Soul Food 4 U

It addresses itself to every day issues of life from a Christian perspective. You'll be challenged. You'll be rebuked. You'll be encouraged. You'll grow.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

ASK WHATEVER YOU WISH, AND IT WILL BE GIVEN YOU (Part 2)

August 17, 2006

TEXT: Matthew 7:7 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will
find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks
receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be
opened. NIV

REFLECTIONS;
1. Each one of us holds a key to change that can only be opened from
inside. (Martin Luther)
2. God who cares for me neither sleeps nor slumbers, I see no sense in
both of us remaining awake.
3. He that loveth little prayeth little; but he that loveth much prayeth
much (St. Augustine).
4. He to whom communion with God the Father is a task has not advanced in
grace (D. Steel).

In part 1, we talked of how prayer reflects the state of maturity of the
believer. Prayer which is like our passport that enables us to get to the
heavenly realm and in humility recognize our status and the majesty of our
heavenly Father. An immature Christian is pre occupied with personal
needs and that can be dangerous. The second level of maturity is where the
believer is preoccupied with others needs.

PRE-OCCUPATION WITH OTHERS NEEDS
The people in the second level of maturity are those who go to God with a
list of the things that they want done for others. These are prayer
warriors and servant leaders who get their agenda from the world rather
than from God. Their prayer needs are genuine concern for the church, the
perishing, the hungry and other needs around them. While it is important
that we pray for the needs around us, we must be in touch with Our Father
who art in heaven and our prayer is, May Thy will be done on earth as it
is in heaven. A need does not necessarily constitute a call to prayer or
service. Think of Jesus Christ when together with his disciples saw
multitudes that were hungry, harassed and helpless. Why did He not meet
their need instead he asked the disciples to pray to the Lord of the
harvest? (Matthew 9:35-10:2). We are the people that God has chosen to
rule the world as we take instructions from him. Some things that we need
to have in mind as we pray;
1. Who your master is- Are you a servant of the Lord or of the world? Talk
to God about the needs and let him tell you what to do. Your priority is
to know what is in the mind of God and that is what you pray for. The
greatest desire is that Gods will is done in the situation as it is in
heaven. You and I do not know what Gods will as planned in heaven unless
he reveals it to us.
2. Beware of ethnocentric tendencies- It is possible to go to God with
an agenda to meet the needs of the people according to our cultural
understanding. Ethnocentrism is the practise of interpreting and
evaluating behaviour and objects by standards of ones own culture rather
than the culture to which they belong (Grunlan and Mayers). An
Illustration, in a convention where there were international speakers, the
believers were asked to pray for salvation of any one person in the room
who seemed needing salvation. The local people had been asked to invite
those who were not believers. Majority of the people selected the wife of
the main preacher (who had not yet been introduced to them) because she
had dressed differently and had used make up that they associated with
those who were not saved.
You can be very moved by what you consider to be needs and yet it is your
view that is different. A lot of damage has been done when people use
their cultural perspective to interpret the needs of others such as the
hungry, the naked and poor. Human beings have a tendency to interpret
negatively what they do not understand of the cultural rules used by other
people. Peoples technological achievements have been undermined leading
to loss of confidence and esteem thus increasing poverty conditions. To
assume that people are naked because they do not cover the parts of the
body that those in your culture cover can cripple people and tilt them to
seeing themselves as servants who have to be told what to do. That is why
it is best to pray to the Lord of the harvest who understands cultures and
appreciates people. Ask of the Father who is the Lord of the harvest, and
as he prepared Peter to go to Cornelius, whose food was not familiar, will
also prepare you.
3. Acknowledge personality differences- What is different is not
necessarily wrong. What you see as a weakness may be Gods gift to that
other person. The weakness may be in your inability to appreciate
diversity that God allows his people to have. Spend time with God in
prayer so that you have his mind or view regarding people.
The problem of settling on this second level of maturity is to fail to
recognise whose servant you are. Are your prayers driven by needs around
you or are you driven by a love for Christ that makes you willing to "Do
whatever he tells you." (John 2:5).
Busyness in the kings business is no excuse of ignoring the king. You
can be busy in the palace and forget that you are enjoying the status you
have because of your relationship with the king not your activities.

C. PRE-OCCUPATION WITH GOD.
The level that reveals maturity of the believer is where one recognises
that this world has an owner who is actively involved in what happens in
it. At this level of maturity prayer of the believers reflect their
priority. The person praying is preoccupied with;
1. God
2. The will of God
3. The needs of the people
God - We are created with a need to enjoy the presence of God as we
recognise his worth ship, majesty, splendour and our unworthiness except
for the favour extended to us. Our Father is omnipotent, omnipresent and
almighty and some how he is interested in each one of us.
Like Queen Esther who had a great need but spent time with the king at a
banquet, acknowledging his majesty, we also need to just enjoy being in
the splendour of the kings court. Praise and thanksgiving to the
almighty, merciful God, are predominant on the mind and lips of the one
praying. As you acknowledge Our Father who art in heaven. . . you
gain a perspective of your identity as a child of God and your
relationship with the rest of creation. It is not my father but our
father. You recognise that the name of the Lord is a strong tower that
must not be used in any irreverent manner such as punctuating sentences or
greeting people. The concept of Sabbath is about taking time to be with
God, resting and get replenished as you realise that you are dependent on
God not on your efforts and abilities. If we knew that our Father does
not sleep or get caught by situations unawares, then we can relax, and
that will release physical strength and health that are necessary in our
service.
Jesus Christ called the disciples, ordained them that they should be with
him and then send them out. 14 He appointed twelve-designating them
apostles-that they might be with him and that he might send them out to
preach 15 and to have authority to drive out demons( Mark 3:14-15) NIV.
Being with Christ is very important. Do not send yourself, spend time
with Christ so that he gives you your assignment.
Apostle Paul knew the importance of being with Christ before being in
mission. Paul says that all those who are mature should be of the view of
wanting to know Christ (Philippians 3:10, 15). As Daniel said, But the
people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits
(Daniel 11:32b).NKJV.
Until our hunger for Gods presence is greater than our hunger for
recognition, security and provisions, we may not know what prayer is.

The will of God - May your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it
is in heaven (Matt 6:10) NIV. God has a will that he wants accomplished on
earth and that is what he wants us to ask of him. God has a will
regarding your marriage, fees, rent, career, old age, etc. and you can
count on him who knows no corners and to whom exists no darkness. God
knows that the valley you may seem to be stuck on is developing in you
stamina for the next assignment that only God knows. Think of the time
that God called Abraham and promised to make him the father of nations.
Even before any child was born to Abraham, 13 Then the LORD said to him,
"Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not
their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. .
. 16 In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here.
(Genesis 15:13,16) NIV. The story of Joseph, his dreams, his enslavement
in Egypt, was all part of a well thought out plan of God. The birth of
Moses and his upbringing in an adopted family of Pharaoh and his running
away to the desert were all part of Gods will in heaven that was being
carried out on earth.
Our role as Christians is to develop an intimate relationship with God so
that he uses us to accomplish the will that he already has and requires us
to play our part. Your marital status, the project proposal you sent out,
your current station , etc. are all meant to align to Gods will and that
should be your concern and prayer.
The needs of people - Give us today our daily bread (Matthew 6:11). God
wants to have our needs met. His promise is, Delight yourself in the
LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4).NIV To
delight is to take pleasure, find satisfaction, enjoyment in the Lord and
when you do so, the Lord promises to give you the desires of your heart.
Jesus Christ said that it is Gods pleasure to give us good things. If
you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your
children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to
those who ask him!" (Luke 11:13) NIV

As you spend time with God, and meditate on his word, you will get to know
what to pray for. Prophet Jeremiah was used to prophesy that the
Israelites would be in Babylon for seventy years. As Daniel who had the
habit of praying, sought the scriptures, he prayed that which God had in
his mind. I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the
word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet that the desolation of
Jerusalem would last seventy years. 3 So I turned to the Lord God and
pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and
ashes (Daniel 9:2-3, Jeremiah 29:10).
Is it possible that the time of Africa being under bondage of ignorance is
over and that a Daniel/ Daniella needs to turn to God in prayer,
petition, sackcloth and ashes? God is counting on you for your family,
institution and Gods people in Africa and the world to escape the
challenges that have become accepted as normal yet are oppressive to
those who bear the image of God.
God is counting on you to call on him so that he can heal the sick,
release the rain and shower us with his blessings.

If you believe and I believe and we together pray,
The Holy Spirit will come down
And Africa will be saved.