When he was elected President in 1960, John F. Kennedy was 43 years old. He had two toddlers at the time, and the media loved showing the Leader of the Free World in the Oval Office with his children scampering about. He may have had a Secret Service detail protecting him and a secretary scheduling his every appointment, but his children had priority access to their father.
I’m sure there were times when the children were told not to interrupt Daddy because he was very busy.
But the Apostle John tells us that as God’s beloved children, we have a Father who is always accessible, never too busy for us. Because He is God, He doesn’t have to stop what He’s doing to give us His full attention. He can run the universe and be fully engaged with whatever burden or issue we’re bringing to Him.
As His children, the Bible says in vs. 1 John 5:14, “this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.”
Now there are caveats to God hearing and answering our prayers. Back in 1 John 3, the Bible says “whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.”
In other words, we can’t simply live a life rejecting God and His commandments and then turn around and expect that He will hear or respond favorably toward our prayers.
1 John 5, the caveat is this: “If we ask anything according to His will.”
And I know that can feel like a copy out. Like someone saying to you “You can ask me for anything and I’ll give it to you – as long as I’m okay with it.”
What kind of promise is that?
Those caveats have led some people to reject prayer altogether. They think to themselves “It doesn’t make any sense to pray. God’s gonna do what God’s gonna do. He’s all knowing, all powerful, all wise, all loving. He’ll do what’s best. Our prayers will just mess things up.”
Ever felt like that? Has that ever kept you from praying?
It’s true that God is gonna do what God’s gonna do. He is all knowing, all powerful, all wise, all loving.
But our all-knowing, all powerful, all wise and all loving God has ordained not only that His purposes will come to pass, but also the means by which those purposes will come to pass. In His wisdom, He has ordained prayer as the means by which He accomplishes His purposes.
The Bible teaches us that in ways we don’t understand, our prayers affect God’s plans.
All of us who are in relationship with God are told to bring our desires and requests to Him, to be in fellowship with Him, and to be communing and communicating with Him. He responds to our prayers and carries out His purposes by way of those ordinary means.
If we are wicked and disobedient and don’t pray, God’s will is not thwarted. He will use extra-ordinary means to accomplish His purposes. But He has set up the Kingdom to work with our active engagement and involvement and our participation in prayer.
Have you ever thought about the fact that when you fail to pray, you are being wicked and disobedient? That you are ignoring or rejecting God? That you are saying “I don’t need you and I don’t want to be with you and I want what I want and I don’t care what you want?”
How’s that sound when I say it that way?
Now let’s be honest. I’ve never met anyone who has said to me “of all the spiritual disciplines, the one I just don’t struggle with at all is prayer.”
This is an area where all of us are aware of neglect. For many of us, prayer is an afterthought, not a first thought. It’s a last resort, not the first thing we set our minds on.
And God is gracious with us as we grow here.
But when we begin to understand that God when we pray, God here us and is moved by our prayers to bring change, we will start to pray more.
Remember, you have access. What a privilege. And you have a loving heavenly Father who invites you to make your requests known to Him.
Who knows what spiritual door may open up today because you took the time to pray and ask God to open that door.
There’s an event for couples happening here in Central Arkansas that I wanted you guys to know about. Something happening on Friday, October 13 that I think you should consider attending.
As most of you know, I spend 29 years working with FamilyLife. Building stronger marriages and families is something I’m passionate about. I think so much of the decline and decay of culture that we see happening in our world can be traced back to the breakdown of marriages and families. I agree whole heartedly with former Education Secretary Bill Bennett who said “There are few matters of more profound public consequences than the condition of marriage and families. Most of our social pathologies – crime, imprisonment rates, welfare, educational underachievement, alcohol and drug abuse, suicide, depression, sexually transmitted diseases – are manifestations, direct and indirect, of the crack-up of the modern American family.”
At the center of a healthy family is a strong marriage. And a strong marriage requires regular preventive maintenance.
Which leads me to the opportunity you have as a couple to strengthen your marriage.
The Central Arkansas Marriage Initiative (CAMI) has a dessert and date night event planned for couples on Friday night, October 13 at 7:00 pm. Ted Lowe, who I met years ago, will be doing what amounts to an evening of stand-up comedy about marriage. It’s essentially a date night with a purpose. A marriage vitamin packaged as a date night gummy (that’s how I take all my vitamins!).
Here’s my suggestion. Think about a couple you’d like to have a double date with. Either someone from church or maybe someone you’ve thought about inviting to church. Call them and see if they want to attend this upcoming date night event with you. Of course you can go on your own, just the two of you. But why not team up for this!
Invest in your marriage. Here’s the info. Scan the QR code to reserve your spot.
If you are interested in being baptized, we need to hear from you today. This week.
On Sunday, October 15, as part of our worship service, we’ll be celebrating the baptism of people in our church, and hearing stories of redemption and new life.
There’s still time for you to be included. If you’ve never been baptized since you surrendered your life to Jesus, I’d love to talk with you about you taking this important step of faith and obedience.
Baptism is an outward declaration of an inward transformation. In our step of obedience, God confers grace. It serves as a sign and seal of His covenant relationship with His children. You can read more about the importance and significance of baptism by clicking here.
And keep in mind, we celebrate baptisms at Redeemer with a party. We’ll be hosting a potluck Chili Supper after the baptisms are done.
It’s going to be a great morning together!
The next Roots Game Night happens this Friday!
NxtGen is Nxt Tuesday! The conversation around The Universe Next Door continues!
It’s here. This Friday is the deadline to register for the Fall Women’s Retreat. If you’re planning to go, sign up right now!
It’s a great opportunity for you to get to know and connect with other women from Redeemer while you spend time together in God’s word.
Every October, we reach out to our neighbors along David O Dodd by inviting them to our Trunk or Treat event. This year, that event will happen on Saturday night, October 28.
We’d love to have you host one of the trunks. Interested? Let Jen Gurney known.
And we’d love to have you help provide some of the candy we’ll give away. Here’s in info:
As we continue to study Jude and see the warnings to watch out for false teachers, Jude presents us with two instances of God bringing judgment on people who reject His good design related to our gender and human sexuality. This Sunday, we’ll see how false teaching in these areas can destroy lives and churches, and why this issue may be the biggest challenge we’re facing in our day as we seek to defend the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3).
See you in church.
Soli Deo Gloria!
PS. Last Sunday, we learned a new hymn called I Am Not My Own from hymnwriter Skye Peterson. Here again is the link so you can continue to learn and sing along this Sunday!