August 11, 2017 Brethren Letter
I will start tonight’s letter with Christ’s words to His disciples on the subject of prayer.
 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.  And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.  Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him (Matthew 6:6-8).
I’ve underlined some of Christ’s words on which I will focus. Notice in verse 6 that Jesus DID NOT say “IF you pray…” but, He said, “WHEN you pray…”! As Christians, we must realize that prayer is just as indispensable for us spiritually, as air and water are physically. We should be praying to our Father AS a Father (verse 6), expecting an answer from Him. As I’ve written before, God doesn’t necessarily always answer “YES” to everything we ask, but we can be sure the answer we receive will be the CORRECT one!
In verse 8, Jesus makes it clear that our heavenly Father knows what we need before we ask. He GENUINELY cares for us! “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:29-31).
Some might reason that since God already knows our needs, we don’t need to spend a lot of time praying about those needs. We might even think that praying once or twice about something is more than enough time spent on our knees. After all, since God has the power to bring about any conclusion He chooses, why would we need anything beyond a short prayer or two?
I read an article a few years ago from The Good News of August 1978, on the subject of prayer. Here’s an interesting key discussed about prayer in a Good News article entitled, “An Overlooked Key to Prayer.”
“…too often people will pray and then sit back and do nothing to improve the situation themselves.”
Yes, brethren! Sometimes we need to look and see if something needs to be corrected or changed in our lives. Maybe God wants us to see ourselves first, before answering “YES” to a prayer! Maybe we could be standing in our own way!
Here are some excerpts from this same Good News article I believe to be helpful for us.
Very often we receive responses to our letters that are most gratifying, showing God does indeed answer prayer – with resounding power. There are also those who tell us the problem or need they were praying about has not been resolved. And they wonder why.
It is often difficult to know why a specific prayer has not been answered as yet. But there are general principles or keys all of us who pray or ask others to pray should consider. Mr. Armstrong has often mentioned that while we should commit our lives totally to God, we should also continue to work as though everything depends on us. This principle can apply to prayer as well.
We’ve noticed that too often people will pray and then sit back and do nothing to improve the situation themselves. In many cases we not only need to pray for God’s deliverance, but also to ask Him to open our minds to how we can solve the problem. We’ve all heard of the principle of cause and effect. The problems, the trials, the financial predicaments are the effects. When we pray we look to God to extricate us from these unwanted effects, but God in His wisdom may have something else in mind. He may want us to look at the causes and learn a few lessons in the process.
It’s true that occasionally we may hit an impenetrable impasse, a virtual Red Sea, where there is absolutely nothing we can or should do except pray and expect God’s deliverance in faith. But most of the time there are things we can and should do ourselves – learn why we have had troubles, repent of mistakes and take action to overcome.
Once again, God wants us to be actively involved in seeking the solution. He wants us to pray and, in addition, many times He expects us to do our share in working the problem out.
God wants us to use the trials and tribulations of this life not only to develop deep, abiding faith but also to develop resourcefulness, ingenuity and ability to solve problems. It is our destiny to be born into His Family where we will assist in judging angels and help solve problems of multiple thousands, whom God will put under our care. We should be training for that by working with God’s blessing to help and solve and overcome some of our own problems today.
That’s excellent advice! Please have a wonderful Sabbath!
Your Brother in Christ,