Divine Petition – Part 1
神的祈求 – 第一篇
(Partially based on Charles Spurgeon’s “Morning and Evening” devotional)
“Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail.”
Most people have three questions concerning prayers, that is, when should we pray, how should we pray, and why should we pray. The apostle James answers these questions in his short letter in the Bible.
When Should We Pray
The answer to the question “when should we pray” is found in James 5:13, “Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.” When we are in trouble we may think that God is uncaring, unknowing, or unable to help, therefore we become tired of praying. Instead, James said that trouble time is exactly the very time we should pray. And then when we are happy, we may not think of praying to God, because we are content, but James said we should also pray and our prayers should be filled with songs of praise, because God is the ultimate source of our happiness. The next verse says that if anyone is sick, when he seems like too weak to pray, that in his weakness he should pray. So James is saying that we should pray when we are in any kind of trouble or suffering, when we are happy for any reason, and when we are sick and feeble. In other words, we should pray in good time and bad time, in all circumstances. That is why Apostle Paul told the Philippian believers, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.” (Php 4:6). So Paul also said that in all situations we should pray.
How Should We Pray
James then answered the question of “how should we pray,” saying FIRST, if a person is sick, he should call for the elders to pray over him. Calling the elders, who represent the church, is calling the church to pray in unity for him. This follows closely Jesus’ teaching for He had said that if two of us agree about anything we ask for, it will be done for us by His Father in heaven (Mt 18:19).
SECONDLY, James also said that our prayer should be offered in the name of the Lord. This is in accordance to what Jesus said in John 14:14 that “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” Praying in the name of Jesus means we submit our will to His will, believing that He has in His heart our best interest. It is so easy to pray a list of requests specifying what we want God do for us, instead of praying in submission to God’s will for us. That is why Jesus told his disciples, “Until now you have asked nothing in my name.” (Jn 16:24)
To be continued next week.
May we remain steadfast in offering our prayer and petition with thanksgiving to God in all circumstances.
Tom and Tehwan Tso
“The outcome of your faith is the salvation of your souls.” 1Peter 1:9
“信心的果效， 就是灵魂的救恩” 彼得前书1：9