Prayer and Providence

 

          Prayer – the very word itself sometimes evokes feelings of guilt that we don’t do it more.  The core and essence of church leadership is prayer and the ministry of the word (Acts 6:4).  Yet, prayer is often not at the center of ministry, being pushed to the margins by the rigors and demands of administrative tasks, meetings, and people problems.  We desire to pray, but don’t pray enough or as much as we want. Sometimes the issue is not that we don’t pray; the problem is that we don’t persevere in prayer. Instead of taking the legalistic route of exhorting you that you should stop being so lazy and get on your knees (not very inspiring, is it?), let’s consider God for a moment.

Our Triune God is the Creator of the universe. Everything is his, and he is sovereign over all. His relationship to his creatures is what we call “providence.” God’s providence means that he is intimately involved in the world he has made. The Lord sustains and governs all creation. We, as the apex of his creation, are totally and completely dependent upon him. All creation was pronounced “good” because it came from God, who himself is good. Events, then, that happen in God’s world are neither random and by chance, nor deterministic and by fate.

The providence of God is working to fulfill his good plans in the world. God is, therefore, concerned to use human prayers to accomplish that plan so that intercession is integral to God’s design, and not in contradiction to it. God is present and active in human lives. Question and answer 28 of the Heidelberg Catechism states, “How does the knowledge of God’s creation and providence help us? We can be patient when things go against us, thankful when things go well, and for the future we can have good confidence in our faithful God and Father that nothing will separate us from his love. All creatures are so completely in his hand that without his will they can neither move nor be moved.”

Want to pray? Think about God, and be inspired to pray because of our great dependence upon him for everything, and since everything God does is good. Please join with me in prayer that God would save a whole bunch of people, and bring them into the life of the church. Even so, come Lord Jesus.

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