• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

What do we do with Jesus’ Extravagant Promises about Prayer?

Thanks to Jacob for this week’s post on A Praying Life:

Miller gives us quite a reasonable question in the very title of this chapter (chapter 15). What, indeed, do we do with Jesus’ extravagant promises about prayer? Do we explain it away, making it either conditional or restricting it to the realm of “spiritual” things? Do we give it lip service in our meetings, using it to rally people with emotion at public gatherings, while quietly wishing it were true in the daily practice of our lives? Or have we grown cynical, considering these “promises” as too good to be true?

Recently, in a conversation with a fellow World Teamer, I confessed one of my struggles in life. I said, and almost in so many words, “It seems to me that God does not want me to succeed.” The response came wisely. “So, Jeremiah 29.11 applies to all others but not to you?” Good answer!!!

“Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son… If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” (John 14.13-14) Jesus really does make extravagant promises!

During the past week, members of the WT Europe Region gathered to consider the World Team mobilization crunch. We were challenged! And we came away from the workshop with a new word – “crisitunity.” Susan Best sees this current crisis as an opportunity!

Susan did a great job of delivering the sobering news, along with the challenge for the future, in a context soaked in prayer. Throughout the week we heard, prayed, and repeated again, the phrase, “Lord of the harvest, please send more workers into your harvest fields!”

We can ask this prayer boldly. Why? Jesus said we should! And so, as we ask it in Jesus’ name, we can do with confidence. As Miller says, “Asking in Jesus’ name isn’t another thing I have to get right so my prayers are perfect. It is one more gift of God because my prayers are so imperfect.” Wow, I don’t know what that statement does for you, but it gives me breathing room. It gives me hope that I, struggling as I am with the cynicism that threatens to strangle me at times, can pray, “Lord of the harvest, please send more workers to World Team.”

So, our very “work for God” can turn us to relate to God. After all, Miller reminds us, our asking is relating. We, like little children, come to our good Father and ask; “Please daddy, I would really like that.” We are called to be real before a real God. We are called to be bold before our Father. Yes, we are called to surrender to His will: even when we don’t understand it. But that’s no excuse to stop asking. We can ask! It would seem from the examples given that God does not mind being pestered by our requests! He is not niggardly with his gifts. He delights in giving us good things!

What surprises me in all this is Miller’s conviction that “the praying life is the abiding life.” He says, “One of the best ways to learn how to abide is to ask anything.”

So, really, what are we going to ask for? What is it that we really want? What do YOU want?  What does GOD want?

3 Responses

  1. Thanks Jacob for wrestling with this thought and taking us deeper into our own heart’s issues and hindrances. The last statement about abiding in regards to prayer is so crucial becuase it is there that we “take on” God’s heart. We begin to understand God’s heart when we come to Him weak and vulnerable in prayer. When Jesus prayed for more workers, Jesus was also “moved with compassion” as He looked out into the crowds and saw that people were hurting and helpless. I wonder if Jesus ever struggled with being overwhelmed with the needs around Him and, at times, just felt like giving up. Let us all enter into these overwhelming circumstances knowing it is okay to feel desperate as long as it drives us to our knees.

    • Thanks for adding on to Jacob’s post with this comment. What did you think of Miller’s chapter on Extravagant Praying?

      • Unfortunately I was unable to obtain the book before everyone started and I am really sorry for this, especially after reading many of the comments and challenges. Thanks for sharing some of the insights from this author and allowing us as a WT family experience this online.

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