Challenge With A Capital “P”

Can You Do It Without Asking?

Can You Do It Without Asking?

There is an aspect to the life of every believer which needs constant attention and practice. It is something that can be a practiced blessing of the youngest Christ-follower or a source of frustration for the most seasoned saint. Christians are commanded, in no uncertain terms, to do it all the time, yet many of us struggle to understand its correct application. It is an absolute essential for a healthy relationship with the Lord, but to most of us it becomes a mundane, if not all together ignored, ritual.

Have I been cryptic enough? What’s this so very important practice of the Christian faith? I’ve been thinking about this essential action for quite some time and have come to the conclusion that, because of my own selfishness, it will always be a challenge in my life – and possibly yours as well.

It is prayer. This simple, yet not so simple, act is such a part of our Christian lives it is almost ubiquitous. We pray to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior; we pray to confess our sins; we’re even commanded to be in constant prayer.

pray without ceasing; 1 Thessalonians 5:17

And here is where the problems can start. Unless we are careful in how and why we pray, it is very easy to slip into the habit of treating God like a giant ATM in which we insert our prayer and expect Him to spit out whatever we request. We take a verse like John 14:14, “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it” and become mystified if not a little disappointed that God doesn’t just pop out that new job or fancy car we prayed for when we ignore the context of the verses around it and don’t even consider what would bring God glory in our situation.

So here’s where we come to the big challenge. The next time you set aside for concentrated prayer, try to pray the entire time without once asking for anything for yourself. In fact, try praying for just 10 minutes without asking for anything at all. If you find this difficult perhaps you have fallen into the “gimme” pattern of prayer.

You might say, “It’s not prayer if I don’t ask for something – and you’d be wrong. Prayer with no supplication (a fancy word for asking for stuff) is, in its simplest form, worship.

Let me suggest this exercise… a challenge if you will. Pray for 10 minutes just praising God for who He is. The easiest way to do this is by running down a list of His divine attributes – in other words, what makes Him, God. I go through the list of 12 characteristics of God, praising Him and standing in grateful awe of each. There are no requests here – just praise and worship.

Here’s my list… First spend 5 minutes in awe of what He is in His essence. These may be called His Natural Attributes because they reflect His divine nature.

God is:

  1. Triune – (3 in 1) Loving Father, Saving Son, Empowering Spirit
  2. Non-material – (Spirit) Although I can’t see Him, I worship Him and only Him
  3. Immutable – (Eternal and Unchanging) He is the same God of wonder now as He was in the Old and New Testaments.
  4. Omni-present – (Everywhere) I can’t hide from or be hidden from Him
  5. Omni-potent – (All Powerful) He can do anything and does all things (be careful here not to slip into asking Him for stuff) He is ALL-mighty
  6. Omniscient – (All Knowing) There’s nothing He doesn’t know and nothing He doesn’t know about me

Can you see where this praise for what God is like can take us… to thoughts of wonder and worship? He is God and worthy of our worship! Worship – without having our hands out in any kind of request.

Now, I spend the next 5 minutes thanking Him for what He’s like as a person. These are called His Moral Attributes.

In His relationship toward me, God is…

  1. Sovereign – (Freely & Independently in Control) He doesn’t have to ask permission or be limited by any other power
  2. Veracious – (True – Unable To Lie or Deceive) I can completely trust Him and His Word
  3. Holy – (Pure) His motivations and actions toward me are above reproach or blame
  4. Just & Righteous – (Right Acting) All His actions will be absolutely the correct and best thing
  5. Merciful – (Loving) For no other reason than His love, He always offers me a way to escape the punishment I deserve for my sins
  6. Gracious – (Providing) Because of that same love He offered me the free gift of grace that changed my life and brought me into fellowship with Him

This prayer will be a fast 10 minutes but you will be focused on the Lord and worshiping Him for what He is and what He’s like. It may be the best worship you’ve had for a while… quite literally prayer with a capital “P.”

Of course the difficulty and challenge is to not fall into the habit of just asking, asking, asking.

I’m not saying that asking the Lord for important things in your life is wrong. I am saying that we need to be careful not to only bring requests to the throne of God – requests for things we think we need or want. That’s an imbalanced view of “praying without ceasing.”

Will you accept the challenge and start treating your prayer time with the capital letter “P” and giving it the time and consideration Almighty God deserves?

Think about it…

8 Comments

  • Sheilamhale says:

    Thank you Len for this teaching. I have printed them off for further study and applying the teaching to my life.
    Also. I have had no end of problems with IMAC mail.

    The etchs have put me on a different system called Thunderbird and instead of Marks name applied mine. Please make your notations accordingly.

    • Len Allen says:

      Thank you for the comment – I’m so glad you enjoyed it – AND welcome to my subscriber family. You’ll now get my “thinking” via email every week.

      Now, regarding your other comments – I don’t understand what you’re saying — don’t know what IMAC mail is … etchs etc. I don’t get your last two sentences. Sorry, it’s just beyond me. I don’t know how to “make my notations accordingly.”

  • Aleida Price says:

    Len, Thank you for your comments on prayer.

    I am really writing to ask if you teach a men’s class during small group time on Sunday mornings at 9:30. My husband has been looking for a class and asked if I would see if you teach during this time. Thanks, A.P.

    • Len Allen says:

      I lead a small group at 11a.m. at Silverdale Baptist Church. We’re a really great mix of people – some married, some single, wide range of ages, races, and experiences. Our Bible discussion is a blessing and our fellowship is sweet. You’re welcome to come visit… Room 4.

  • Dear Len: sometimes how we seem to be on the same track at the same time. I’ve been having a lot of time lately spent on about how lightly I treat prayer. Not necessarily the ‘gimme gimme gimme’, but rather how sacred prayer is shown in the Bible, and how I have come to pray any time, any where and call it prayer ’cause I’m ‘praying’.
    Everywhere I find someone praying in the New and the Old Testaments, time is ‘taken out’ to pray. (I don’t include the priests, etc, who opposed Christ) and then I compare how I pray so much “on the go”, or “in the car” or anywhere where it is ‘convenient’ for me to do so.
    I appreciate this writing and the points are well made. Thanks for keeping me on your subscriber list.
    When I finish writing my thoughts about prayer that is running through my heart and mind, I”ll drop it over to you.
    In His love,
    warren

  • Sue says:

    OK that’s it!!! with your permission, l would like to print this up to hand out in the “Basic Believers Building Blocks” Sunday School Class I hope to begin soon. We have several prayer warriors in our church that offer classes on prayer, but this would be a great way to get the new class into the right “thought process” about prayer. Please let me know if I have your permission to print it? I will be sure to include your contact information. Appreciate your thoughts on this all important communication opportunity we have to speak to the GOD OF THE UNIVERSE!!! How can we help but be full of worship?

    • Len Allen says:

      Thanks for asking and blessings be on your ministry at your church. Of course you have my permission to print and re-print – thank you for putting my link information on your reprints. I appreciate it. Go for it, Girl!

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