The other day I had to call the telephone company to get them to repair our line at church. The call I made was quite an ordeal. I never actually spoke to a human being. Instead, my voice was interpreted by a computer who routed me through a very elaborate schema of menus until I was finally able to schedule a service call to take place on a particular day precisely between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Here’s the thing… I had to make the call. It was necessary that I do so or we’d never have our phone service again because nobody at the company would ever know. It’s the only method of getting the repair scheduled.
Communicating with God is quite different. He’s real and personal. He’s not only ready to answer, He’s actually on the line all the time listening. Furthermore, He already knows our needs before we express them.
There is one similarity between God and the phone company though… a call is still required.
God has sovereignly decided that the means of accomplishing His will on earth will be His response to the prayers of His people. Just consider these biblical examples…
- Yes, God would spare the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, but Abraham needed to pray first. (Genesis 18:23-33)
- Yes, God would forgive Israel and relent of His anger, but Moses needed to intercede first. (Exodus 32:29-35)
- Yes, God would give His Son the earth for His inheritance, but He needed to ask first. (Psalm 2)
- Yes, Hezekiah could live fifteen more years, but prayer needed to be heard first. (Isaiah 38)
- The land can see revival, but the people need to humbly pray. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
- Daniel could hear more of God’s timeline for the future, but prayer had to move an obstructive demon. (Dan. 10:12-14)
- Jesus said you can receive and find, but you have to ask, seek, and knock. (Matthew 7:7-8)
- Satan can be prevented from destroying you, but Jesus is going to pray for you first. (Luke 22:31-32)
- Unity and power were possible for the early church, but they needed to be gathered together in one accord in prayer. (Acts 4:31-32)
- Peter could get out of jail, but prayer needed to be made. (Acts 12:5)
- James put it simply, “you have not because you ask not.” (James 4:1-3)
Prayer is necessary, not because of any weakness in God to act, but because of the strength of God’s choice of prayer as His medium of response. As one of my mentors, Grady Higgs, puts it, “Nothing heavenly happens on earth unless God’s people pray.”
In light of all of this, we should pray. We should pray specifically and faithfully for God’s will to be accomplished, knowing that God’s law of response is always in tact. Just listen to His promise, “Call unto me, and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things that you do not yet know.” (Jeremiah 33:3)
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