Guess who’s waiting on your prayers?


DISCLAIMER: some readers may find these thoughts irreverent and challenging. Sorry.

I want you to know I am not an irreverent person. I actually live in absolute awe of God. As the Biblical expression goes, I truly “fear God”; not a trembling, scared-of-him type fear, but a deep sense of profound reverence. The disclaimer above is needed however, because the concepts I’m about to share could make you think otherwise. I’m going to talk about prayer again.

As mentioned last week, the primary reason for praying is to invest in our two-way relationship with God. He knows what we’re going to pray before we pray it, so the essential value of prayer is not about updating him, but in nurturing the relationship. I also suggest our prayers are often essential for transporting God’s divine will from heaven to our experience here on earth.

Isn’t this a key portion of what’s become known as the “Lord’s Prayer?” When Jesus modeled prayer for his disciples, he said, “your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” That’s a comforting sentiment, but let me ask: why do we need to ask God to dispatch his will from heaven to our residence on earth? I mean, won’t God’s will occur regardless of our asking for it?

Not all the time.

We have an all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present God, and to suggest He has any need of us may seem the height of irreverence. Nonetheless, many times the Bible illustrates occasions when God’s will wouldn’t happen aside from our asking for it in prayer. Let me give you a prime example.

God’s deepest desire is for everyone, everywhere, to admit their need for forgiveness and ask Jesus for it. Jesus told us, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:37,38).

This informs us there’s a vast multitude of people ready to turn to God, so bountiful that more laborers are needed for the task. In other words, there exists such a remarkable crop of souls (harvest) ready to be combined (Clinton County Ag lingo), that we need to pray the Lord of the harvest (God) calls in extra laborers.

Question: does the ripe field belong to God? Yes. Is the harvest his? Yes. So, is it God’s will for his harvest to be harvested? Yes. And are the laborers his employees? Yes, sort of. So, then why do we need to pray God would dispatch his laborers into his harvest field? I mean, couldn’t he just assign the work and order the workers to get ‘er done? Uh, nope. It doesn’t work that way.

Our relationship with God is best described as Father to child, not overseer to hireling, or boss to subordinate. Many struggle with the concept of a loving Father though, believing God is an onerous taskmaster manipulating lives to accomplish his plans. You know, a heavenly accountant tracking debits and credits; thou-shalts and thou-shalt-nots. But we aren’t God’s employees, but kids; family. And as co-laborers with God, we function optimally when our hearts are fully engaged with him.

You see, when we ask our Heavenly Father to dispatch more laborers, we understand that means us. We’re really praying, “Pick me. Pick me.” Our agreeing with God’s will maximizes the potential for its being accomplished. And our participation won’t be perceived as an arduous burden, but an ardent blessing. Imagine if we wholeheartedly partnered with God to fulfil on earth the plans he has in heaven?

Let’s consider a scripture that specifically speaks to the critical importance of asking, James 4:2. It says: “You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.”

Did you catch that? Sometimes we do not have what we need, simply because we fail to ask God for it. That’s pretty straight forward, isn’t it? We all need to pray.

Next week we’ll talk about why God’s answers to prayer sometimes take a while to be delivered, okay?

Dave Hinman

Pastor Emeritus

Dove Church Wilmington

[email protected]

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