I promise my kids things all the time. Most of the time I follow through on those promises. One time I told my oldest son I would take him to a Nets basketball game in Brooklyn before the end of the year. I had intended to bring him, but I didn’t realize that the last two weeks of the season were all road-games. You wouldn’t believe the tears he cried when I told him I wouldn’t be able to take him until the following year!
God promises things too. But He’s not like me…He ALWAYS fulfills them. He makes lots of unblushing promises in the Bible - promises of hope, of restoration, of healing and more. One of the things He promises is His presence. That He is not just a God that is up in heaven but that, in a beautiful and surprising way, He promises to be with us. Not just God for us (as great as that is!) but also God with us.
Jesus said it this way, “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me…and I will be with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matt 28:18-20). He also said, “When two or three are gathered in my name, there I will be among them.” (Matt 18:20)
Think about that for a minute.
The eternal God, who is not bound by time and space, promises to meet with us in time and space as we gather seeking his heart. What an invitation.
Twisting God’s arm?
When we pray, we are not trying to twist God’s arm to get him to do what we want, but we are laying hold of the promises He has so generously given us. We are asking Him to fulfill all that he has promised. Jesus said, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.” (John 15:16-17) What does that mean? It means that God has actually chosen us and appointed us to ask Him for things. As Terry Virgo says, we are “God-appointed askers.”
We aren’t twisting his arm but responding to his loving invitation to relationship. Relationship is the key in prayer. We aren’t just praying to “get stuff” but drawing near to a loving God that loves to make himself known by answering prayer. When we pray, we aren’t trying to change God’s heart but allowing Him to change our heart to look more like his: full of love and power.
What are we praying?
These promises from Jesus are the reason we are setting aside this next season as a community to spend lots of time in prayer. When we pray, things happen! There are all kinds of examples in the bible where God shows that He responds when His people pray (like 1 Kings 17:21-22, Acts 4:29, or Acts 12:5-10 for example). We really do want to see things change here - injustice to end, brokenness to be healed, hope to be restored for those that have given up and for God to welcome grateful hearts into his family.
Jesus talked a lot about the Kingdom of God, where God’s loving rule and reign are experienced. In the Kingdom there is wholeness, not brokenness; love, not fear; faith, not cynicism. Jesus said that we should pray “Let your Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven.” So that’s just what we are doing - praying for God’s gracious rule to awaken hearts and bring peace and wholeness to our neighbors and neighborhood. Fill out our contact form to stay in touch about the location of our 8pm Sunday night prayer meeting.