Remember back to when you were a kid. Let's say you are the 10 year old version of you. You're walking through the store and you happen upon the toy aisle. For me it was at our neighborhood K-mart. You ask your parents if you can "just look" at the toys. They reluctantly agree. You begin to browse. All is going well until you see it. You see the toy you'e been dreaming about ever since you saw it on a commercial during Saturday morning cartoons. You'd watched the commercial about a million times. You memorized it. You knew everything about the toy except what it felt like in your hands. And now, there you are, holding it. It was exactly as you thought, though maybe slightly smaller than you were hoping, and what you thought was metal was really plastic, but it didn't matter. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity. There were only five of them left on the shelf. If you didn't get this toy NOW, you were never going to get it. Waiting until Christmas or a birthday just wasn't an option. You began to strategize. How were you going to get mom to agree to buy this toy? After all, you're "just looking." You come up with a plan to reason with your parents. You'd explain to them all the features and benefits of the toy. You'd express your heart-felt appreciation for their generosity if they were to buy you this toy. You'd offer to do extra chores around the house, and have a portion of your allowance set aside for the next two months to pay them back for the toy. It was that important. Somehow, the execution of the strategy sounded more like, "Please can I have this toy? Please. Please. Please. I need it. Everyone at school has one and I want one sooooo bad. Please. Please. Please. I'll do anything!" Strategy executed. Now you wait for the answer. "No." Dream shattered. You throw everything you had at mom and dad, every possible trick you could think of to get them to change their mind. "No. And if you ask again..." You knew what that meant. You were going home empty handed. Every chance you got you'd drop a hint to remind them you still wanted the toy. The next time they even mentioned going back to that store, you volunteered to go with them, even if it meant enduring shoe shopping, or holding mom's purse while she tried on clothes. It was worth it. Eventually, when the time was right, one of two things happened. You either got the toy, or a new toy came out that was even better and you forgot all about the first toy. It seems things don't change when we get older. There is always stuff we want, or something that would make our lives infinitely better. There is a better pair of shoes out there. There is a cooler mobile phone. There are jewelry and tools out there that would surely complete us. There are job opportunities, new homes, new business ideas, new relationships, new this, better that, and on and on. We all have things we want. We all have things we need. So often we get so focused on the things that we want, and how we plan to get them, that we forget where all these things come from, and who is providing them. In our final week discussing the Source, Blake talked about the spiritual connection point of prayer. Prayer is our way of speaking to God. Prayer is that private time we can take to just be with God. There doesn't have to be a formal process you go through to pray. There doesn't have to be exact words you go to him with. Just talk. You don't have to be on your knees, hands folded, head down, and eyes closed. In all of our other relationship, the way we get to know someone better is to spend time with them; talk to them, build a life with them, and create memories with them. Prayer is a way to get to know God. God wants you to go to him. It doesn't matter how big or how small the request. God is saying, "Bug me." There is no want too great. There is no problem too big. There is no request too small. God wants you to go to him, always. Why? Because more than anything, God wants a relationship with us. He created us for relationship. He died on the cross and defeated death for relationship. He isn't some evil Lord waiting for us to screw up so he can punish us. Instead, he is a caring father who loves us more than anything else he has created. He wants to hear from us. He wants to provide for us. He wants to bless us. So it's on us. We have to go to him. We have to make the effort.
Luke 18:1-8 (NLT) One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. “There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, “who neither feared God nor cared about people. A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’ The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people, but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’” Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?”
Again, God is saying, "Bug me." You have something on your mind? Take it to God. You have a worry about finances? Take it to God. Are your kids not getting along? Take it to God. Are there health issues in your family? Take it to God. Did you have an awesome day? Take it to God. God wants us knocking on his door all the time. We get stuck thinking the he is too busy for us. We convince ourselves that our problems aren't big enough to bother God with. When we call on him, he will answer. God has the power to change anything in our lives. Ask, and you will be given exactly what you need. If you don't know what to say to God, that's OK. The Holy Spirit knows exactly what you need. Just take the time to sit and focus on God.
Romans 8:26 (NLT) And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.
We hope you will join us again next Sunday as we move into our Thanksgiving series. It's going to be a "happy" day at Radius Church.