Keep on asking!

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Luke 11:9-10
“So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.  For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened .
I remember back when I was a little girl growing up in a Chicago suburb called Des Plaines…I’d visit an outdoor mall called Golf Mill. The mall got its name because it was located on Golf road and it had pond with a  large water mill in it. I would lean over the rail, look down into the water, watch the beautiful giant goldfish swimming around, and throw in 1 penny and make a wish. Sometimes the wish would be for a new toy, maybe a doll or a book. Sometimes I’d throw in the penny and ask for something more substantial. Like, “God, please heal my dog who got hit by a car, or God, please don’t let my parents get divorced.  Even though I never went to church as a child, I would still address my penny wishes to God. I would ask God to supply my wants and needs. As a small child, my relationship with God, my prayer life primarily consisted of asking for wants and needs, and I never hesitated to ask.

As I got older however my relationship with God grew deeper, I began to express my gratitude for God’s goodness, giving God thanks. “Thank you God, for my good health.  Thank you for keeping my family safe. Thank you, God for food and drink. Thank you for the opportunity to travel to wonderful places. Thank you for your creation and thank you for the awe of the universe, the stars and the planets, the wildflowers that pop up in the cracked sidewalks of the slums, signs of beauty and new life.”
Then there came a point in life where God seemed to be nowhere, far away, silent, unresponsive. I was searching for answers and receiving none. “Why did my younger sister get breast cancer?”  Silence. “Why did you let my parent’s get divorced?”  Silence.  The search for answers led to more questions.
So what about the Silence? What do we do when God seems far away? If I were to be real honest, what do I do when God isn’t answering the prayers the way I would suggest that they’d be answered?
Jesus addresses this topic as well.  He tells us to keep on asking, to be persistent.  This quote from Douglas John Hall, also speaks to not giving up on prayer, “Real prayer cannot be faked…Its only prerequisites are sufficient self knowledge to recognize the depths of our need and enough humility to ask for help.  Ask! Really ask! Keep on asking! And it will be give you….and is being given you already in the asking.”

Rev. Nancy Pauls

Pastor of Prayer

Not the Genie in the bottle…

Jennifer's posts No Comments »

In Aladdin, the Genie sings “You’ve Never Had a Friend Like Me.”  He promises, in the many voices of Robin Williams,

I’m here to answer all your midday prayers
You got me bona fide, certified
You got a genie for your charge d’affaires
I got a powerful urge to help you out
So what-cha wish? I really wanna know
You got a list that’s three miles long, no doubt
Well, all you gotta do is rub like so – and oh

Don’t we sometimes treat our prayers like this? We go to God expecting the Genie to come out of the bottle and grant our wishes. But God is not the Genie in the bottle, and for that we should be grateful. Sometimes our prayers are asking for God to help us clean up the mess we’ve made trying to run our lives without God, who created us and knows more about us than we know ourselves.

Richard Foster wrote, “Prayer frees us to be controlled by God…In prayer, real prayer, we begin to think God’s thoughts after Him: to desire the things He desires, to love the things He loves, to will the things He wills.” God, who is greater than any magic Genie, gave us the gift of prayer because it can change us and bring us closer to the mind of God. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t bring our hopes and dreams to God, or our fears and troubles. It does mean we can be blessed as we trust that God only wants good things for us, even at times when we aren’t yet able to fully understand what those good things are, or why they’re better than the things we think we want.

In the Lord’s Prayer Jesus taught us to pray “Thy will be done.” He prayed that prayer himself at one of the darkest, hardest, scariest times anyone has ever had to face. As we pray that prayer in worship, and every day this week, we can trust that God, who is wiser than we are and sees much farther than we can see, will be working in our lives to direct us to what is best. Now that’s a Friend who is really worth having!
–Jennifer Creagar, Resurrection Prayer Ministries

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