Running the Race: Asking for things in Prayer – Hope 103.2

Running the Race: Asking for things in Prayer

For the last few weeks in Running the Race, we’ve spoken about prayer and particularly prayer of the Christian, how to pray to God. We’ve talked about giving thanks, also saying sorry. Today we’re talking about what to pray for. Mal Gill explains this third aspect of prayer.Sam, I have a daughter, Zarah, who’s the youngest […]

By Sam RobinsonMonday 25 Jul 2016FRESHChristian LivingReading Time: 5 minutes

For the last few weeks in Running the Race, we’ve spoken about prayer and particularly prayer of the Christian, how to pray to God. We’ve talked about giving thanks, also saying sorry. Today we’re talking about what to pray for. Mal Gill explains this third aspect of prayer.

Sam, I have a daughter, Zarah, who’s the youngest of our litter. She’s a very quiet girl. And the funny thing about Zarah is that if you meet Zarah if I was just to bring her here, you would discover she’s very quiet. She’s very shy, very reserved. And in fact, when we took her to preschool, there would be days where she wouldn’t say anything. But when we get Zarah home, you would notice that when she’s just with me or when she’s with her mother or her siblings, all of a sudden, she comes out of her shell.

She becomes super boisterous. If we were at a show and a man asked her a question, or she was to ask the person who was giving out things, she would not ask him, “Can I have one of those free things?” And it’s just because she’s shy. But when she’s with us, she’s boisterous, and she’s got a lot of confidence in asking things. And the Bible presents the picture of God as being a loving Father, who loves to give us things and a Father, who we can have great confidence in coming openly and confidently to, to ask things of.

For example, when Jesus tells a story, he says, “Which of you, if your son asked for some bread, would give him a stone?” And the answer is obviously none of you, right? “If he asks for a fish, will you give him a snake?” Of course, you won’t. And then Jesus says, “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 good gifts to those who ask?”

“Don’t be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your request to God.”

God is a loving Father, and He wants us to ask Him about all sorts of things. So even when we think about, what can we talk to God about, what can we ask him for? Now there’s all sorts of things in the Bible we can ask him. For example, in the book of James, for wisdom. Going through a hard time and rather than just go and hide, ask God for help. There are times when we might be sick, and we might ask God, “God, can you heal me?” There are other times when we might ask God, “God, I’m in this relationship, and it’s not going very well. Can You give me some strength?” And there’s lots of different things that we can ask God for.

It says in the Book of Philippians, “Don’t be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your request to God.” So we’re encouraged. Jesus says, “Ask and it will be given to you.” So we can ask about anything.

We also discover though in the Bible that we have to ask with the right motives. Because sometimes, we know, it says in James, “When you ask, you don’t receive because you asked with the wrong motives so that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” So sometimes we might say, “Hey, God, I want a new bicycle or a Ferrari,” and so He might not answer that. And so that’s why even when we ask, we’re to ask in Jesus’ name and that’s Christian talk for we’re asking according to Your good plan. But the good news is we don’t have a Father, who’s a cheapskate. We don’t have a Father, who’s like, “No, I’m not gonna give you anything.” We’ve got a Father, who wants to be involved in our life. He loves to bless us in all sorts of ways, and that’s what we need to be doing, regularly asking for His help and His involvement in our life.

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I think for me when you go to pray; it’s often in a time of stress or you need help. But when things are going good, you know, often we don’t pray. But I think you’ve just reminded us that, you know, in all things we should pray. And that’s what we’re commanded to do, pray in all things, right?

Yes. And Sam, one of the ways that we apply that, even as a family, we’re a little bit systematic in the way that we ask.

  • Monday nights, we have a missionary family that we pray for every Monday night by name
  • Tuesday night, we pray for our schoolteachers and our chaplains and those involved in our schools
  • Wednesday night, we pray for the family
  • Thursday night, we ask God for all sorts of things to happen in the world as we pray for individual countries.

So you’re right, you don’t want to just pray when you’re down in the dumps and ask God for help, but God loves it when we ask about all sorts of things. So for us, that’s one of the things that’s been helpful, is coming up with a little system. And so as I mentioned in the first week when we pray with our kids, we want to say,”Thank you for,” “I’m sorry for,” but I’ll often begin the prayer, “Dear God, I ask for,” and I’ll get the kids to finish it and it’s marvellous what they’ll pray for. They’ll pray for things happening in school. They’ll pray about, you know, our dog. You know, they’ll pray about what’s going on, you know, on the weekend. But the Father loves that because he’s a generous Father.

That’s an excellent encouragement so maybe that’s given you some help in thinking through what to pray for. And Mal, it’s been a delight. Thank you.

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Each Sunday, FRESH presenter Sam Robinson chats with Malcolm Gill, lecturer at Sydney Missionary and Bible College (SMBC), about different aspects of living the Christian life—or ‘running the race’. Hear them on air Sundays at 6.20am and 9.20am, or on FRESH just after 9pm each Saturday.