'You do not have, because you do not ask God'... so ask!
I have just come from our Wednesday morning prayer meeting and feel so encouraged.
We were a bit late home last night, following our staff meal out and, if I’m honest, I wasn’t looking forward to getting up early to pray! But what a precious time together. We asked God to lead us and we certainly felt encouraged by His presence with us. I think God loves it when we pray. I really do.
James writes ‘you do not have because you do not ask God’ and I have added above ‘so ask!’
Prayer is so much more than just asking, but I wonder how often we are inclined to keep going without stopping to seek God and ask for His guidance, His provision, His intervention and blessing. How much do we lack because we don’t ask?
James writes that when we ‘ask God’ we turn our attention and our affection away from the world and towards God. That friendship with the world is actually a rejection of God’s grace, but turning to Him is acknowledging that He alone is our hope and our peace.
He also quotes Proverbs 3:34 ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble’. What a challenging verse this is, spoken to our own Church a few years ago by the then Bishop of Aston, Andrew Watson. Do we live with a misguided sense of confidence in our own ability to fix things? If not by our intelligence, or network of friends, or sheer determination then at least we have the financial wherewithal to overcome problems. But ‘asking God’ requires us to humble ourselves and reminds us that we absolutely need Him to step in. That we are unable to do anything good of lasting value and that we are completely dependant on His grace and mercy revealed to us in His Son, Jesus.
It was good to pray this morning, because, as well as a sense of ‘God with us’, we were also celebrating answered prayer. We have been praying for some time now for His kingdom, rule and reign to increase in and through the ministry and life of this Church. And there are so many stories flying around at the moment of people drawing close to God. We had our carol services on Sunday and we praise God for the many people who were invited and came to hear a message of hope: that there is a God who loves the world so much that He sent His Son so that whoever believes in Him would not perish but have eternal life. What great news and what an answer to prayer as hundreds came together to worship Him!
As we begin to say goodbye to 2018 and look ahead to a new year, can I challenge you to review your own prayer life? Maybe your small group has run the prayer course and you are now in a place to encourage each other to pray more regularly, more boldly.
Every Wednesday we meet to pray: 19.30 - 21.00 on the first Wednesday for Sanctuary and 07.00 - 08.00 for the rest of the month as we pray for God’s Kingdom to increase. Why not join us and be encouraged in prayer – come on your own or, better still, come as a small group. And ‘ask God’ for He is much more ready to listen to us than we are to pray to Him. What might He do if we asked?
January dates are slightly different to normal routine:
9 Jan | Sanctuary | 19.30 - 21.00
16 Jan | Early Morning Prayer | 07.00 - 08.00