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A Simple Request May 20, 2010

Posted by theronwatson in Uncategorized.
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Luke 12:22-31
I really learned to pray several years after I completed seminary. I was visiting a friend of mine from seminary who was the pastor of a Baptist church in rural Mississippi. I was at church with him and his family one Sunday when he invited his then young, teenage son to close the service in prayer. I was struck by the young man’s humility and sincerity. He simply said ‘please.’ “Please God, do this. Please God, give us that.” Since then I have changed my own prayer life. I have attempted to simplify my requests and make them more specific, after all, God knows our needs already.
Why then do we pray at all? Why do we need to ask? Because, God has invited us to commune with Him and visit with Him and hear from Him. Sometimes, He wants us to feel our need before He grants it. Just like the man born blind Jesus healed at the Pool of Siloam, he was made to grope his way to the pool to wash the mud from his eyes. Sometimes, God wants us to feel our need. He knows our needs before we ask. Sometimes He wants to tell us something or reveal Himself to us.
Do you know God is there? As an Army Chaplain, I talk with many, many people about anything and everything. One night I visited with a sergeant who was in the midst of turmoil. His life was in a shambles. He was losing his family, his house, and his job. I turned it around on him and said, “fortunately God knew this and has us on orders right now. You have a job. You are making money. The National Guard is providing you a place to sleep, food, clothes… You have lots of friends around. You have a sense of purpose. This is great. Is there anything you need right now?” He decided there wasn’t, so I pressed harder. “Are you thirsty?” I asked. “I have my water container (camelback) here,” he replied. “Are you hungry?” I asked. “Yes Sir,” he said, “I am hungry.” I asked if he had eaten supper. He had. In the midst of our conversation he had told me he wanted me to pray for all the stuff he was going through to end. I told him he should pray and I would teach him how. “It’s real easy,” I said, “just talk to God like you’re talking to me. Tell Him what you need. It can be done in three simple statements. Pray with me,” I told him. “Dear God, I need a job. Please, would you help me find one.” I stopped and looked at him. When he finally looked up, there was a surprised expression on his face. “That’s it?” he said. “Yep, that’s it.” Before we parted company, I prayed a special prayer for him. I also asked that he tell me if it came true. I prayed, in the three sentence model, with the sincerity of that teenage boy that God would bless him. I prayed that God would make it so that some guys had bought pizza and wanted to share it with this sergeant. I did not expect to see him for a couple days. Instead, he was the first person I saw the next morning. He asked if I was a mind reader. Then he told me the story. “Last night when I got back to the barracks, some guys had ordered pizza and wanted to share it with me,” he said with a sort of startled look on his face. Yep, it’s just that easy.
God knows what we need and when we need it. I think He wants us to know that we need Him. How anyone gets along in this life without God is beyond me. Just like the blind man sometimes we have to feel our need. We must call on the One who can make the difference. The three statement prayer prayed with sincerity and humility is the greatest one I know. It goes like this: Dear God, I need a… Please would you help me find one, get one, have one, whatever.
The most important part of this passage is at the end, to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. All this stuff that God knows we need is secondary to our doing His will for our lives. We cannot use prayer to ask His blessings on our decisions. We cannot use this template as a magic wand to wave when we want something. We should always seek what He wants for us first. We should always seek His will first. We cannot accomplish His will without feeding our physical bodies. We cannot operate without water. We need clothes and shelter. But, do we need what we ‘think’ we need or is it just ‘want?’ There’s a big difference.
The greatest need of all is the salvation of our souls. Our greatest need is for our eternity to be prepared in heaven. Are you ready for that? Maybe you should pray about it.
Dear God, I need to be free from the guilt of my sin. Please God, would you save me.

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