A Child’s Prayer

When I left the pastorate to teach at Talbot School of Theology, I had a burden. There were people in the church I pastored who had problems that I did not have adequate answers for. I believed Christ was the answer and truth would set people free, but I really didn’t know how, other than to pray with them and teach the truth. I made myself very available to anyone who asked for help, and God sent me a lot of people with all kinds of problems.

Inevitably I would get stuck and would tell them, I don’t have an adequate answer for you, but I know God does. If you are willing to stick with me, we’ll search scripture until we find His solution to your problem. I also practiced James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” So I would stop and pray, and wait upon the Lord. I remember sitting silently for several minutes with many people and then one day I started to question what I was doing. The passage wasn’t telling us to ask for wisdom for another person. The individual was to ask for himself. I was asking God to tell me, so I could tell the inquirer. That would make a medium, and “there is one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ” (James 2:5).

The idea had never occurred to me to have them pray. Think of it this way. You are a parent with two sons and the younger brother is always asking the older brother to come to you and ask on his behalf if he can have something. Being a parent, would you accept a second-hand relationship with one of your children? Any good parent would say to the older son, Go tell your brother to come see me himself. Are we doing that in our churches? We are all God’s children and we all have the same access to our Heavenly Father. By having them pray, we are immediately connecting them with God in the process.

I remember one afternoon I wrote out some simple petitions that I intended to have the inquirer pray. I had no idea what would happen, but I started to use it with inquirers and I was blessed to see God answer their prayers. It was a repentance process where they were asking God to reveal to their minds the sins that were keeping them from having an intimate relationship with Him. I quickly learned that the only effective prayer at this level of ministry was the prayer of a repentant heart. If God has called us to repentance, He will enable the process. Those early prayers became the “Steps To Freedom In Christ” (Steps), which is currently being used all over the world in many languages (see www.ficminternational.org).

Dr. Neil

For Spanish, see http://www.ficmm.org/blog