Thought’s for Today…When you grow up as a pastor’s kid you learn how to pray out loud pretty quickly.
You start out with the repetitious prayers, like “God is great, God is good,” or “Now I lay me down to sleep,” but over the years your prayers age with you. As time has passed, and the prayers have changed, one habit has remained consistent for me- closing each prayer by saying “In Jesus name we pray, amen.” No one ever told me I had to close my prayers that way, I just learned by listening to others.
Recently we lost a very precious friend of ours to death. By my estimation, there were at least hundreds if not thousands of people praying for our friend to be healed. If it was the quantity of prayer that determined the outcome of our friend she would have been healed, but she wasn’t. She died at 44.
If we could all be honest, you begin to doubt prayer when you pray hard and come up empty. My point is when you believe God will provide a certain outcome and hundreds, thousands of people agree with you, you’re left with questions walking away from the graveside, mainly, What kind of prayers does God answer?
As a pastor, I’m asked to pray for people’s requests often. Honestly, more prayers don’t get answered than do, at least so far. There are some prayers I don’t expect God to answer, like the times I’ve had people ask me to pray for them to win the lottery. But I pray for genuine, earnest, prayer requests on a regular basis. Whether it’s healing for friends and family, jobs for families about to lose their home or salvation for spouses and kids, at least for now, we’re left wanting more than celebrating.
That’s what makes what Jesus said so confounding. He said, “You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!” It can’t be that simple. If so, God would have answered my prayer to be a millionaire, and I would be retired and living on my own island today. Obviously, I can’t have anything I want, so what can I have?
Still today I love to bless my children with things they want. When my daughter was 7 years old if she asked me for a car it wouldn’t have made any sense to me then. But when she was 16 and wanted a car to drive I was excited to be able to bless her with her first car. I honestly think I was more excited than she was.
I think God is like that. There are things God wants for me more than I want them for myself. I think that’s what Jesus meant when He said “ask in his name.” It’s more than attaching “in Jesus name” to the end of my prayer, it’s praying for things God would attach His name to.
There are also things my daughter could ask for, and the answer would be an automatic no. At seven years old, requests for ponies and makeup are not happening. That’s probably how God felt the time I prayed to marry my high school girlfriend. Evidently, those things were not what He wanted for my life. I for one am very glad God doesn’t answer every prayer I pray.
But what if my daughter asked for something I wanted for her, it’s just not the right time? What if she asked for a new car for her 7th birthday? The answer is “no” for now. We would get her a car, but she had to wait another nine years.
It seems like God answers a lot of my prayers with “not yet” but it feels like a “no.” He knows if He said “yes” now I would wreck it because I’m not ready.
Have a “Wonderful DAY in Christ,” Pastor Terry Family Worship Center