Thursday, November 20, 2008


Our home group has been listening to Phillip Jensen's five talks on Christian Prayer. We thoroughly enjoyed listening and discussing this topic and found the talks a great encouragement to pray.

During the five talks, Dean Jensen emphasised that Christian prayer is talking to God and asking him for things. He said that we should always pray with thanksgiving, but that thanking God is not prayer, because to pray is to ask.

He repeatedly urged us to pray because God can do everything and is interested in us, in both the big things and small things of our lives.

The Lord's Prayer and other parts of the Bible show us that we should pray for things which God has promised to give, but should also share all our concerns with God, even if they are not mentioned in the Bible and are not specifically promised.

We should pray about the things God tells us he wants to do [God's aspirations] and also about our problems [our anxieties].

One of the things I pondered from listening to the talks was these words in James chapter 4:
You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
They reminded me of the short and painful time when I was a pastor. It was short and painful because some in the church decided that they needed me like a fish needs a bicycle!

Although it was pretty painful for me and my family, I guess it might have been worse for the congregation!

Once, one of the leaders of the congregation told me that he would have done all kinds of things for the church if only I'd asked. I got the feeling that he was saying that he would have done wonders, if I'd only pushed the right buttons.

I'm assuming he was saying he would have put in money for projects and maybe that he would have given assistance in getting them up and running.

Now I'm hoping that this is not what James is saying when he says
James 4:2-3 You do not have, because you do not ask.
I'm assuming he means that we ignore God and try to be self-sufficient and wonder why we fall down in a screaming heap and make such a mess of things.
I'm assuming he is not saying that God will only do things if we ask, because this has not been my experience with our generous God.
But I think he is encouraging us, as Dean Jensen was, to ask and not to be embarrassed to ask because what we ask is so trifling or such a big thing.

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