she points to the sky and she cries out, “And I take AUTHORITY over and against any ADVERSARY and STOMP ON any evil opposition and BELIEVE and CLAIM this trip to Disneyland for my family...”

Rebecca comes into the presence of her father in full confidence that he loves her dearly. She boldly tells him how much she would like to go to Disneyland. He listens attentively but does not answer. Every night, she comes before him and reminds him of just how much she would like to go to the Magic Kingdom. She knows that her dad’s word is final and that he is in absolute sovereign control over everything that she and her sisters can do. She continues to ask with boldness and persistence, knowing that at some point either he will take her to Disneyland or he will give her a feeling of peace that the amusement park is simply not where he wants her to go...

Are you a Tracy, an Ashley or a Rebecca when it comes time to talk with your Heavenly Father? I love Tracy’s reverence and deference to her father but she has not learned that many times we don’t have because we don’t ask James 4:2b or we lack faith and ask passively. But the Bible is filled with promises relating to the power and efficacy of prayer when we pray with boldness. James tells us: “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” James 5:16 NLT 

Here is our entire biblical theology of prayer in one sentence: Our God is Sovereign and yet He allows our fervent prayers to effect the circumstances of our personal lives and the world around us. That’s it in a nutshell. It’s why we pray! It’s because of God’s goodness and His love for us that He hears us speak the desires of our heart, and He willingly makes His Creation pliant to our prayers. But if we don’t believe that our prayers are efficacious, then we pray uncertainly and passively like Tracy does.

I love Ashley’s passion and fervency but she is saying to God, My will be done!” Her prayer language is from the prosperity movement taught in the majority of Pentecostal and megachurches today. I’m pretty sure that when I’ve arrogantly expressed my demands in “name it and claim it” prayers, that God just rolls His eyes and snickers.

Rebecca comes boldly and persistently before her father with what might be called a “shameless audacity.” And you may be surprised to hear that is exactly how Jesus said we should pray to our Heavenly Father! “But I tell you this..if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.” Luke 11:8 NLT What an interesting way for the Son of God to put that! The Greek word that is translated as “persistence” means an impudent audacity! We fall on our knees before Him in awe and reverence and then Jesus tells us to boldly “go for it” as He invites us to pray to our Father with an energetic and impertinent assertiveness!

We come before Him knowing that “ able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Ephesians 3:20 NLT That means that even when you struggle to express yourself in prayer, God hears your heart and gives you exactly what you need. Romans 8:26-27 NLT

Like “Rebecca,” we are to boldly, specifically and persistently ask for God to fulfill our petitionary requests while, at the same time, we need to be open-minded and willing to receive whatever God has for us that’s according to His perfect will.  AMEN?

Next week: How To Pray for Healing

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