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In June, Carol and I took our two students, Arturo and Ko to the 59th Annual Innisfail Pro Rodeo held on the Daines Rodeo Ranch just outside of town.  This iconic rodeo attracts the top rodeo contestants from all over Alberta and North America.

It begins with contestants being introduced.  They come onto an infield dressed in full rodeo gear and who pose in their most daring, defiant poses.  And then they play the national anthem and everyone sings, “O Canada’s our home and native land.”

I can tell you now that singing the National Anthem has nothing to do with how well the contestants will do in the bull riding, it has nothing to do with how safe the riders will be, it has nothing to do with how safe you are when you are having the most amazing time hanging on for dear life to a wildly bucking bronco.

We do it because it is a tradition.   It is put at the beginning of sporting events of all kinds.  It is a place of pride and a place and national honour.  But it is an add on, totally unrelated to the rodeo.

For many of us, prayer is like singing the National Anthem.  We just pray out of tradition.  There is no confidence that we can influence God’s will. 

The book of James in the Bible.  It is one of my favourites.  It’s like advice to new Christians, it’s like a lesson book for the church, and it is like therapy that works.  Most of all it is a book about prayer.   And prayer is the key to everything, because prayer is walking with God and living in a relationship with Him.

But why does it matter?  Prayer; hmmm.  I can hear you saying God’s will is sovereign.  God is unchanging and unchangeable.  Yes.  Thats right.  But God has two sets of how thing work.  Yes.  there is God’s sovereign will, in which God is going to do what God is going to do.  And then there is God’s conditional will.  

There are many things that God has decided that He will not bring from heaven into the world into history unless there is human co-operation with His desire and design.  For example, the Bible tells us that it is God’s desire for all people to be saved, yet people only get saved when they believe on the Lord Jesus Christ’s salvation.  So He has a will, but it is tied to human cooperation.  Many things in your life and mine are tied to God’s conditional will.  So things happen or don’t happen based not on God’s decision but on our cooperation, or lack there of.  

James the brother of Jesus says in chapter 4 verses 1 to 3, “You do not have, because you do not ask.  You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”

One of the primary mechanisms God has established to determine much of what He does on earth, in your life and my life is conditioned by the absence of Prayer.

The goal of prayer is to make heaven visible on earth.  

Paul says, “pray without ceasing.”  Why?  Because it is by prayer that we remain connected to God.  If I was to say to you, “Breathe without ceasing” you would know why.  Because without breath you do not have life, as it is the same without prayer.

Enjoy the summer and may it be filled with unceasing prayer.