Author: Ben Fryer
This story starts about four months ago. At that time, I really didn’t know what I was going to do once I left school. I’m in year 12, so that sort of information’s some of the more important stuff people my age need to figure out. And I just hadn’t got a clue.
Now, one night, I was reading the bible in bed and a thought popped into my mind, “Why don’t I work for Compassion.” I mustn’t have been paying attention to the reading. Compassion’s been a fairly big part of my life, impacting mostly through being on a few mission trips with them. So yeah, I thought it wasn’t a bad idea to work for them. This sort of started me exploring different paths I could go down to reach that.
During this past term I went to a careers expo through our school. So I went around to all the different universities asking them about certain courses to try and see how this thought I had about Compassion, or aid organisations, could become a reality. So anyway, I walked around and spoke to heaps of different people, eventually coming to Macquarie University. This was the last uni I’d speak too at the day and definitely the most important. Coming from that chat with a current student (who’s name happened to be Ben), I found a course that hadn’t been at any other uni, and an early entry leadership program that he recommended for me. And I was sold on it; afterwards, thinking and praying about it I really thought that this was where God wanted me to be.
A week or two later I applied for the program and was told that there’d be about a six week wait for it to be processed and to hear back from them. Those six weeks turned out to be a really challenging period for me, particularly in reference to prayer. God was challenging and teaching me things through that time. I really wanted to get into this program, it’d take all the pressure off my studies and just provide that reassurance, and I was fairly confident that this was the path God wanted me to take in terms of my future, so I was praying that I’d be accepted. But at the same time I wanted His will to be done, maybe I’d misheard or misunderstood God’s calling, so I was really torn, and also really confused about what to actually pray about.
There was one verse in particular during that time which I read in a devotion and it sort of helped and challenged me, Mark 11:24, in which Jesus says, “whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” In verse 23 prior to it, and in other passages, believing and not doubting is spoken about. So that aspect of not doubting made praying for it even harder because I’d pray about it, then doubt would creep in, and then I’d worry it wouldn’t happen because I doubted. Looking back on it, in this situation I believe God gave me this verse to comfort and encourage me to keep praying for it because it would happen, which it did by the way. Sort of felt like the parable of the persistent widow, if I keep asking surely I’ll get it.
Now there are lots of other passages that explain the idea of asking for things in prayer and receiving them. A few examples are, James 4:3, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” John 15:7, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” 1 John 5:14, “And this is the confidence we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us.” And Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” I think these verses, and many more, are connected in the way that when we place our complete hope in Him, His desires become our desires. They will therefore line up with His will, and so of course he’ll answer them.
But if we take it back a little, and look at why we’re able to ask things in prayer, and ultimately have that personal relationship with Him, we see the cross. More specifically, the tearing of the temple curtain at the point of Jesus’ death. We read in Mark 15:37-38, “With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” This curtain, which separated the Most Holy place from the rest of the temple, represented the barrier between God and man. Only the high priest – God’s anointed, who would offer sacrifices and consult God on behalf of the people, could pass this point. The tearing of the curtain removed this barrier, making way for the new covenant, and allowing the Lord’s followers, us, to be in constant two-way prayer with Him. We find in Hebrews the comparing of Jesus to these high priests, illustrating Jesus as the Great High Priest, who paid the sacrifice for all, chapter 4:16 says, “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
Another great verse is James 5:16, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” Jesus has made us righteous; our prayers are powerful and effective, through His death and resurrection. You might like to take this time to remember His sacrifice, and rejoice in the fact that we can now, ask and receive, and have that personal relationship with Him.