2004-04-20 - Encouragement to Prayer
Encore from 12-08-1997
John 16:24 Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, that your joy may be made full.
These words of Christ to His disciples are spoken in consolation and love. It is as if Christ is offering to His disciples a friendliness and a warm invitation to prayer. The implication of the verse is both that God hears prayer, and to at least some measure, He returns answers of peace in response to prayer.
God is the all-knowing, powerful, benevolent, and gracious ruler of the world. His eyes are always upon His creation. He knows the various situations of His children and He is able to help them in any circumstance. In every circumstance God knows exactly what we need. If we are weak, God is strong. If we lack anything, God has all things. And even more than all this, He is patient with His children and the mountains of our sins can in no way overcome His grace and love towards us. This view of God is a great encouragement to prayer.
But even more, God invites and commands us to pray to Him. Prayer is a Christian duty, but it is not one that God has commanded without many encouragements to prayer. It is as if He says to us, "Come to me and make known your needs, tell me of your cares and sorrows, pour out your heart before me, and whatever you need, or ask about on behalf of others, come boldly to My throne, and present your requests." Why would He encourage us to pray, if He did not intend to hear us?
Paul tells us to devote ourselves to prayer (Colossians 4:2) and to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). This does not mean we should always be on our knees, but rather that our daily lives should form and evidence a habit of prayer. What an opportunity it is to tie together morning and evening devotions with an endless chain of prayer throughout the day. Time spent in communion with God is never wasted time, and the Christian never loses time that is spent taking heed of our Lords encouragement to pray.
"Prayer is weakness leaning on omnipotence" W. S. Bowden
Soli Deo Gloria,