Recently, some friends invited Alma and me to their home for a meal. After a delicious lunch, we asked how we could pray for them. They were in the midst of a serious ongoing problem. They are co-owners of a family business, and they informed us that they were out of money and were shutting it down the next day. The ripple effect would obviously affect the families of all of their employees and current customers. They didn’t see any other options and were facing the reality that apparently the Lord’s will was for the business to close.
As they told us of the situation, I remembered that the last time we had visited with them (almost 2 years earlier) they were having problems with one of their customers who wouldn’t pay them for their machines and services. What they didn’t tell us then was that this was an interruption of tens of thousands of dollars in their cash flow, which obviously put this small business in jeopardy. At the time we were praying, I didn’t realize that the present economic problem was still related to that previous unresolved problem.
After informing us of their situation, they asked us to pray about why the Lord would let this problem go unresolved for so long. They wondered if they were being disciplined for something. Maybe we could pray that God would show them what it was. I asked if anything had come to their minds as they sought the Lord for possible areas of sanctification. The things they shared didn’t seem to have anything to do with the business. So the only thing left for us to do was to pray.
Worship Jesus as the Son of God in every situation
Having no other information, it seemed obvious that we needed to take this to the Lord Jesus in worship. I didn’t know how to pray other than what I would want for my friend. I’ve learned in those situations to simply worship Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Here’s the gist of what I prayed.
Father, we come to You through Your Son, Jesus Christ. Lord Jesus, we are here to worship You. The Father has given all things to You. My friends belong to You. Their business is Yours. This situation belongs to You to glorify Your name. All of his customers are Yours. We are here to worship You in this situation. It belongs to You as well. Father, if it would please you, I’m asking You to demonstrate Your authority and power over the world forces and those powers that control the finances that are related to this business. Also, please give our friends wisdom to know what to do. Glorify the Lord Jesus as we ask in His name. Thank You. Amen.
Worshiping the Lord with your problem isn’t a one time prayer exercise. When a need arises or is known, we have an anchor in Jesus and should worship Him
- For who He is (Son of God)
- For what He is (our means of access to God)
- Trusting in where He is (at God’s right hand)
- For what He is doing (upholding all things by His Word)
- And to glorify His name (by giving grace in time of need).
Then begins the waiting and persisting in prayer and worship. Over the evening and the next day, when the Lord brought the situation to mind, I worshipped Him again, recognizing His ownership and purposes in it. It is such a privilege to demonstrate to the Father our trust in Him and longing to see His name glorified in Christ!
Faith is built in the waiting
Our Father knows what’s best for us. My mentor, Jerry White, recently reminded me that everything comes to us from the best that love could plan – even the season of waiting on Him. When I heard of our friends’ problem, I reminded myself that this is exactly what we need to bring God glory through our relationship with Him through Christ. There was faith in my heart that we simply needed to recognize His wisdom, love, purpose in Christ, and ownership of the problem. I sensed an excitement in my heart as I prayed that God was pleased with our worship. When the idea came to mind that God could demonstrate His power in this situation over and through the financial circumstances in the world, faith rose up and looked to Christ. So we simply fixed our eyes on Jesus and worshiped Him.
The Scriptures teach us that when we wait on the Lord, our strength is built. Of course, it is speaking of spiritual strength, which I suggest is faith. When we have to wait on the Lord, our souls go through the process of sorting out the unbelief, if there is any, and repeatedly coming back to the truth that we believe God is with us and is going to glorify the name of His Son through our lives.
Jesus had to wait on His Father to provide food in the wilderness, the inheritance of the earth which belongs to Him as heir, and for His glory to be bestowed on Him as His Father had promised. In Matthew 4, Jesus went into the wilderness filled with the Holy Spirit. Each temptation was an offer by Satan to bypass the waiting period and give to Jesus what was already His as the Son of God. During the waiting times, Jesus gained strength. When the temptations and waiting season were complete, Jesus began His ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit. The same thing happens when our Father wisely postpones an answer to our prayers so that we can practice worshiping Him over and over with the problem facing us. During that time of worship and drawing near to the throne of God, the Holy Spirit gives us mercy and grace in time of need for the glory of His Son, who made that access and worship possible by reconciling us to God. What blessings we have in the midst of our storms through Jesus Christ!
God glorifies His Son in our problems when we worship
God is glorified in His Son anytime we pray. We couldn’t pray without His intercession for us. He is glorified when we wait on Him without having an answer. As we wait, we are testifying that He alone is enough to satisfy our souls. This contentment glorifies Him as well. Sometimes God works sooner than we expect, and this was the case with our friends. The next evening as we greeted them at a conference, I asked, “Has the Lord turned the business around today?” His smiling reply almost stunned me. “Yes, He did. Within the hour!”
He told me that the customer who had refused to pay him over a year ago called him within an hour of our praying. He hadn’t talked with this man in over a year. At that time, my friend had sued for his money, only to be counter-sued by the man. Eventually he realized it was going to cost him more to continue the suit, so he dropped it and wrote off the loss to his business. The man told him he was coming to return the two machines and pay him above what was owed due to the time that had transpired! We both agreed this was a gracious, miraculous work of God in the heart of this man and a wonderful provision to his business.
Our Father glorified His Son as we worshiped Jesus in that problem! The thought that came to me when our friend told me of the answered prayer was that God answered far more abundantly beyond what we could have thought or asked, as the Apostle Paul stated in Eph. 3:20. You can imagine how we rejoiced together over God’s faithfulness through His Son.
Do you have a problem in which you can worship Jesus Christ?
“Therefore let us draw near (and keep on drawing near) with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews4:16). Problems are God’s invitation to make much of Jesus by drawing near to Him in worship. When we look to Him as the source of all that occurs in our lives and as the source of all that we need, we are worshiping Him. When we acknowledge that everything happening in our lives belongs to Jesus for His glory, we are worshiping Jesus as the Son of God, the heir of all things. Abraham Kuyper wrote, “There is not one square inch in the whole domain of human existence over which Christ, who is sovereign over all, does not cry out, ‘Mine!’ And if Jesus, looking at all of life, cries out ‘Mine!’ the church’s task it so cry out, ‘His!’” If we believe Jesus is the Son of God, then our reasonable worship is to recognize that God has given all things to His Son so He might have first place in everything (Col. 1:18).
I had no faith to know what to pray for, but I did have faith to trust Him and worship Him, and that’s a gift from God through Jesus Christ. I encourage you to worship Jesus Christ in your problems. As soon as you become aware of your need, go to our Father’s throne of grace through Jesus Christ and worship Him by acknowledging that it exists for Him to show His glory as you declare your faith and trust in Him. Also, when you show your children how to worship Jesus in your problems (especially if they are the cause of the problem), you are giving them a foundation for faith in Jesus Christ. When they watch you drink of Jesus and be filled, they will long to experience the same fullness they witness in you. Wow! What a way to live!