Asking is the most powerful thing we can do. And this post will do two things. First, explain the opening statement. Second, ask you, and encourage you, to fill the second most powerful position in the world. It matters and we all need to be reminded of that fact.
Asking: The Concept
Why do we ask? When do we ask? If there is something we cannot do, we have to ask for help. If there is something we need, we often ask for that we do not have. Think of asking your neighbor for eggs and sugar to finish a recipe or borrowing a tool you suddenly need but don’t own. Asking is a simple concept and all of us are familiar with it.
Every parent has taught the necessity of asking. The story is told of a little boy who was very frustrated with a task given to him by his Dad. He tried to complete the job but failed repeatedly. Finally, in exasperation, he went to his Dad and said he just couldn’t get the assignment done. His Dad asked if he had done everything possible to complete the task. The boy assured his Dad that he had done everything. And as wise fathers often do, he gently corrected is son with these words:
You haven’t done everything because you haven’t asked me to help.
That real-life, heart-warming example tugs at our emotions. Yet, we often fail to extend the concept into matters much more important than a child’s chores.
Asking Our Father
Now, let’s say the boy has grown to be a man who is a pastor. Can one pastor win a battle with his nation’s government? Could a preacher overcome a King, a President, or a Dictator? It’s possible and it has happened. How? By asking!
When we ask our Heavenly Father we call it prayer. And history records multiple instances of prayer being the instrument to change the course of government. I’ve shared this before, but Mary Queen of Scots said she feared the prayers of John Knox (a Reformation pastor) more than she feared all the assembled armies in the world! Why would that be?
It seems John Knox was well acquainted with the second most powerful position in the world. He occupied it on his knees. And it is apparent that Mary Queen of Scots didn’t fear John Knox personally. She did fear the One John Knox routinely asked for help! She knew her power was nothing compared to His.
Asking And Believing
Let’s go back to my Dad/Son example. Do you think that little guy believed his Dad would help if asked. Sure he did. And there is another story that helps illustrate this point. It’s about a night club and a church. I like it because it makes a point with humor. Here it is…
A new night club opened up right after a wet/dry election. To the local church congregation the club’s existence was bad enough, but the club was just down the street from the church! The parishioners prayed faithfully for the Lord to remove the night club from the community.
One evening the night club caught fire and burned to the ground. Everything was lost. The owner was distraught and decided to sue the church. Members of the church were delighted not to have the club anymore, but they were a bit insulted to be dragged into court.
At the trial the club owner’s attorney questioned church members and established they had indeed prayed (asked) for the club to be removed from the community. The church’s attorney did an overwhelming amount of research, questioning, and legwork to establish an airtight alibi for every church member on the night of the fire. According to his presentation in the court, the church could not be responsible for the fire. The arguments concluded and the judge took the case under consideration.
When the judge reached a verdict, his opening statement was telling:
I don’t know how to make sense of this case. I have a bar owner that believes in the power of prayer and a church that doesn’t!
Asking: The Specifics
Nobody is more aware than I am that this ministry is accurately described as answered prayer on parade. We move forward on the prayers of God’s people. And there are some specific things we need to be asking. But before I ask you to join us in asking our Father for specific things, we should address the how of asking.
Please remember our Father knows our needs before we ask. So when we think about how we ask, we are looking at our motives and/or attitudes. That’s the message in Jesus’ Sermon On The Mount concerning our prayers as well as our giving. Again, I am going to rely on some great examples to illustrate this point.
Why not just make a prayer list? Because the heart of the asker is more important than the request. See the examples below:
Prayer Of John Wesley…
I am no longer my own, but Yours. Put me to what You will, place me with whom You will.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering. Let me be put to work for You or set aside for You,
Praised for You or criticized for You.
Let me be full, let me be empty. Let me have all things,
Let me have nothing. I freely and fully surrender all things to Your glory and service.
And now, O wonderful and holy God, Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer, You are mine,
and I am Yours. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
Let it also be made in heaven. Amen. [edited]
Prayer Of Martin Luther…
Behold, Lord, an empty vessel that needs to be filled. My Lord, fill it. I am weak in faith; Lord strengthen me.
I am cold in love; warm me and make me fervent that my love may go out to my neighbor.
I do not have a strong and firm faith; At times I doubt and am unable to trust You altogether. O Lord, help me. Strengthen my faith and trust in You.
In You I have sealed the treasures of all I have. I am poor; You are rich and You came to be merciful to the poor.
I am a sinner; You are upright. With me there is an abundance of sin; in You is the fullness of righteousness.
Therefore, I will remain with You of whom I can receive but to whom I may not give. Amen. [edited]
A Thought From Daniel’s Prayer…
So now, our God, listen to the prayer of Your servant and to his supplications, and for Your sake, O Lord, let Your face shine on Your desolate sanctuary.
O my God, incline Your ear and hear! Open Your eyes and see our desolations and the city which is called by Your name; for we are not presenting our supplications before You on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Your great compassion. Daniel 9:17-18
The List And Position
Those prayers may as well be digital pictures of the hearts from which they flowed. And that is why we know the names of the ones who prayed. Their lives exemplify the grace and power God gives to the humble.
2020 has been a demanding year for everyone. We have all had to grow and stretch in many ways. That’s been true for EquipUs. Even in the Covid craziness, this first year has been good and productive in so many ways. And what could we ask for tomorrow and the days after?
We really want to celebrate this first year. We’re not talking about living in the past. But we need to ask for wisdom about how to celebrate His goodness in light of current limitations. Why? Looking back allows us to see God’s hand and be encouraged about His leadership in the future.
And His leadership is another thing we should be asking for. We make our plans but He directs our path. That’s true for all of us. But for EquipUs, plans are to be physically back in our ministry points during November and the months following. That’s a lot of asking for guidance, protection, and provision.
For those who want a nice long list, we are still working on improving online tools. Some of that is consolidating services and good stewardship of ministry resources. Other things are being added so we can improve and expand Equipping For Life. The time to address these issues has been a bit easier due to COVID-19. God really does work all things together for our good!
Now, about that second most powerful position, it’s always open and you have opportunity to fill it! John Knox occupied it. Hudson Taylor occupied it. Thousands of people have occupied it even though they did it in anonymity. It’s a position occupied on one’s knees. Anyone can occupy this position because the most powerful One in the universe says we may come boldly before His throne. Why? For one, we haven’t done everything we can do until we ask our Father for help!
The second most powerful position in the world is always open. And it is your divine invitation and opportunity to fill it!