In Sunday School and church we are studying our church’s doctrinal statement. Why we believe what we believe. We are doing this for a few reasons; first, we have a number of new members, second, it’s always good to have a refresher, third, you need to be able to explain what you believe when asked.
This Sunday we were focusing on God but what really became clear to me was the subject of prayer. Have you ever wondered why we need to pray if God knows what we need anyway? Ever felt like you simply can’t pray about the same thing again? Ever wondered if your prayers sounded selfish to God? I have. I felt like Pastor Mike explained things in a way that no one else ever had Sunday and I won’t feel like that again.
Why do we pray if God knows what we need? Because God desires a relationship with us. He wants us to come to him with our needs and requests. You can’t have a relationship if you never talk to someone. So, even if you feel silly taking your most simple requests to God, he doesn’t see it that way.
Prayer is also a way to acknowledge God’s power over our lives. We can do nothing without him. Prayer acknowledges that. Prayer humbles us before God as we lay our burdens down at His feet. We are reminded that we may not be able to solve our troubles, our trials, our worries, but He can. James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
We are also called to be persistent in prayer. The parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18 shows us that. Verse 1 says, “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.”
Pastor gave another illustration that helped me see this another way. Matthew 7:7 says, ““Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Look at the action words; ask, seek, knock. He saw these as increasing in intensity. First, you ask, like when I ask my husband to go get something out of the kitchen for me. I ask knowing he’ll do it. I’m sure of the answer. When you seek, you’re seeking wisdom or knowledge. Maybe there is something happening in your life you don’t understand or don’t know how to deal with. You go to God and ask for wisdom or guidance or understanding. When you knock you are facing a closed door. Something you can’t open. Only God can. It’s the time when we need the most help.
What do you do if you need desperate help and you’re knocking on the neighbors door? You know they are home and you really need them. Do you stop after trying once? Or do you keep knocking until someone answers and helps you? Are you persistent in knocking until you get an answer?
For some reason all of this just really clicked for me and solved a lot of unanswered questions I’ve had for quite some time. I could really have listened to a whole sermon focused on prayer with answers like this.
What about when God doesn’t answer our prayer? When we are persistent in prayer, we are asking and seeking? God doesn’t always answer our prayers in the way we think He should and that can be disappointing but trust that God knows what He is doing. Trust that the answer is the best thing for you. Rest in all the other promises of scripture that tell you He has your best interests at heart. Ask Him why he didn’t answer. Seek Him with all of your heart. Keep asking him why until you understand.