Monday, May 26, 2014

Asking-Prayer Releases God's Power and Life (PrayerLife)

Lake Erie in Monroe
Petitionary prayer is asking-prayer. The biblical idea of asking-prayer is that it is a means of releasing God's power and willingness to act positively towards us. We see this principle in verses like:

Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it—the Lord is his name: Call to me and I will answer you, 
and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.
Jeremiah 33:2-3

In the day of my trouble I call on you,
    for you will answer me.
Psalm 86:7

14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, 
and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14

Jesus used a parent-child analogy to explain this. 

 11 Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? 12 Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father 
give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Luke 11:11-13

Stanley Grenz explains it this way:

"In this analogy, our Lord drew from a basic characteristic of the parental heart. Children's requests release their parents' willingness and ability to shower them with good things. If the willingness of sinful parents to provide for their children is released by asking, Jesus declared, how much more does the petitioning by God's children release the power and willingness of their heavenly Father to provide for their good." (Grenz, Prayer: The Cry for the Kingdom, 36)

I have met Jesus-followers who hesitate to ask God for themselves because they view it as selfish, or think themselves unworthy of asking. But if someone is a follower of Jesus, then they will follow his counsel to bring their requests to him. Remember that Jesus us this way:

24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. 
Ask and you will receive, 
so that your joy may be complete.
John 16:24

Effective asking-prayer emerges out of a Christ-abiding life. 

Walk in daily Jesus-connection. 

Bring the requests that grow within this connection to God.

God is pleased when we ask, and acts on our behalf.