Faith “prays it forward”

Terry Rush’s recent blog post, Pray it forward, hit the mark.

He said that he’d often prayed and thanked God, in advance, for his children’s future. He thanked God several years in advance for their successful job interviews, and for keeping them from taking jobs that would harm them or diminish the kingdom of God.

What a powerful principle! And you find it sprinkled throughout the Bible.

When King David found out that God had plans to build a dynasty for David and his descendants, he thanked Him by saying, “Who am I, O Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?… For the sake of your word and according to your will, you have done this great thing and made it known to your servant.” (2 Samuel 7:18-21 NIV).

Notice he said, “you have done this great thing”. Actually, God hadn’t done it yet. It was still in the future, yet David considers it already accomplished. Why? Because it was “for the sake of your word” – when God says it, it’s already done!

Only faith motivates one to speak as David did (and to pray as he did). Faith comes by hearing, and faith also has a voice to speak what it hears – “‘I believed; therefore, I have spoken.’ And with that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak…” (2 Corinthians 4:13 NIV).

Like David, mature people of prayer know this principle. They know how to “pray it forward”. They’ve learned how to pray (and speak) as if the future is already here.

Jesus highlighted the principle when he said, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:24 NIV).

To believe, or not to believe

One thing you can say about this brave new world… everyone seems to be struggling to find some faith.

We hunger for hope. I’m sure you noticed the theme of President Obama’s campaign. Agree with him or not, he touched a nerve and got elected.

People seem to be growing sicker of the strife, bickering, pessimism and hopelessness we’ve produced as a by-product of our secularized lives. We all crave to believe in something… something greater than ourselves, bigger than life, something that will bring inner peace and contentment.

Many are afraid no such thing exists. Thus the angst of this present culture reflected in the post modern morass of pointless (even by design) TV shows, cynical comedy, crooked leaders and the tendency to put thugs and gangsters on a golden pedestal. The earth seems to be spinning in the wrong direction; we call evil “good” and label good “evil” (or at least not very cool).

We can’t even watch the Super Bowl without some manufactured “wardrobe malfunction” popping up just to make the point that the barbarians rule now and civilization has left the building.

Scientists, intellectuals, philosophers, mythologists, celebrities and even some clergy try to convince us that it doesn’t matter, that nothing really has meaning, that nothing exists outside this natural world anyway. But how would they know? They’ve never been there.

They’re like a school of fish trying to comprehend New York City. They have no frame of reference for it. Likewise, the un-spiritual man has no way to truly evaluate the spiritual, trans-natural world.

That’s because it comes through revelation, not information.

And that’s why prayer is so vital; revelation comes only after seeking and asking. Prayer opens the door to relationship with God.

So, to find a solid footing for your faith, put yourself in a subordinate position to God and ask. Then something remarkable happens. A whole new person is born inside you.

Jesus said, “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.'” (John 3:6-7 NIV)

Keith Roberts

What disasters grow from prayerlessness?

I heard a man say, “There are no accidents; just premeditated carelessness.”

Makes sense to me. And it makes me wonder if the same holds true for disasters. It seems that most disasters in this world grow to maturity slowly, although they hit with shocking speed.

That’s true of volcanic eruptions. And of cancer. And maybe even of attacks like Pearl Harbor and 9/11. Disasters take years to ferment and grow. If we could just learn to kill the thing in its growing stage…

Did you know that there were at least ten disasters in the Bible that grew directly out of the prayerlessness of God’s people? You can look them up.

1. Israel under Joshua’s leadership made an unauthorized treaty with the Gibeonite tribe because they didn’t pray about the decision. And it came back to haunt them, causing war and plague for several generations. (Joshua 9:1-14).

2. Israel abandoned their prayer life and asked for a king (instead of Jehovah) to rule over them. Samuel warned them of their downfall, calling prayerlessness a “sin”. (1 Samuel 12:6-23).

3. King Ahaziah died because he consulted an idol but refused to pray to his own God – Jehovah. (2 Kings 1:1-17).

4. King Saul lost his kingdom and then his own life due to prayerlessness. (1 Chronicles 10:13-14 & 13:3).

5. Uzzah fell dead and the Ark of God wasn’t moved for three months due to prayerlessness. King David later admitted that they hadn’t prayed about how they should move the Ark. (1 Chronicles 13:9-14 & 15:13).

6. King Asa’s reign failed and he died in pain because he refused to pray. (2 Chronicles 16:7-12).

7. Jerusalem fell to Babylon and the people were taken captive because God couldn’t find enough intercessors to pray for the city. (Ezekiel 22:30-31).

8. Jesus’ disciples failed to cast out a demon because their prayer lives weren’t up to the challenge from Satan. (Mark 9:28-29).

9. Jesus’ disciples denied him and scattered because they failed to pray in the Garden. (Mark 14:37-38, 50).

10. Jesus condemned the church at Laodicea for their prayerlessness. They said, “I am rich… and do not need a thing”. (Revelation 3:14-22).

It makes me wonder what good things I’m missing by neglecting prayer… and what disaster might be headed my way for the same reason.