Minister’s letter – Inquiring of God
Often prayer is taught using a scaffold: ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication), or “Teaspoon prayers” (TSP – Thank you, Sorry, Please). Sometimes the Lord’s Prayer is used in this way, with each line acting as a prompt for extended prayer. As useful as these tools are (and they are useful), they do not cover the range of prayers suggested by the Bible.
In my personal Bible reading I was recently struck by Zephaniah 1:6, where God condemns those who “neither seek God nor inquire of him”. I thought “Inquiry…there’s a category of prayer I’ve under-used!” For those in the Old Testament, inquiring of God would have meant seeking out his word from the prophets and bringing questions before God in prayer. For us, it means searching the Scriptures, and also bringing questions before God in prayer! “Lord, what would you have me do here? What part of Scripture might light my path?”
Often our prayers assume a course of action—“Please make this happen”—but there is Biblical precedent for leaving paths open until we seek God’s counsel. A danger is that we never decide until we feel God has sent a clear sign, when in fact he might provide several good choices, or he wants us to use the brains he’s given us. Still, let’s not forget what is a good first step: asking God about what to do!