April 27, 2020

Dear Faith Family,

Do you ever wonder what to pray, or perhaps get to a point where you don’t know what else to pray?

Do you ever doubt or distrust that God really answers your prayers, so you see it more as a religious practice than heavenly directed requests that actually accomplish something? 

Are you content to pray without the experience of having prayer answered, but wonder what it would be like to experience God as a fulfiller of requests?

The Bible is full of prayers to inspire our own and in Matthew 7:7-11 Jesus promises that when we pray, God responds! Make no mistake, Jesus clearly states that when we ask, God gives. Guaranteed.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11  If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Certainly, there are times God refuses to give us what we ask for. James tells us this is because we are asking outside of that which aligns with God’s will (James 4:3). His refusal of a request doesn’t change the fact that God wants us to experience him as the guaranteed-giver; it simply means he refuses to give us anything less than the best. In these times we have the opportunity to submit ourselves to God (like David in 2 Samuel 12:15-23 and Jesus in Mark 14:36); and trust that our Good Father is, to paraphrase John Newton, opening the door we would have knocked on if we knew everything God knew.

And so, even in the face of refusal of specifics, we are to keep asking, seeking and knocking. We are to keep praying as a pathway to experiencing God as our Good Father.

That’s what the Apostle Paul did. He prayed – A LOT. Especially when he couldn’t be with people he loved, he devoted himself to praying for them knowing this was a part of loving them. And he expected God to give him what he asked for! Curious about what Paul requested, given we, too, have many people we love that we can’t be with right now?

This week’s prayer grouping provides some of Paul’s prayers as well as a template for praying as Paul did in 1 Thessalonians 3:6-13. I encourage you to pray alongside Paul with confidence, knowing that when you ask, seek and knock, God promises to listen, be found and let you in! He is a Good Father, whose best response is guaranteed.

With living hope,

Pastor Shelley