28 Oct, 2012 Prayer and great works
Introduction to our current need for faith and prayer
We are at an exciting stage in the Hope Project, because momentum is decidedly growing, but communications are still insufficient to raise financial needs by natural means (in the sense of information being sufficiently out there to inspire hearts, thus releasing the hands of those who share the vision to give…).
While national Church leaders, and a growing number of pastors, know about the project, it will not be until the first half of next year that many Church members become aware of the project – and may be many more months before they are excited about it. Because national projects are expensive to run – and multi-media projects also – we are in the territory of faith!
Introducing a great author on prayer
Apart from a few isolated chapters on prayer by various authors, E.M Bounds is by far my favourite author on prayer. Seven books are printed of his writings on prayer – only one of which was printed during his lifetime. His reflections are profound in their simplicity, and scripturally based (even though he does not write where the scriptures he refers to come from, assuming their knowledge).
Here are two important points that are good reminders to myself and our team, who are working on this project.
1. Prayer – not neglecting to ask
Jesus said, ‘What things so-ever you desire when you pray, if you believe you have received them you shall have them.”
While the primary lesson is on prayer itself, Bounds points out something simple – yet that many of us might neglect. The things believed for – and which are received through faith – need to be prayed!
“Just so far as the faith and the asking is definite, so also will the answer be.”
– I.e. we need to ask. God does not answer or provide that for which we have not asked.
“…The giving is not to be something other than the things prayed for, but the actual things sought and named. “He shall have whatsoever he saith.””
“…If the order on God be made clear, specific and definite, God will fill it, exactly in accordance with the presented terms.”
Our desire is to communicate the hope-filled gospel message about Jesus with every home in our nation (although gently and respectfully). [ see www.hopeproject.co.nz ]. There are many obstacles in our way. While our team has no ‘B’ plan, it is not a fore-gone conclusion that this project will be accomplished.
Do you want to see this project go ahead?
If you do, please remember to pray – because some things do depend upon us. God does not answer prayers that we fail to pray!
“Present your request to God!”
2. Prayer – an expression and partner of trust
At these early stages in the faith-challenge of this project, I’m still discovering where our various team members are at with regard to persevering with faith in difficult ventures, and in the midst of trying circumstances.
For them and ourselves the challenge is to trust God, and even when it might look like we are being hung out to dry. But how do you trust God when circumstances seem truly against you? It’s easy to say when things are just difficult – but what about when they are desperate, and then beyond ‘desperate’? I love how E.M. Bounds describes trust:
“Trust is altogether too splendidly simple for verbal definition. Too hearty and spontaneous for theological terminology. The very simplicity of trust is that which staggers many people. They look away for some great thing to come to pass, while all the time “the word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart.”
Prayer and peace are simple things. Profoundly difficult to ‘attain’ sometimes – but profoundly simple none-the-less!
We are called to trust God – despite anything and everything that might cause us to doubt God. Prayer is then the expression of that trust – putting things before God, at which point we find assurance and peace.
“When trust is perfect and without doubt, prayer is simply the outstretched hand, ready to receive.
Trust perfected, is prayer perfected.”