Whatsoever You Ask -- Part 12 of The Twelve-Step Program to American Recovery

During this series we explored many ways we can each pitch in and help save this country we love from the looming darkness.  We talked about standing guard over our language and the 1984 changes being imposed on it. We discussed bridging the education gap left by our deteriorating public schools. We looked at necessary attitude changes – not expecting the government to play God’s role in our lives; we spent several posts on that issue. Last week we explored the need to think logically.

These are all things we can do ourselves; we don’t need to trick someone else into voting like we do. We don’t have to get into screaming arguments. We don’t need to walk around carrying posters – though I’ve done that and it’s fun. You see, a nation gets the government – and the prosperity – it deserves. If each of us becomes the person God designed him to be then our nation will continue to serve Him and reap the unimaginable rewards.

This week is the final post of the series and I’ve left the most important one for last --- prayer.

 Whatsoever You Ask       

It’s always been time to get down on our knees – this is true. Our nation has seen much more dangerous periods; I can’t imagine what it must have been like during World War II when we first realized that the bad guys were after us, too; or coping with the Civil War in our own back yard; or gearing up to fight the great power of George III.  But the thing that is so scary now is that the attacks are all behind the scenes, but they are life-and-death assaults nevertheless, in fact they are attacks right out of hell and we must fight them. To do that we have to pull out all the stops, recognize that we can, as mere humans, only do so much. We need God’s intervention; we have to pray.

“Com[ing] boldly before the throne of God” requires knowing 1) God, and 2) His protocols.  Prayer isn’t serendipitous. It is purposeful and must be done on His terms. After all, He is the creator of everything from the farthest star to the smallest quark. He made the northern lights and Fibonacci numbers and butterflies. He made lilacs and lightning and lightning bugs. He made us. We don’t do this flippantly. God is not the genie in the bottle. He is not our fairy godmother. He is God Almighty and we do things His way and His way requires that we come to Him through His Son, Jesus Christ (John 14:14........ "If you ask anything in my name, I will do it."). On our own we have no standing to approach Him, but once we accept the free gift of salvation bought for us on the cross, then and only then, God sees His Son when He looks at us. Then, "...whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive," (Matthew 21:22).   

As we pray there are some things about God that we must remember in order to make our prayers effective. Let’s look at a few:

God is omniscient; He knows everything about everything, and here’s the important part – He always has. Time and space are His inventions and are not in any way limiting to Him. Prayer starts to have real power when we keep in mind that any request we make of Him was known by Him in eternity past, before time – if we can stretch our minds far enough to grasp that idea. He knew as He was flinging the stars into the darkness what our problems would be, and that we would come to Him for help, so that help is woven into the fabric of history just as surely as yesterday is. He doesn’t rescue us at the last minute like the cavalry in an old western. He’s not 911. Therefore it is never too late to pray because God’s plan already included the solution. "Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things..." (Jeremiah 33:3). Nothing is urgent with God.  
  • Nothing is impossible either. God is omnipotent as well. There is a proviso here: God will never do anything that abrogates His other attributes, so it is impossible for Him to do anything hateful, or sneaky, or unfair. That being said, and since we know we should never pray for anything outside His known will, then it is safe to say that God is infinitely able to answer our prayers. Nothing is too hard, too complicated, or too risky. It is true that our will is not always lined up with His, and that can seem like He failed us, but the reverse is true – we fail to learn enough about His will to pray wisely.
  • Part of being wise about prayer is the understanding that God is sovereign – this is His gig. He’s the boss – over everything. Even Satan can’t make a move unless God allows it, so while we pray it behooves us to remember that we are coming before a Throne – The Throne. That’s the awesome part (using the term in its original sense). The cool part is that He can call the shots in our favor – He has the authority to do that.
  • And lucky for us, He will never want to do anything unjust or evil or mean. God is perfect righteousness. Our sense of good and bad is part of our being created in His image, but that understanding has been perverted, so we don’t always align our requests with His perfection. The more we grasp His standards, the closer our prayers will be attuned to His will and the more prayer success we’ll have.
  • And even better for us, God is love. He really wants the best for us; He wants our lives to be joyful and productive. We make that hard, but He doesn’t. Yes, we all know the horror stories, the awful things that happen to people, but we don’t know is how those things brought blessing into those lives, or if those suffering folks even had a relationship with Him. God is a gentleman – if we don’t want His help, He’ll leave us alone. But if we truly do desire His assistance and we’re willing to do it His way, help will be there. "Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full,” (John 16:24).
  • The last attribute we need to look at today is God’s veracity. God is truth – in the most absolute sense of the word. So we know that the promises He has made us are good. If He says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened,” (Matthew 7:7-8; Luke 11:9-10).

This nation is in a steep decline – anyone paying attention knows that. And there are some things each us as individuals can do about it, ways we can each pick up an end of the stick, but the truth is that the situation – actually every situation – requires the guidance and assistance of God. We’re in this mess largely because we’ve wandered away from His way of doing things and we’re going to need His direct and miraculous help to find our way back.

We will each find specifics to pray for, but my take is that we go for the big things, the deep things – for awakening, for justice, for protection from the upheaval that may be necessary for awakening and justice to happen. I can’t believe that I know exactly how each policy decision needs to be made, but I can pray that our government policies line up with God’s policies. We can pray for courage, for wisdom, for opportunity to be useful in our quest to keep America in its place as the shining city on the hill. Don’t let the lights go out.

 Let us pray.