Growing up, Mom kept the refrigerator and the pantry well-stocked, but none of it was for me. Unless. All the nutritional bounty could be mine, but only if I either accepted what Mom cooked, or if I asked specifically for something. Most of the time when I asked, the answer was to go ahead. Now and again, there were occasions when Mom would tell me that I could not eat something because she was saving it for something she was planning to make. I learned early in life that what my mother could do with the raw materials of food exceeded anything I would ever do with it, so on most occasions I was happy to wait for the better meal. The whole of my childhood’s culinary needs were subsumed under the headings of receiving freely with gratitude or asking politely before taking. And occasionally I could even ask for special foods to be made. I never doubted Mom’s power to deliver. This simple observation is instructive regarding a life of prayer.

In the month of September, I attended two community prayer events. One was held at the Fairgrounds and a goodly number of people from various churches gathered to pray for our nation, for schools, for churches, and other things. It was a powerful gathering. The other event was one led by students at the local high school. It was an event called, “See You at the Pole.” Students gathered to pray for their schools, their teachers, school staff, fellow students, and other matters. It was glorious to behold around two dozen students interceding. We need more of such ventures.

What a lot of believers fail to understand is that there are things God has decided that will only happen in response to believing prayer. For instance, God won’t save someone from his/her sins unless they pray and ask God to do so. In like manner, Jesus has given believers authority to declare the gospel and make disciples. He has instructed us that we are to pray, asking for what we need in His name. Have you ever considered what didn’t come to pass because we failed to petition God for it?

I’ve been preaching a series at Amazing Grace Church of Imlay City called, “Teach Me to Pray, Lord.” As I’ve been preparing sermons and learning much more about prayer, I’ve learned that one of the things we should pray is to ask God what He wants us to pray for. Our God is the One for Whom nothing shall be impossible. He has the whole of Heaven stocked with His grace, favor, love, mercy, help, strength, goodness and glory. The very power of God is our pantry. Some things we need to wait upon the Lord for and then receive the perfected works of God with joy and gladness. Other things are there for whichever of us is willing to ask God for them. And just like Mom, God will not reward selfishness, and He may tell us no, but that’s because the whole of God’s goodness is preparing a heavenly repast which will be better than anything we could make.

As James 4:2 tells us, we lack things we need or could have because we either don’t ask God, or we ask selfishly, wrongly, unlovingly. I want to encourage you, dear friend, ask the Lord to teach you to pray. Seek to die to selfishness and pray for your needs and the needs of others. Let us be found praying the kind of prayers that seek God’s kingdom every day, not just when special community gatherings happen. As Jesus said in Luke 12:32, “Fear not little flock, it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom of Heaven.” Prayer is the key.

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