BY Pastor Michael Chinchilla

Alpha Course: Who are you praying for?

“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” 1 John 5:13-14 (ESV)

“We tend to use prayer as a last resort, but God wants it to be our first line of defence. We pray when there’s nothing else we can do, but God wants us to pray before we do anything at all. 

Most of us would prefer, however, to spend our time doing something that will get immediate results. We don’t want to wait for God to resolve matters in His good time because His idea of ‘good time’ is seldom in sync with ours.” ― Oswald Chambers

Alpha is a ministry that is utterly dependent on the work of the Holy Spirit. The ministry as a whole is immersed in prayer not because it is our last resort but because we believe that it is our first line of defence. When we think of sharing the good news, we need to realize that no matter how eloquent, or powerful our words may be we cannot change the human heart, only God can do that. When we pray, it declares loudly that the ministry we participate in is His first, not ours first. This is why when we are interacting with God we need to be comfortable with our “submission” to Him. Even the very word “submission” declares that our mission is under His. When we are sent on missionary endeavours we are “commissioned.” Even the word “commissioned” declares that the mission we participate in does not begin with us but something that we join on to. Mission does not begin with us, but with Him. To pray is to say, “Lord, only you can save, we humbly submit to your will, but we plead that you change their life.” Yet, when we go to God it is not with a begrudging disposition, but with boldness and confidence. When Jesus teaches us to pray (Matt 5:6-14), his prayer is riddled with imperatives (commands). Read through it again:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

According to Jesus, to pray is to ask of God with confidence (to the level of a command), without the expectation that because we ask of it it deserves to be done. We follow God’s will because we firmly believe that he will resolve matters how he sees fit. At Alpha this is what we desire. We must first understand that we are under God’s will, what he desires he will put forth.

Then, we need to understand that it is our responsibility to go to him as the greatest means to see people come to know him. God is going to save whom he chooses and one of the greatest privileges that we have is that he allows us to be a part of it. God uses faithful men and women as powerful tools to bring salvation to dying people. Our hearts need to break for our neighbours, friends, and family who do not know the Lord. We must share the same heart as Paul, who in reference to not seeing his own people saved said, “I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. (Rom 9:1-2). Does your heart break for those around you? Do you want to make a difference? If so, consider first and foremost praying for our work through Alpha and secondly, consider getting involved in some capacity: host an Alpha, invite a friend to Alpha, or participate in Alpha yourself. We cannot wait to see the work God does this fall and we are honoured to be a part of the process.

Learn more about Alpha Course here.

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