Genesis 15:1-4, Deuteronomy 3:23-26
Take it to the Lord in prayer – a sermon by Rev. Colin Pretorius.
Before the Covid crisis, going on a cruise was a favourite way to take a holiday. For some reason people really seem to enjoy bobbing up and down in a big ship. But if you’re prone to seasickness, it’s not such a great adventure. You may remember the story I told you some years ago about a quite elderly lady who went on a sea cruise. She was really looking forward to it, but she was quite seasick. One day she ventured outside to sit on the deck and fell fast asleep on her chair, sitting with her hands open. At that time, there was an evangelist who was going to deliver a sermon in the hall on answered prayer. Another passenger, one who wasn’t sure that God even existed, decided to attend and on his way to the hall he picked up a couple of oranges in case he got hungry. But as he passed the elderly lady and saw her open hands he decided to put an orange in each hand. After the service, he passed her again and saw her happily eating one of the oranges. “You seem to be enjoying that orange,” he said, to which she responded “Yes, sir, my Father is very good to me!” “Surely your father cannot be alive,” he cried out, but she said “Praise God, He is very much alive.” “What do you mean?” he wondered aloud. This was her answer:
“I’ll tell you sir. I’ve been seasick for a few days now. I was asking God to somehow send me an orange. I suppose I fell asleep while I was praying. When I awoke, I found He had not only sent me one orange but two!”
Friends, even in the smallest of things, the Lord does provide, sometimes even in very mysterious ways! Speaking to God, praying to Him, is our way of communicating with our gracious heavenly Father. It is a precious privilege to be able to come before God and just chat with Him. It is a cherished occasion to be able to tell Him about our deepest needs, our concerns, our worries about life or friends or family. It is a priceless opportunity to bring others before God, to thank Him for His grace and mercy and love and care and all the other blessings with which He so richly blesses us. But we have to acknowledge that many if not all of us have struggled with prayer at some stage or another. It can be tough at times. Perhaps you are or have been in that position:
- perhaps in a time of sadness you have felt lost for words;
- perhaps you only come to God when you’ve exhausted all other options;
- perhaps when you’re thinking about a family member who has wandered from God’s path and you come before God in prayer, you just don’t know what to pray;
- maybe you’ve wondered why you should pray to God if He already knows what you want to say or ask; or
- maybe you feel that God has not answered your prayers in the past so why bother with praying at all.
In our passages today we see that God does answer prayer with a resounding “Yes.” We see that in the passage about Abram. But in the passage about Moses, we also see that at times He says “No.” And as we also see in the life of Abram, sometimes the answer is “Wait.” And it is at these three sorts of answers that we’re going to look today:
- Sometimes God says “Yes”
- Sometimes He says “No”; and
- Sometimes He says “Wait”.