After a two-month sabbatical, I am back. Too much inside wanting out and needing a place to say it. I am not returning to my attempt to post every day but something more than I have been doing.
What prompted this return is a journey of prayer. Last fall I attended a Breakthrough Prayer training hosted by my annual conference (think state-wide church organization for non-United Methodists) and our church began a journey of breakthrough prayer. What it has done for our church I am not yet sure. What it has done for me has been phenomenal – even miraculous. Today is the first in a series of posts on this journey.
What is breakthrough prayer? It is interceding with God for God to do what only God can do. Maxie Dunnam, former president of Asbury Theological Seminary and long-time pastor and writer, asks this question:
What if there are some things that God either will not do or cannot do until and unless we pray?
What if this is so? What if God only does some things if we pray? This question is the essence of breakthrough prayer. God can do all things – but only does some when we pray. James assures us that:
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17 NIV)
What if some gifts only come when we ask? Because we ask?
As we’ve made this journey in our church I have found this idea disturbing or difficult for many people. God knows what we need. God knows what we want. Why do we need to ask? I have found even a resistance to the idea and to the doing of it.
The answer, in part, lies in our need for demonstrations. It isn’t enough to love my wife and children and for me to know they know it. I need to tell them, to show them. God wants us to ask. The long thread of biblical narrative on prayer supports this. As does the long line of witnesses to God’s activity in the world and in human lives.
I’ll come back to this verse next time because it is part of a larger argument made by James. But for today –
You do not have, because you do not ask God. (James 4:2d NIV)
Today, why don’t you ask?