Instant Access To God
Teenagers are among the most prolific mobile phone, text-message users, according to Ben Charny, a writer for CNE News.com ("Getting teens beyond texting," October 28, 2004).
Its estimated that revenue from short message services (SMS) in the US exceeds $US1 billlion.
Up to June 2004, there were 2.8 billion messages sent, well up to 2.8 million to June 2003.
Ninety per cent of tees and young adults surveyed by America Online said they swap at least one instant message a day. Half of those said they prefer he rapid-fire reples of instant messaging over the delaed interchange of email. But did you know that such service has been around for millennia? It is prayer!
1. How prompt is God in hearing and answering our prayers?
Isaiah 65:24 “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.”
Jesus says: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened.... If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts” (Matthew 7:7-11).
2. What does David say God will do when we feel our need and call to Him in our troubles?
Psalm 107:19 “Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress.”
3. What is the best evidence the apostle Paul gives for God's willingness to hear and answer our prayers?
Romans 8:32 “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”
How to pray
4. In whose name are we asked to pray?
John 14:14 “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
5. What does it mean to pray in Jesus' name?
1 John 5:14 “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus gave us an example of submissive prayer: “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (see Matthew 26:36-46).
6. What should we pray about?
Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
7. What if we can't find words to express what we're feeling, or what our true needs are?
Romans 8:26 “The Spirit helps us.... We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”
8. What is the reason why some prayers aren't answered?
James 4:3 “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
9. Why, suggests David, doesn't god always hear and answer our prayers?
Psalm 66:18 “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.”
10. What must we believe when we pray?
Hebrews 11:6 “Anyone who comes to [God] must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
11. What must we do if we expect God to answer prayers?
1 John 3:21-23 “Have confidence before God ...because we obey his commands” (vv 21, 22).
12. What sometimes gets in the way?
Mark 11:25 “If you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you.”
A child wrote a letter to God: “Dear God, I bet it is very hard for you to love all of everybody in the whole world. There are only four people in our family, and I can never do it.”
13. What is Paul's advice about prayer?
Colossians 4:2 “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” or, as the Contemporary English Version puts it, “Never give up.... Keep alert and be thankful.”
Companies "are gearing up to make it easier for teens and young adults to exchage textual banter without a computer or, in some cases, a mobile phone," reports www.theage.com.* A number of companies are tapping "into the yout market's dependence on instant message and email with a new generation of moderately over priced devices that feature minature keyboards. But until recently, the chatter slowed considerably when hey stepped away from their desks. Without a keyboard, wireless phone uers have had difficulty pecking out messages quickly enough to spread gossip."
You'll be pleased to know that God is closer than a text message - and you don't nee a computer, a mobile phone or keyboard!
* "Wireless companies age teens," October 29, 2004.