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God Loves a Persistent Pray-er

Each week is stuffed with crises—on the earth, within the church, and sometimes in our personal households. It’s pure to marvel: How ought to I’ve been praying about that? As Christians, we dream of getting a prayer life that’s fervent, fruitful, and up to the mark. However so typically, we find yourself dwelling on the prayers we uncared for to hope and questioning if God is dissatisfied with our lack of non secular fervor.

For the anxious or hesitant prayer, the pointed two-word title of J. D. Greear’s newest ebook—Simply Ask—affords each a reassurance and an exhortation. The phrase simply conveys the childlike simplicity of prayer. Don’t fear about getting your phrasing good, says Greear, the North Carolina pastor and former Southern Baptist Conference president. Simply pray already.

The ebook’s subtitle describes postures that, in Greear’s opinion, must typify our strategy to prayer: assured, daring, affected person, relentless, shameless, dependent, grateful, highly effective, and expectant. However regardless of the can-do tenor of those phrases, Simply Ask is not any light-weight, name-it-and-claim-it pep speak, and Greear takes pains to present the reason why God would possibly decline to reply a prayer.

The ebook accommodates seven manageable chapters, organized into two sections. Greear begins by candidly addressing questions like “Actually, does prayer do any good?” and “However critically, why isn’t God answering me?” Then he will get much more sensible, mapping out numerous how-tos and the how-not-tos. And he helpfully closes the ebook with ten easy options.

Readers might flinch, at first, when Greear jabs them with the declare that “instinctively all of us pray the incorrect manner.” However he softens the sting by ensuring to incorporate himself among the many accused. Drawing on insights from authorities like Augustine, G. Ok. Chesterton, Charles Hodge, Tim Keller, J. I. Packer, John Piper, and the biblical writers, Greear walks us by the basics of prayer and motivates us to get going.

Greear spurs the readers to take Jesus critically when he says, “Aside from me you are able to do nothing” (John 15:5). Although asking just isn’t the one part to prayer, we nonetheless should be asking. How can we keep away from the self-inflicted disappointment that comes from giving up too quickly? The answer is straightforward, says Greear—hold asking! Those that are kids of God, adopted into his household by the atoning blood of Christ, have each cause to boldly strategy (and reapproach) the throne of grace.

Although Simply Ask focuses on one side of religion (prayer), the ebook finally considerations the totality of religion and one’s relationship with God generally. Greear drums on this theme: “God solely provides some issues in response to ongoing, affected person, relentless, impudent, daring, shamelessly persistent prayer.” Explaining that “God is glorified by our persistence,” he assures us that our repeated petitions exhibit “that God is the one place [we] should go.”

Total, Simply Ask is persuasive, compelling, and sometimes convicting. That stated, the ebook does often fall prey to what struck me as false dichotomies. I might invite Greear, as an illustration, so as to add some nuance to a self-evaluation he calls the “Acid Take a look at”: specifically, the act of asking whether or not we’re coming to God as a result of he’s lovely or as a result of we’re trying to get one thing, as if these motives have been mutually unique. It’s doable, in fact, to strategy God selfishly, as a dispenser of favors. But God’s magnificence and his giving go collectively. Some of the lovely facets of his character is that he provides generously to his kids. When God provides in response to prayer, and we reply in flip with heartfelt gratitude, he will get the glory as the great giver. The truth is, we will’t come to God with out believing that he rewards us (Heb. 11:6).

Elsewhere, Greear exhorts us to not ask God to do what he has already promised. Once more, this strikes me as a false dilemma. For instance, when God guarantees to strengthen us and assist us (Isa. 41:10), it’s not faithless however as a substitute devoted to ask that he customise that promise and ship that assist for right this moment’s circumstances. Right here’s one other instance: God guarantees to present us knowledge, however James explicitly invitations us to ask for it (1:5).

Watch out for studying a ebook on prayer with out praying (even simply to write down a assessment). Hypocritical whited sepulchers come to thoughts (Matt. 23:27). Whereas studying Simply Ask, I prayed that God would assist me see what I must see, do what I must do, and grow to be what I must grow to be. Hopefully, Greear’s ebook will put many others onto the identical behavior.

Sam Crabtree is a pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. He’s the creator of Working towards Thankfulness: Cultivating a Grateful Coronary heart in All Circumstances.

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