Note: These exhortations are based on Richard Pratt’s study entitled Pray with Your Eyes Open.
We come to our last part in our short series of exhortations on praying with our eyes open, that is praying with Biblical eyes. We have learned that we are called to pray with boldness asking God to remember His love for us, His promise to bring victory to His people and to remember His covenant faithfulness. We are to be deeply engaged with our Heavenly Father in prayer; we offer Him reasons of why He should be faithful unto us. Our Father does not promise to bring all things to pass as we desire, but He does promise to hear us and He encourages us to pursue this sacred engagement.
Secondly, we saw that the Bible calls us to pray with an attitude bathed in thanksgiving. We are called to tell our story. I remember that when we practiced praying in this manner in seminary, some students would go on for over 20 minutes. This is not something that comes naturally. We need to train ourselves to tell God our stories. There is so much to say; our own stories are to be filled with the aroma of thanksgiving.
I want to conclude briefly this morning on the necessity of prayer. We see a wonderful example of this in one of your favorite books of the Bible, I Chronicles. In chapter 29, we see David. We are all aware of the life of David; certainly not a life of perfection, but a life that pursued Holy living until the end. David ends his life with a great crescendo. In I Chronicles 29 David has just finished preparing everything for His son Solomon to build the temple of God. What is so sobering in this text is that David relies completely in God to build this temple, which is also why the New Testament places full hope and expectation in Christ to build His own church. It does not matter if this church is filled with competent people in every dimension of life. The church is not a business, but the temple of God is far beyond anyone’s ability to build and manage and make succeed.
David praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly when he said: “Everything comes from You and we have given only what comes from your hands.” David says that he did not do this! It was too much for someone like me to do.
And here is where we see the necessity of prayer: “O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep forever such purposes and thoughts in the hearts of your people, and direct their hearts toward you.”After praising God, David says “Please keep this desire growing; this devotion to perseverance.” David says God needs to give people the desire. David prays this way because he understood that despite everything that has been done, it could all go down the drain tomorrow.
Consider the faithfulness of the parents in this congregation. One of the things I have heard often in my nine months at Providence Church is that people are attracted to this congregation because of the faithfulness of parents in nurturing their children in the Lord. Our prayer is that this trend continues for the next 1,000 years here at Providence. But let us not trust our own strength; let us not trust our intellectual abilities to see faithfulness in our children and their children’s children. All of this can be lost tomorrow or in 10 years if we as parents do not rely and pray to our God that He would continue to make the hearts of our children yearn for Him from the day of birth to their day of death. Let us not sit back and rely on our prayers yesterday, rather let us pray today and tomorrow and the day after continually relying in Yahweh to maintain His promises to our children and our children’s children.
All it takes is for you and me to think that our competence can take care of our situation. Yahweh calls us to pray continually that we may persevere in godliness and faithfulness all our days. Thanks be to God.