God Answers prayers before we ask
On Sunday, Bishop Joseph Persaud, of the New Testament Church of God in Guyana, preaching at Boulevard Baptist Church, mentioned the 'Already Factor', meaning that God prepared salvation, healing for us before we asked. Indeed, God pardons us before we repent and ask for forgiveness. While we were yet sinners, Jesus died for us [Rom. 5:8].
On the same day, a similar sentiment was expressed by Bishop Robert Thompson, preaching at a liturgy for the admission of Leslie Mowatt as Anglican rector. Thompson said God was the first to be at the Empty Tomb.
Isaiah 65: 24 states 'Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear.' This means that God anticipates our necessities and in love lays the foundation for granting our needs before we ask. It is a misconception to behave as if we are talking to a stingy God who only moves to help people after much prayer.
Our God does not wake up to action when we call. Unfortunately, the prayers admired by some Christians are when people shout. Elijah organised a showdown between the prophets of Baal and the true and living God. Elijah told the prophets of Baal to call on their God to cause fire to burn the bulls on the altar. At noon, Elijah began to taunt them. "Shout louder!" he said. Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or sleeping and must be awakened. Our God is not deaf or asleep like Baal.
Prayer is not primarily about informing God about our needs because God knows our needs better than us. Matthew 6: 5-8 states, 'And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.' Nevertheless, we continue with long prayers as if God does not know current affairs or God will be more inclined to answer the longer we pray. No matter how long we pray, there are things we get from God that we did not ask for. Do we really believe that if we do not pray and ask God for air one day, He will not give it to us? Do we believe that God sees our need for healing and will not heal us because we did not pray? Parents give children food, drink and clothes without the children asking for it, so why do we think God is only moving to do good because of our prompting? If God only moved based on our prayers, then the world would be in a greater mess. Prayer is more about prompting us to do God's will and do good rather than prompting God to do good.
Genesis 1 shows that in the creation story, God made provision for humankind before He placed Adam and Eve into the world. God made light, day, sky, seas, land, vegetation, plants, trees, sun, moon, animals, birds, etc, before anyone prayed to Him. The creation story is telling us that God knew what we needed for our survival and provides before we ask.
So there is no need to badger God as if we are twisting His arms to give us good and perfect gifts. No need to tarry for the Holy Spirit as if God does not want to give us His Spirit. When we pray to God, it is to remind us that we are dependent on God.
Our prayer life will be richer when we realise that God knows our needs before we pray and He anticipates our necessities and makes provision before we ask.
- Rev Devon Dick is pastor of the Boulevard Baptist Church in St Andrew. He is author of 'The Cross and the Machete', and 'Rebellion to Riot'. Send feedback to columns@ gleanerjm.com.