This week at our church we begin Vacation Bible School that will happen every night. I have to confess that VBS is one of my favorite times of the year as a pastor. It provides us opportunity to minister the gospel to numerous children and families, to meet new people who may need a church home, and prayfully we will see new believers emerge from the labor of the week. This year our VBS program is called "Outrigger Island: Living God's Unshakable Truth." The theme verse of the week is Psalm 86:11, "Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name" (NIV). One thing that I have tried to do every year as a pastor to build excitement is to preach the VBS text that first Sunday morning. And so this morning I preached on that very text.
The context of the passage shows us a great deal about King David's prayer time with the Lord. Fifteen different times in Psalm 86 David lays an appeal before the throne of God. And the interesting thing is that each time he makes a request to God, he follows it with the reason why God should answer the prayer or the result if God should answer it. This is why C. H. Spurgeon, famed Baptist preacher of the ninteenth century, reminds us that we too should learn to pray in arguements to God. David does not merely go to God, ask his request, then move on to another subject; he argues his case for answered prayer before the throne of the almighty. Was David trying to change the mind of God. Absolutely not! Fleshing out the reason for our prayer is more for our benefit than God's; it forces us to think carefully and critically about why exactly we are asking God to do something in our lives. And when we follow David's example of good arguementation in our prayer time, we will begin to uncover the motives behind the requests we make. Am I praying in a selfish motive, or a pure motive? Is the focus of my request on my own glory, or God's glory? The answers we find will expose our hearts before God and bring repentance when we pray for self-driven purposes.
So brothers and sisters let me challenge you, pray in arguements. No you will not change the sovereign will of God for your life or your circumstances, but you will find your heart changing to match HIS sovereign purposes for you. Then you will see your prayer life becoming more and more like the prayer life of Jesus who prayed in the face of death, "not my will be done, but yours Father."