What if the people of God actually believed the central doctrines that bind them together? Continuing from my last post, I want to ask this question, beginning with the core values of the church that I work for, but ultimately dreaming about the church as a whole. I want to see a people, united by God, come to full belief in the things of God, so as a personal exercise of hope and reflection, I want to draw out these lines of thought. The question I will go from today is: what if the church was reliant on prayer?
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Colossians 4:2
What’s the point of Prayer?
Before I can start to explain why God’s people should be reliant on prayer, we first need to discuss the reason for prayer. Many people are taught as children to “say their prayers” before bed or meals (growing up my family had a rehearsed prayer to bless the food). On one hand these things can build the framework for spiritual discipline later in life, but in and of themselves these practices tend to miss the point of prayer. Yes, scripture commands us to pray, and therefore we should pray, but prayer is not the end, it is the means to a much greater goal, communion with God. We do not pray to make ourselves feel better. We do not pray to receive gifts or to fulfill some requirement or expectation (though God commands us to pray and hears our prayers). We pray because prayer is our direct connection to the the almighty God who loves us and whom we are striving to love back. We should want to pray because the greatest desire of our hearts should be more of God, and prayer both fosters and fulfills that desire.
We are reliant on prayer because we are reliant on God. God wants us to rely on Him for our every need. Philippians 4:8 says “in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Jesus tells us in John 15:5 that “apart from [Him] we can do nothing.” Our God is the creator of the universe, He is the God who, as He so clearly states in Psalm 50:7-15, has everything in abundance, and wants us to call on Him with both thankfulness and our every need. “God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8). If we are reliant on God for our every need, we can trust that He will be a faithful Provider.
The God who hears.
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (1 John 5:14). We are told that God is One who hears us when we call upon Him (Psalm 17:6). This is an amazing thing to behold when we consider who God is and who we are. This is the God of the universe. He dwells in unapproachable light, commands angel armies, and is the creator of the universe. We are broken, sinful, and can do nothing good of our own power. To say that we can approach that all-powerful God should be a ridiculous notion, but by the grace of God and the redemption of Jesus’ blood, we can have confidence to bring Him our problems. “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
What would it look like?
If God’s people trusted that God actually answers prayers, what would the world look like? What if Christians believed Jesus when He said in Mark 11:24 “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” How much more boldly would we pray and live if we thought this were true? I know that the whole point of writing this post is to answer that question, but I honestly don’t know. All I know for sure is that the times when I have taken my hands off and trusted God most fully in prayer, I have most fully seen His hand move. If all the people of God prayed with confidence that God is faithful to answer the prayers of those who ask according to His will, I believe that God would be faithful to show his hand in mighty response to the pleas of His children. Hebrews 11:6 says “without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” We, as His followers, should seek to please Him and draw near to Him through time of communion with Him in faithful prayer.
What should I do?
Hit your knees. Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Pray for everything and everyone. Pray for a heart of prayer. How can we see the world change without asking Him to change it? After all, he is the ruler and nothing is outside of his control.
Please join me in praying for more belief in the power of prayer and the faithfulness of God to move! Pray for the people of God to become wholly reliant on God for every want and need.