Our Greatest Privilege
taken from a message given by Adrian Rogers
Be careful for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6
Do you have questions about prayer? We all have a myriad of questions and Dr. Rogers took an entire message and just answered questions on prayer. A couple of questions that were posed are addressed in this article. You may hear all the inquiries in “Questions and Answers on Prayer,” one of the messages in a new album from the messages of Adrian Rogers entitled The Privilege of Prayer: Tapping into our Greatest Unused Resource.
He began his message in saying, “prayer not only is our greatest Christian privilege but we might as well admit it, our greatest failure!”
We need to learn to pray more and we need to learn to pray better. One of the reasons we do not pray any better or any more than we do is that we have questions about prayer, and these questions cause uncertainty. And this uncertainty sometimes hinders us and causes procrastination in prayer.
One fundamental question you may have is “Why should we pray when God already knows our needs? Why should we tell God what He already knows or ask Him to do what He already wants to do?”
Jesus said, “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do; for they think they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be ye not, therefore, like unto them; for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” (Matthew 6:7-8)
We do not pray to impress God. In fact, you can’t impress God. Secondly, you don’t pray to inform God. You can’t tell God anything He doesn’t know. So if you don’t pray to impress God and don’t pray to inform God, what do you pray for? You pray to invite God. We are inviting God into our lives when we pray.
Now why do we do that? Well, first of all, there’s a fellowship factor. We are workers together with God (2 Corinthians 6:1). God gives us the joy. God gives us the privilege when we pray of administrating His kingdom, His affairs, and working together with Him. He could do it without us however we cannot do it without Him. But what a glory that God allows us the privilege of doing it with Him.
There’s also the development factor. When we pray, God is growing us. Have you ever prayed and didn’t receive and immediate answer? What did you do? You kept on praying, but not only did you keep on praying, you began to search your life and see if there is something in your heart, in your life, that is hindering God from answering your prayers? And many times there is. You grow through prayer.
And there is the dependency factor. God never wants us to live lives that are independent of Him. If God did everything for us and we never had to seek Him or pray, we would soon begin to take things for granted and we would cease to depend upon God. Prayer binds us to God. Therefore, that’s why we tell God what He already knows.
Another question we may have asked is can my prayers change the mind of God? That’sa very important question. Does prayer change the mind of God? I want to clearly say … no, it does not. You pray not to overcome God’s reluctance. You pray to lay hold of God’s will. First John chapter 5:14 says: “This is the confidence that we have in Him, if we ask Him anything according to His will, He heareth us.”
The only thing that lies outside the reach of prayer is that which lies outside the will of God. You see, God is a changeless God. You can’t change Him with your prayers and I can’t change Him with mine.
Why? I think God’s Word can explain it better than I can.
- First Samuel 15:29 ─ “And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for He is not a man, that He should repent.” That is, God would not change.
- And then in Malachi 3:6 ─ “For I am the Lord, I change not...”
- James 1:17 ─ “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, in Whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” That is, God is not light and dark. Goes does not flicker on and off. He does not change!
However, and this is important, God will do things when we pray that He will not do if we don’t pray. You see, prayer does not change God or His character, but it does effect what God does. The Bible states clearly and plainly in James 4:3, “we have not because we ask not.”
One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned about prayer is this: the prayer that gets to heaven is the prayer that starts in heaven. What we do is just close the circuit. Romans 11:36 reminds us, “For of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things.” Amen.
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