I have this box sitting on my desk right now that a good friend of mine, M.A. Sykes, gave to me several years ago. And for the last several months, it’s had some pretty important pieces of paper in it.
Back in August at HERITAGE we had this worship series called “If I Were King,” and as we wrapped up the four-week series, we asked the members of our congregation to engage in a prayer moment at the end of worship.
Everybody had a note card, and the card had two statements on it. The first statement said, “If I were king, I would change this one thing about my life.”
And the second statement said, “If I were king, I would change this one thing for someone I love.”
We asked people to think carefully about those statements and to prayerfully write their responses on the cards. So we had our prayer moment and people wrote their requests down and we all brought them forward and laid them on the altar. Then, after the service, I gathered up our prayer requests and put them in this box that’s now on my desk.
Since then, during every Wednesday night prayer service, this box with the prayer requests in it has been placed on our altar, surrounded by candles.
We have bathed these requests—your requests—in prayer for 3 months now. If you were here back in August when we filled out our “If I Were King” cards, do you remember what you wrote?
I thought I remembered mine, but I wasn’t sure, so I went back to look at mine again, and I have to tell you, reading my card was a powerful experience. It was enough to make me believe in the power of prayer.
Jesus teaches that when we seek God’s kingdom first—when we work to align our priorities with God’s priorities—and ask God for what we need, it will be given to us. When we search for answers we will find what we’re looking for. When we knock, doors will be opened (Matt 6:33, 7:7-8).
That doesn’t mean that prayer is like magic or that God is like a genie in a lamp. It’s actually way better than that. Prayer isn’t about asking for what we want--it isn’t about wishing for more wishes or hoping for extravagant wealth.
Prayer is about discovering what God wants for us and from us—and then discovering that God is supplying in abundance all that we need to make it happen.
Where do you need direction in your life? Pray for God's guidance. What do you need clarity on? Ask God to unmuddy the waters. Are you wondering which door to walk through next? Prayer can help you know which doors are open to you.
Jesus is clear in his teaching that God hears and answers our prayers, so we should be people who pray boldly and with confidence.
So now it's Thanksgiving week and I’ve got this box. It’s full of the prayer requests of faithful people who are honestly seeking God’s blessing and direction in their lives and in the lives of people they love.
And you know what I believe? I believe I’ve got a box here full of prayers that are being answered.
That might be what I’m most thankful for this Thanksgiving.
I’m thankful for what this box of prayers represents—a faithful community of believers willing to share their deepest needs with a God who loves them. God is answering my prayers, and I’m hopeful that you will see that God is answering yours, too.
See you Sunday.
“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”