Have you ever wanted something so badly that you said you would do anything to get it? Perhaps when you were younger you begged your parents to get you that shining new bicycle in the shop window on Main Street? You promised that you would never ask for anything ever again. Well, that's kind of how it is with God. In the Bible it says that he has glorious gifts for us if we'd only ask for them in prayer.
Tonight I'm going to talk about the importance of prayer. God specifically says in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to pray without ceasing. Mr. Rushdoony, my sixth, seventh and eighth grade teacher, started the day with prayer, prayed before lunch and ended the day with prayer.
Tonight I'm also going to cover three of the major points in praying: requesting the favor itself, being specific in what you ask for, and having faith that your request will be granted.
Luke 11:9-13 says, "And I say unto you, ask and it shall be given you, seek and ye shall find, knock and the door shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh, receiveth, and he that seeketh, findeth, and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he asks a fish, will he give him a serpent? or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"
These four verses are saying that God has many gifts to give. These gifts are to be received only by asking God for them in prayer. When we pray, we should be specific in what we are asking for. Instead of saying, "Lord, help me today," pray, "Lord, I have a test today. Please give me the ability to remember and apply all the information I have learned." When I was in the third, fourth, and fifth grades, before every test, my teacher, Mrs. Tolle, would lead us in a meaningful prayer asking God to keep all the stored knowledge in our minds so that we could be proud when we received our grades. In those three years of school, I almost always did excellently on my tests and quizzes.
Perhaps you prayed to God about something that is unnecessary yet desirable. You thought that God wouldn't grant your wish but that it wouldn't hurt to ask. God's answer will definitely be "no." There is a saying, "Blessed is the man who expects nothing, for he will not be disappointed." Hebrews 11:6 says that without faith it is impossible to please God, but that he rewards them that diligently seek him. You must believe and trust that God knows best and will give you what he knows is best for you, so when he says "no," we must thank him for doing that. Remember to always ask no matter what, be specific and have faith. God will always do his will.
I'd like to share a poem with you. From the first time I read this poem it was my favorite:
"The Difference" (author unknown)
I got up early one morning
And rushed right into the day.
I had so much to accomplish,
That I didn't have time to pray.
Problems just tumbled about me,
And heavier came each task.
"Why doesn't God help?" I wondered.
He answered, "You didn't ask."
I wanted to see joy and beauty,
But the day toiled gray and bleak,
I wondered why God didn't show me.
He said, "But you didn't seek."
I tried to come into God's presence;
I used all my keys at the lock.
God gently and lovingly chided,
"My child, you didn't knock."
I woke early this morning,
And paused before entering the day,
I had so much to accomplish,
That I had to take time to pray.
Before I end, I'd like to say a special thank you to my parents and my family. My parents for their financial sacrifice in sending me to a Christian school, and my family, especially those who have helped me study for my tests and especially Christa, Mrs. Toepfer, who has helped me numerous times to learn my Bible verses and catechism questions. Thank you so much. Being at this school for the last nine years has certainly left many memories, and has provided me with a good Christian foundation to further my education.