As chairman of our Christian Union (CU) at the University of Zimbabwe, I was given a rare opportunity to visit the offices of the country’s newly elected president. The purpose of my visit was to appeal for our CU to be given access to preach the gospel to a particular region of the country where agents of the ruling party had blocked access. The first thing the president did was offer me a cup of tea. I was in such a hurry to present my request that I didn’t have time for such pleasantries, so I politely declined! My petition fell on deaf ears! He was very cold and reminded me that our constitution guaranteed religious freedom, so we could preach anywhere we liked. (His party loyalists seemed to need to learn this part of the constitution.) On my way out, his aide took me aside and told me that as part of the protocol, you do not say no when the president offers you a cup of tea! Even if you don’t like tea, you drink it unless an alternative is offered. I did not get my request because I had not learned the right approach.
In flying, there is the 3/8/11 rule…eleven minutes of the most dangerous moments of a flight: three minutes after take-off and eight minutes before touchdown. Eight minutes to properly align the plane with the runway for a safe landing. Many landings have ended in disaster because of a faulty approach!
As we begin our year in prayer, I want to remind us that heaven has a protocol to be observed if we are to get our prayers answered. Enter His gates with Thanksgiving in our hearts and His courts with Praise! God is not “one of the boys.” Hail Him who is the King of kings and Lord of lords, Creator of the Universe, Sustainer of Life! The One who is before all things and in whom all things consist! Without Him nothing was made that was made! He the Omnipresent, the Omnipotent and the Omniscient One!
Learn the right approach, and you won’t need to belabor your ask because He knows your needs better than you do. His ear is not too heavy that He cannot hear, nor His arm too short that He cannot reach you. He has all knowledge and all wisdom. His power is unlimited! Oh, that we would learn the language of ceaseless praise and worship of the 24 elders, the four living beings and multitudes from every tribe, tongue and nation who stand before His throne! That’s the language of heaven’s court! Sometimes we behave like He is deaf or that He really needs our help in understanding our situations. A broken and a contrite heart He will not despise.
Join Elijah on Mt. Carmel and learn about the right approach. Talk to Esther and discover the secret to having the king extend the scepter, not the sword. Ask the publican and the tax collector in Luke 18 about the approach, and you will learn who was accepted. Ask the centurion in Matthew 8. Ask the prodigal son in Luke 15. Listen to Jesus praying before the tomb of Lazarus and learn about short but effective praying that gets results. Fathers cannot resist children who have learnt the art of the right approach! We are not there to beg; we are there because we have been invited to come.
Do you want to see results for your prayers in 2023? Then don’t be like me in 1980! Don’t crash-land your prayers outside the gates of heaven. Line them up for a safe landing!
Sometimes God winks at our ignorance and gives us our petitions because He pities us. But we will be more effective when we learn the right approach.
Let’s understand heaven’s protocol for approaching His throne. When we do, we will come with confidence and boldness, knowing we already have the answers because we are praying according to His will. How is your approach?