Last week talking about questions from kids reminds me of this article I wrote almost 20 years ago about a true story from my life when a youth set me in my place with a simple question.
When I was a young cocky youth pastor, I thought I know the whole Bible inside and out. I would sometimes play a game with the youth at the end of youth group if we finished early, call “Stump Brad.” I told them they could ask me any question about the Bible or where something was in the Bible and I could find it or answer their question. Talk about setting your self up for failure. Well of course, a few boys would enjoy finding the most obscure verse or crazy question to ask. I did pretty well at it until the one-day one smart boy asked, “Why did God tell Jeremiah not to pray?” I told him he must have read it wrong for God always wants us to pray to Him. Well of course, he knew chapter and verse, and we had to look it up. Jeremiah 7:16
16Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee.
They all had a good time at my expense, well deserved I might say. I was back peddling and fumbling with words because I had just put my big size 11 foot in my mouth. After a second, I got my composure and read the verse in context.
If you read the whole chapter, God 1st told Jeremiah to go preach in the city gate how the people of Judah have turn away for God and they need to repent. However, the people did not listen and that is when God tells Jeremiah to not pray for the people because he had decided to punish the people to pull them back to Him. Therefore, God did not want Jeremiah to pray outside His will. Just as we see, Jesus says in his prayer on the Mount of Olives.
And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
In the Book of Ecclesiastes, it says there is a time for everything.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
In addition, we just learned that there is a time to pray and time not to pray. What a profound lesson I learned that day. I was humbled by my youth, which I needed, and that God has a time for everything even prayer.