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Pastor’s Letter, January, 2020« Back to Letters
Happy and blessed New Year to you! On the last Sunday of December I preached a message posing a great question that I want you to give prayerful consideration to: what do you want Jesus to do for you? God definitely wants us to present our requests to Him, but we shouldn’t approach God like a slot machine we’re to hit the jackpot from. Jesus really does want us to give Him an answer to this question, but we mustn’t view Him as “Genie-in-a-bottle” who exists to grant our every wish. God loves us more than we will ever comprehend, but we must not approach Him as our servant whom we boss around and expect to comply with our orders and commands. God wants us to make our needs and petitions known to Him; He wants us to ask–but, we must always make sure that we ask rightly. Have you ever prayed for something foolish? Can we admit that sometimes we don’t pray for the right things? Aren’t you glad that God hasn’t answered all of your prayers the way you wanted Him to answer them?
How can we make sure that the things we ask Jesus to do for us are “grantable?” Here’s four Scriptural truths to guide us. First of all, believe that you will receive the things you ask for in prayer (see Matthew 21:22, Mark 11:24, John 14:12). When you pray, have faith in God, believe in Jesus, do not doubt in your heart. Second, ask in Jesus’ name (see John 14;13-14; 15;16; 16:23-24). Jesus’ name is the most exalted and powerful name of all! But it’s not to be used like a magical incantation to give you everything you want. To pray in Jesus’ name is to pray for the things that Jesus would pray for. To pray in Jesus’ name is to pray for things that will glorify the Father and the Son. Third, present your prayer requests to God in the context of a growing, personal relationship with Him (see John 15:7, 16; 1 John 3:22, 5:14-15) Yes, we can call to the Lord at any time; but prayer works best when we are abiding in Jesus and His words are abiding in us. We need to abide in His Word, because the Word of God reveals His will, like nothing else. If we ask for things that are in His will, our requests are “grantable.” Fourth, don’t ask amiss (see James 4:2-3). Make sure you’re not asking for something for the wrong reason, or with a selfish motive, or for something that will only give you pleasure. What do you want Him to do for you?