This morning marks the end of our messages in the 28 Days of Prayer campaign. I really am hoping that you have enjoyed this month. I am praying that God has challenged us all as we prayed through a few of the Psalms. It doesn’t matter if you get through all 28 this month, what matters is if you used some of your time this month to connect with God on a deeper and more intimate level.
One of the things I have been thinking about this month (but it never made it into a sermon) was whether we ask God for things we really have no right to ask? Do you think so? Along those lines, Tony Campolo tells a story.
He was a guest speaker at a mission rally, when he was asked to lead in prayer for a missionary doctor the group supported. The goal of the prayer? That God might provide the $5,000 urgently needed for the medical center the doctor ran. We can relate, right?
That sounds like a legitimate prayer request. But Tony refused. He would not lead in that prayer. Sometimes I wish I had his guts. But why did he refuse?
Tony refused to lead in that prayer because he knew his audience was made up of people who were materially prosperous. So, he said he would pray only after everyone in the room gave to the project the money they had on them that day. The audience were stunned, but when Tony started emptying his pockets they knew he was serious. After some hesitation, everyone started following suit. The prayer of request soon became a prayer of thanksgiving, for by the end of the giving they had collected $8,000, much more than was needed in the first place!
And I think Tony was correct. Why pray about something when the answer to that prayer is right there in front of you? Maybe we think it’s more spiritual to pray than to give, perhaps? Maybe we are using prayer as an announcement of a need? Maybe we think we’ve done our part if we’ve just prayed? Of course, prayer doesn’t really cost us anything, where stepping in to meet a need might cost us some money or some gasoline in the car or some time away from home.
If prayer could lead us to action, I’m all for it. But to stand up in front of a prosperous group of people and pray that a financial need be met without the challenge to join in and help meet that need…seems to beg the question.
Are we praying about things that we could be used to be the very answer to that prayer? But we either don’t think about it or we don’t want to sacrifice to bring about that answer to prayer. There is a prayer we really have no business praying.
There are many questions surrounding the idea of prayer. But I want to encourage prayer, not discourage it. I hope these days have renewed your passion to pray. That you’ve been re-energized in your walk with God. May we now, more than ever, pray without ceasing. And may that lead to wonderful testimonies of thanksgiving to God.