As I read the New Testament stories of what happened during the Passion Week over 2000 years ago, these words spoken by our Lord to His disciples caught my attention: “In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:23-24, ESV) As I reflected on this verse and my own prayer life, I realized that though I have read this promise countless times, I don’t think I really believed it; because if I did, it would revolutionize my prayer life. I have most of the times let my insecurities get the better part of me and keep me from experiencing all that God wants to grant me through prayer, “so that [my] joy may be complete.”
There are several reasons why we don’t pray as we ought to. I have noticed two main ones in my own life and they are both self-centred. Pride is the first one. This is the attitude of believing that I do not really need God, that I can handle life without His help. Of course I do not say that to God, but the very fact that I treat prayer very casually is a demonstration of what I believe about God and prayer. If I really believed that I desperately need Him, I would take prayer VERY seriously. Unbelief is the other one. This is where I convince myself that prayer will not make any difference. As a theologian I believe in the sovereignty of God and I many times fall into the temptation of misapplying this wonderful doctrine by believing that God will do what He will do whether I pray or I don’t… so why pray? What difference will my prayer make?
What’s your reason for your prayerlessness? I pray that the above Scripture passage will revitalize your prayer life. God wants to make our joy in Him full by answering our prayers! He wants us to pray because He wants to answer our prayers! When Jesus died on the cross, one of the blessings He gave us through His death was a direct access to the very presence of God (see Romans 5:2 and Hebrews 4:14-16). You and I have the wonderful privilege of going into the very presence of God and ask for anything in His Name, and He promises to respond! See also James 5:17-18.
May the joy that God wants to give be yours today and always! May He open your eyes and mine so that we may see Him as He really is and experience His close presence and great power. May He grant us to experience the power of prayer because there is power in prayer… because God hears and answers prayer!
Point to Ponder
“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known .” The Lord in Jeremiah 33:3
Article by Pastor Duncan Malalo.