Read: James 5
Prayer is necessary, states the Catechism, because it is the chief part of thankfulness and also, because God gives His grace and Holy Spirit to those only who ask them of Him and are thankful for what they receive.
There is nothing more satisfying to our God than that we pray to Him. The Catechism does not state that prayer is the only way of thankfulness, but it is the chief part of thankfulness. It is the fruit and evidence of the work of God in saving His people. So: how do we pray? How often do we pray? This would give us some idea of how thankful we truly are for our salvation.
Secondly, God gives His grace and Spirit only to those who sincerely ask them of Him.
Many consider prayer as some sort of emergency tool (e.g. "break in case of fire"). When one faces sudden and devastating trials, then one will earnestly pray to God. Those on an airplane apparently ready to crash, are later reported to be "all praying". Others regard "prayer" as a way to express themselves forcibly (e.g. "Oh, my God!) Some find it necessary to request hundreds of others to pray for them--as though God will be swayed by numbers. Others believe that if they pray to God for anything, God must surely give that for which they ask.
The Christian prays for such things as God teaches him to ask of Him. He is not as a little child who is convinced that if he asks God for a bike, God must give it to him. Jesus taught us to ask for those things necessary for body and soul.
Why should God require that His people ask of Him anything? In His providence, has He not eternally determined everything we would receive? He has. However, God has also determined that we would receive these things in the way of asking Him for them. God rejoices in our petitions to Him. He teaches us important truths. We learn thereby that we are unable to provide for ourselves. We learn that we do not earn anything of Him. We learn that God gives graciously and freely. We learn that He often gives more than we could ever think or ask. We learn that His grace to us is only because of what Christ has done on the cross.
Then our hearts overflow with thankfulness to God. Think: the infinite, eternal and almighty God condescends to do these for creatures who are less than specks of dust before the Almighty.
Do you desire these of Him? Do you ask in sincerity? Are you thankful for what He provides? If so, you begin to have a proper understanding of prayer.
- Date: 6-November
Rev. G. Van Baren (Wife: Clara)
Ordained: October, 1956
Pastorates: Doon, IA - 1956; Randolph, WI - 1962; First, Grand Rapids, MI - 1965; Hudsonville, MI - 1977; Loveland, CO - 1994
Emeritus: 1999Website: www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?speakeronly=true&currsection=sermonsspeaker&keyword=Rev._Gise_Van_Baren
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