Today and Tomorrow

PRAYER

Explain prayer. It is an interesting challenge. The answer, however, is simple, but like the explanation of how airplanes fly, knowing how airplanes fly is not required for one to take advantage of the fact that airplanes do fly. All it takes is a ticket. So, do not wait for the explanation of prayer before you pray. It works. So, pray.

But how does it work? It works as we join as partners with God in accomplishing his purposes in the world. That partnership is hinted at in Genesis 2:15 where God gives Adam the job of taking care of the garden: "The Lord God took the man and placed him in the orchard in Eden to care for it and to maintain it." It is understood in our being made in the image of God, which if anything means that we represent God. Then it is illustrated in Adam's taking authority over the animals by naming them (Gen. 2:19-20). 

It is further described in Psalm 8 where the writer says: 

You made [mankind] a little less than the heavenly beings.

You crowned mankind with honor and majesty.

6 you appoint them to rule over your creation;

you have placed everything under their authority,

7 including all the sheep and cattle,

as well as the wild animals,

8 the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea,

and everything that moves through the currents of the seas.


Taking authority over creation under the Lord for the purpose of bringing it all into the order and use God designed it to be begins with prayer. And that takes listening to God, knowing his design and purpose, and joining him in his purpose.  


That agreement and partnership with God in his purpose is reflected in the first request in the Lord's Prayer: "Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. How is his will done? Largely through us. 


So, as I listen for directions on how to pray in regard to specific things, I must be willing to be the answer to my prayer. In Luke 10 as God prepares the disciples to go out to the towns of Judea, he says to them: “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore, ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest. 3 Go!" Be the answer or at least the partial answer to your prayer. 


As I pray for the orphan children in Pakistan or Kenya, I pray for God to make the ministry of those who are caring for them effective, but I also join them with my gifts to those ministries. How could I pray honestly if I do not do what I can? 


There are some prayers, of course, that are for things I cannot physically have a part in. I pray for renewal of the church in America. I pray for the safety of believers in India as they gather in worship and prayer. I pray for the village evangelists in Kenya. But I cannot be the answer myself. That I leave for God who will provide care and comfort and protection as it fits his purpose or as he raises up others on site to do his will. And he does. 


It is not that easy, of course. It is not a moment of prayer during my early morning time with the Lord. It is often prolonged, and burden prayer in which I listen to God for direction in how to pray; it is asking, seeking and knocking until he provides the answer. It is wrestling in prayer. 


Often, we read one piece of God's directions or one of the promises regarding prayer, for example, we read "And whatever you ask in prayer, if you believe, you will receive,” (Matthew 21:22)


but we neglect the whole of what God tells us about prayer. We forget, "in my name." In my name means that we as agents of the Lord and for his purposes bring these needs to the Lord to supply what we do not have or are unable to do - according to his will. The privilege of prayer is not carte blanche to pray for just anything we want. It is to pray for what God wants and to trust that he will do what we ask as it fits his purposes.   

Simple. Just as simple as the difference in air pressure of air in motion providing the lift on the wings of a plane causing it to rise.  


This song captures the need of our hearts. 

It is not excitement or information  we long for but for him.