Each week in class, we pray for one student. We do this not merely because prayer is a good and holy practice, though it is. We do this because we need to learn to ask God for extravagant things. We need to learn impetratory prayer–receiving answers because we ask (James 4:2).
Making an Extravagant Prayer Proposal
Last week we prayed for one member. The student and spouse are in America while the student works toward a doctorate in educational studies. They are far from home and have yet to find a church where their ministry would be of specific benefit. Last week, we prayed that the couple would find a ministry before this week’s class session. Extravagant.
This week the student reported back. Arriving home last week, the student received a phone call from a church that wanted the student to speak. The joy of prayer answered was immediately overwhelming, but in a few days, small doubts arose: was it a coincidence?
This week, the night before class, God decided to make his answer abundantly clear: the couple received a call from a church wanting them to apply for a ministry position, serving persons from their country who are here in America.
Learning to Make Extravagant Prayer Proposals
Now, let me say, I am not a good pray-er. Of course, theologically, I fully believe God hears us, cares about us, and answers our prayers. In fact, I pray quite frequently. Yet, I’ve experienced very few answers. If James is right–and he is right–then something is wrong.
This singular experience, this one specifically answered prayer, has raised questions for which I currently have no answers:
- What in my theology keeps me from making such extravagant prayer proposals on a regular basis?
- What in my theology or practice of prayer keeps me from asking answerable prayers?
You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.
James 4:2 ESV
- Providence and Prayer, by Terrence Tiessen
- Divine Providence and Impetratory Prayer: A Review of Issues from Terrance Tiessen’s Providence and Prayer, by Klaus Issler. In Philosophia Christi, Series 2 Volume 3, Number 2 2001.