07 October, 2010
AMAZING FACTS ABOUT PRAYER
2 Kings 20:1-11
A Christian farmer was once visited by a sophisticated relative who scoffed when the farmer said grace, thereby dedicating the meal to God! “Surely this sort of behaviour is a thing of the past!” said his relative. And the farmer said, “I admit that there are some on this farm who don’t thank the Lord for their food,” he replied. “Well I’m certainly pleased to find others of own thinking,” said the visitor. “Who are they?” “Why, replied the farmer, I’m referring to my pigs!” (And Jesus told us not to cast our pearls before pigs –or their admirors!) Note that when Jesus took the bread and the wine at the Last Supper, he gave God thanks for it, and calls us to do likewise. Not just thanks for our food, but also for what the bread and wine represents – the body and blood of Jesus – given for our salvation and forgiveness.
1 Prayer gives us a say in our own destiny: It is clear from the story of Hezekiah that the king himself through his prayer, was instrumental in God’s decision to grant him an extra fifteen years of life. But don’t get the idea though that Hezekiah changed God’s mind! God had mapped out Hezekiah’s life long before he was born, but God also, by telling Hezekiah his destiny, gave him a chance to have a say in things! In other words, we can do what my clients do in mediation – we can help to determine our own outcomes! For us this happens through prayer! Matthew 6:8 says that “God knows what you need before you ask Him!”
2 Prayer doesn’t change God, but it can change us! God is the same – yesterday, today and forever! (Hebrews 13:8) But when we come to Him in humble prayer, He can change our hearts and even turn us around completely! We can even go from, “God, I hate you for what you’ve done to me,” to “Lord I thank you for my circumstances, and I pray you use them to refine me!” A group of people were once heading to a prayer shrine in Europe and one young bloke said,” Look at that man with only one leg! Does he really think God is going to give his leg back?” To this the amputee replied, “No, I’m not going to pray to get my leg back! I’m going to pray that God will enable me to live without it!” (In the Lord’s prayer, we pray, “Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven!”)
3 Prayer is not giving orders to God; it is receiving orders from Him: I have gone from “Lord please don’t send me to Newcastle, or Kandos, or even Vietnam, to “Lord here I am – send me wherever you want me to go!” (Isaiah prayed a similar prayer in Isaiah 6). When I once offered to go anywhere in the world for Him, he took me to Melbourne to buy the Melbourne Age paper where the job he had for me was advertised – for the Republic of Nauru! I’d barely even heard of the place but the job came along when I really needed something somewhere!
4 Prayer involves listening to God – not just talking to Him: Sometimes when we are trying to make a decision, we need to just leave it to God, and listen to His response! Sometimes He will simply place the answer in our minds and hearts! To illustrate this, a young man was driving home from Bible study one night after studying the topic,“Listening to God’s Voice!” As he drove down the main street of town, praying that God would speak to him, he had a strange conviction to stop and buy a carton of milk, even though he knew he didn’t need any. He was then led to turn into a particular street and stop outside a house already in darkness. His knock brought a man who looked as if he’d just got out of bed. But when the guest offered the milk, the man admitted that they’d completely run out of money and had been praying for milk for their baby! The wife said that she’d asked God to send an angel with milk! (Isaiah 30:21 says, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way! Walk in it!’”)