While folding laundry the other day, I listened to a sermon on YouTube. I went about my business rehearsing the Marie Kondo method for organizing clothes while the preacher encouraged listeners to pray. I stood momentarily to watch the Welsh pastor pause and speak with great rhythm. “This guy believes what he’s preaching,” I thought.
Then like a shot to my heart, he quoted a theologian who said, “We ought to pray in a way that embarrasses God if He does not answer.” Come again? Who in the world would pray in such a manner? To purposely shame God is a sign of disrespect. If I accuse God of anything, it will be done under my bed to soften the blow of lightning coming my way.
Of course, that statement stuck with me for a few days. I tried to go back and listen to the sermon again, but the video’s title escaped me. I watched a few other talks, but the quote I looked for didn’t occur.
Like a cow who chews her cud, I mulled over that idea. To my disappointment, I remembered challenging God to act on a promise noted in the Bible. “You said…!” Well, I’m still living. No smoke is coming from my hair or burn marks on my mattress. And, to the best of my recollection, God answered that prayer.
But why? Like an autobiography written by a famous person, God’s Word (the Bible) expresses His character and details His experiences on earth. We see and understand the author on his terms.
Yet, the Bible is more profound because it is a guidebook on living and praying. The Scriptures give us the confidence to approach God’s throne, knowing He will fulfill every word noted inside its pages.
I added another imaginary wad to my chew when I re-read the chapter on the authority of Scripture in a theology book. The author quoted verses from Isaiah 55:10-11 to describe how God sees the use of His words. It says, “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth, and making it bear and sprout, and furnish seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”
The Bible shows us God’s will for our lives and encourages us in times of need. Therefore, a respectful heart will use Bible verses to show God that we know His promises and ask that He apply those guarantees to our situation.
Finally, 1 John 5:14 says, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to His will, he hears us.” That alone should drive us to pray.