Archive for May 12th, 2010

‘When You Pray’

“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” The request was not only ‘teach us what to pray’, but it was also, and maybe more importantly, ‘teach us how to pray it’.

He begins with the ‘what’ part of the question. “When you pray, say: . . .” and then gives them what we have come to know as the Lord’s Prayer. It is good framework for praying, but unless you know ‘how’ to pray it, it won’t do much good. And so next He gives them the ‘how’.

It was really the reason they asked to begin with. They had heard His teaching. They had seen His miracles. They had felt His compassion. They wanted to be like Him. They wanted to do the things He did. Yet in spite of all they had tried, so far they were not like Him; so far they could not do the things He did.

In the example that Jesus uses is one of whom it is said, “A friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him”. It fit them perfectly. All too fresh on their mind were those who had come to them, yet they had nothing to set before them. All too fresh on my mind lately are those who have come to me.

Is it not the cry of all who have spent time with Him to want be like Him – to want to do the things He did? I am reminded of something that Hudson Taylor once said, “God does not give us overcoming lives; He gives life to those who overcome”. In the same spirit of that quote, Jesus does not ‘give’ them what they are after; He shows them ‘how’ to get it.

It is simple, but it is not easy. It was not even ‘easy’ for Him. We, as He, are engaged in a battle. Satan and all his imps are against us. It takes perseverance. It takes a ‘stay with it till you get it’ mindset; an ‘I’ll not take no for an answer’ frame of mind.

It was not a ‘go out and claim anything you want’ ticket. We and those we know at times have desperate needs. In those situations, this is His prescribed way of handling them. It was Jesus’ version of what Paul would say later; “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”.

To do the things He did in public, we must first do the things He did in private. He was able to do the things He did because He first persevered in His praying. There are no shortcuts. There is no easy road. To have something to set before those who come to us, we must wrestle it out in our praying.

Fitting is a quote by James Gilmour, recently posted by a fellow blogger. “Do not we rest in our day too much on the arm of the flesh? Cannot the same wonders be done now as of old? Do not the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth still to show Himself strong on behalf of those who put their trust in Him? Oh, that God would give me more practical faith in Him? Where is now the Lord God of Elijah? He is waiting for Elijah to call on Him.”

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