Friday, February 26, 2010

How to Pray: The Foundation

You must first begin a relationship with God. Imagine

some guy named Mike decides to ask the president of

Princeton University (whom Mike doesn't even know) to

co-sign a car loan for him. Mike would have zero chance

of that happening. (We're assuming that the president

of Princeton is not an idiot.) However, if that same

president's daughter asked her dad to co-sign a car

loan for her, it would be no problem. Relationship


With God, when the person is actually a child of God,

when the person belongs to God, he knows them and hears

their prayers. Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd. I

know my sheep and my sheep know sheep listen to

my voice. I know them and they follow me. I give them

eternal life and they shall never perish; no one can

snatch them out of my hand."4

When it comes to God then, do you really know him and

does he know you? Do you have a relationship with him

that warrants God answering your prayers? Or is God

pretty distant, pretty much just a concept in your

life? If God is distant, or you're not sure that you

know God, here is how you can begin a relationship with

him right now
Will God Definitely Answer Your Prayer?

For those who do know him and rely on him, Jesus seems

to be wildly generous in his offer: "If you remain in

me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish,

and it will be given you."5 To "remain" in him and have

his words remain in them means they conduct their lives

aware of him, relying on him, listening to what he

says. Then they're able to ask him whatever they want.

Here is another qualifier: "This is the confidence we

have in approaching God: that if we ask anything

according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that

he hears us -- whatever we ask -- we know that we have

what we asked of him."6 God answers our prayers

according to his will (and according to his wisdom, his

love for us, his holiness, etc.).

Where we trip up is assuming we know God's will,

because a certain thing makes sense to us! We assume

that there is only one right "answer" to a specific

prayer, assuming certainly THAT would be God's will.

And this is where it gets tough. We live within the

limits of time and limits of knowledge. We have only

limited information about a situation and the

implications of future action on that situation. God's

understanding is unlimited. How an event plays out in

the course of life or history is only something he

knows. And he may have purposes far beyond what we

could even imagine. So, God is not going to do

something simply because we determine that it must be

his will.

No comments: