Though God is sovereign over all things, He ordains the means of prayer. There are some things He will not do unless we pray, though He always does all He purposes (Psalm 135:6). The mystery does not change this truth:
You do not have because you do not ask (James 4:2).
If you do not ask . . .
1. Evangelistic work will be hindered.
“The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” ( Matt 9:37-38; see also Col. 4:3; 2 Thess. 3:1; Eph. 6:18-19).
2. You will enter into more temptation.
“And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one . . . ” (Matt. 6:13).
3. You will not get what you want.
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7).
4. You cannot successfully prove you are His disciple.
” . . . ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples” (John 15:7-8)
5. You will not have all the joy you could have.
“Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24).
6. You will forfeit some of God’s protection and deliverance.
“And He will yet deliver us, you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many” (2 Cor. 1:10-11).
7. You will often misunderstand God’s ways.
“Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in your sight, let me know Your ways that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your sight” (Ex. 33:13; also see Psalm 25:4).
8. You will continue to be worried.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7).
9. Some may not be healed.
“Is any among you suffering? Let him pray . . . . Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up” (James 5:14-15).
10. You will not glorify God as much as you could.
“Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13).
11. You will miss much of the beauty of the Scriptures.
“Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law” (Psalm 119:18).
12. You will not accomplish as much for God.
“The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:16).
It is no wonder that the church once “continued steadfastly” in prayers, and the leaders gave themselves “continually to prayer.” We can comprehend why Paul admonished us all to “continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving,” and why he wanted the men to “pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands.” And it makes sense why a widow is cared for if she “continues in supplications and prayers night and day” (see Acts 2:42; 6:4; Col. 4:2; 1 Tim. 2:8; 5:6).
“Prayer,” said the 19th century preacher, Charles Spurgeon, “is the tender nerve that moveth the muscle of omnipotence.”
We cannot afford not to pray.
Ask and it will be given to you (Matt. 7:7).
Copyright Jim Elliff 2011