When you want to get somebody to do something for you, there are various tried-and-true strategies. You can recite all the things you’ve done lately for the person to justify your request. You can try flattery. You can nag and pester, hoping he or she will cave just to get rid of you. You can try to buy people’s goodwill, offering to trade something you’ve got that they might want. You can make promises of what you will do for them in the future.
But don’t try any of those things when you pray to the Lord, especially when you are acting as a leader of a Christian group. When your prayers are in alignment with God’s mission, you don’t need flattery, nagging, or self-justification. You can simply call on the promises that God has already made. Listen to Nehemiah: “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand” (Nehemiah 1:10).
Through your faith in Christ, God has declared himself to be your Father, and he accepts the obligations that come with Fatherhood. Call on them without fear or hesitation! He is waiting to be asked. He promises a listening ear, daily bread, angelic protection, the Spirit’s gifts, steady guidance, restoration when you are knocked down, and the free and full forgiveness of all your sins.
When he does what you ask, don’t forget to say thank you.