I had the privilege of attending the National Prayer Breakfast at Parliament House last week. At the Sunday evening Welcome Service Bishop Ian Lambert, Anglican Bishop to the Defence Force, challenged Parliamentarians and church leaders in attendance with this question:
What are the scriptures that are informing your life?
Recently I facilitated The Prayer Course (prayercourse.org) and I was struck by how important it is to know scripture in order to pray confidently and effectively. Ephesians 3:12 tells us “Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.” Luke 11:1-2 says, “Ask and it will be given to you: seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
We can pray prayers of petition for ourselves and intercede for others. When we don’t know what to pray we know that “the Spirit Himself intercedes for us.” (Rom 8:26)
In the final week of The Prayer Course we are reminded “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against … the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12 (Perhaps a verse politicians need to remember.)
Pete Greig says that, “Learning to claim the promises of God is one of the most powerful ways we can pray because then we know that we are asking in line with God’s purposes and wielding the ‘sword of the Spirit’ which is the word of God. But I realise we cannot wield the sword if we don’t know God’s word.
Growing up in church I went to Sunday school and each week we learnt a memory verse. I’m sure in my primary school years I had no idea how this was equipping me. Now when I face different circumstances often times God’s word will come to mind. I often don't remember chapter and verse but at least if I have a phrase I can go to biblegateway.com and usually find the verse fairly quickly. I can then pray confidently as I know I am praying according to God’s will.
Paul’s letters contain a number of his prayers. I will close with one that has been informing my life this year. I pray this for myself, for those I know, and for the leaders of our country and our churches:
Father I ask that you would give us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that we may know You better. May our eyes be focused and clear, so that we can see exactly what it is You are calling us to do. (From Eph 1: 17-18 MSG & NIVUK)