“Putting the Ball in God’s Court”
Jeremiah 33:1-3; Hebrews 11:1
Prayer is communication with God. It is a privilege, a blessing, and a necessity to the life of those who have a relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus leads us to God and the Holy Spirit gives us what we need to build and maintain that relationship.
We hear very few prayers of praise and thanksgiving. We almost always hear prayers of petition. Even our natural parents like to hear “thank you” every now and then.
What is it, then, that moves us to pray? The things that move us to prayer are varied. While prayer is multi-faceted and somewhat mysterious in its own right, something in us draws us to that place. Sometimes, we pray when we are in crisis. Sometimes, we pray when we have done all we know to do in a given situation. Sometimes, we acknowledge that we need help that is beyond our human capacity.
Think about it, we pray to a spiritual being that we cannot see but in whom we believe. We trust in what we cannot see or touch and yet we believe. We believe that God changes things because of who God is. We recognize that the nature of God makes prayer possible. God is omniscient (all knowing), omnipresent (present at all times and in all places), and omnipotent (all powerful). I think God was my first super hero.
When we ask something of God in prayer, we are not only putting our faith in God but in God’s promises. We are stepping out on faith believing that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Faith is our assurance that when we put the ball in God’s court something will happen.
Humility is an essential part of praying and believing. It is a modest or low view of one’s own importance and its counterpart is pride. God constantly calls for His people called by His name to humble themselves.
James 4:10 – Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
Luke 14:11 – For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
1 Peter 5:5 – In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
Mark 10:45 – For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” If Jesus, God incarnate, humbled Himself, we have that same ability within us because His Spirit abides with us.
In Jeremiah 18:1-6 we find that the prophet humbled himself before God in obedience to God’s command. He writes these words: “This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So, I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so, the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hands, O Israel.””
The command given in Jeremiah is an invitation to move into the realm of the divine. We are asked to remove the earthly limitations we have put on God. Just because you can’t figure it out, you should not assume that God can’t handle it. Prayer transcends the earthly realm. It touches heaven and hell. When we awaken to the fact that we are living on the prayers of those who have gone on before us, it will give us strength to try God for ourselves.
It is a very humbling experience to trust God with the things that matter dearly to us. However, humility characterizes the person who goes to God in prayer. I am sure that you have your own reason why it is not an easy thing to trust God with ourselves and our concerns but consider these passages of Scripture.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Psalm 25:1-3 – “In you, Lord my God, I put my trust. I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause.”
We sometimes hesitate to trust God because our prayers are not answered the way we want them to be answered and that brings up questions about God. It introduces and fear of the unknown. It is uncharted territory for some because someone else has always prayed. Some people are not comfortable praying because God is not reachable to them.
What Keeps Us from trusting God for ourselves and handing over our concerns? There is the problem of self-worth that gets in the way of our path towards our God. We don’t believe we are worthy to go to God in prayer. Some of us think we can do this on our own, we don’t need help.
The other thing is that we don’t know who we are in Christ. In Romans 8:17 Paul says, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” This heavenly heritage is God’s purpose and will for us (Ephesians 1:11). We receive the promise of our inheritance by hearing the word of truth and believing in Christ (Ephesians 1:13).
Prayer is a gift from God. It is our blessing from God. It is to our advantage to pray. Put the ball in God’s court and start to see great and mighty things happen in your life. Amen.