WEEK TWO, DAY TWO, COMMON ENGLISH BIBLE COMPANION
WEEK TWO THEME: PRAYER
DAY TWO TITLE: THE GOD OF PRAYER
SCRIPTURE: LUKE 18:1-8
SCRIPTURE SNIPPET: “The Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unjust judge says. Won’t God provide justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he be slow to help them? I tell you, he will give them justice quickly. But when the Human One comes, will he find faithfulness on earth?'”
PONDERINGS: This section of Luke gives several elements to our earthy walk and our heavenly journey. The very first verse points out that I may get the part of praying continuously, but I tend to get discouraged along the way, though the thing I am praying for is so very worthy of all of my efforts. The human condition lacks patience, and our technological progress only feeds our impatience.
It used to be quite a process to pop popcorn. You had to get down the oil and the corn kernals and the skillet. Then you had to heat up the oil and add the kernals, make sure the lid is secure and then wait. As the oil got hotter and hotter and the kernals swelled under that heat, eventually you would hear a wonderful “pop” followed by countless pops until you had a vessel full of deliciously popped corn. You could not leave the popcorn to pop on its own or it would surely burn. You had to stand there and shake the skillet to keep the unpopped kernals in the oil. On splurging days you would melt some (real) butter (on the stovetop in a small pan) to pour over the popcorn and add salt. The process was so worth it, because by the time you were able to get your beverage and sit back and enjoy the whole experience, the anticipation was almost unbearable. Now I can put a bag of pre-oiled, pre-buttered popcorn kernals into the microwave and accomplish the delectable popcorn in less that three minutes, including having the beverage poured and ready. It is not a lengthy process at all – one of the easiest snacks to prepare now, but those three minutes can still seem like an eternity – I have become more and more conditioned (spoiled) to instancy. I want those same results with my prayers. I want them in three minutes or less!!! Less would be even better! I am the queen of the twenty-four virus seeming to last for months. I want what I want and I want it now! What am I, a two year old?
All of this is a bit ridiculous of course, but there is a lot of truth to the delimma. I believe in and trust in God as completely as I know how. I know to pray and put my most valued and concerning issues in his hands through prayer. I try to do that consistently and with confidence, but it is often short lived, and before I know it I am concerning myself with it all over again, trying to fix it and manuever it and make it all work out the way I want. According to this parable in Luke of the judge “who neither feared God nor man” when I have moments of defaulting back in charge of my concerns, I am to “pester” God with them agian – persistently reminding him of all that concerns me …praying continually about the matter until the matter is “in the books”…handled – either the way I wanted it or not. Until then it is a continual prayer with my Father agreeing that He is able and is at work in the matter to bring about good. God’s time is not my time and my urgencies do not ruffle God.
Understanding that God is always at work and that all of God’s work is good helps me relax a bit and as I grow in Him it helps me relax more and more. I have had several experiences where I wasn’t sure I could keep on breathing in a given moment about a given matter. I was anxious and worried and perplexed as to what I should do and really a mess. I would pray and try to keep on praying, but I needed to know it was all going to be okay. One instance that I can remember when it involved someone I loved very much and I wanted so desperately for this loved one to experience God’s joy in the midst of the storm, the answer finally came – it had taken a long while and I had prayerd and I had confided in close friends to pray with me and time just kept on moving along and then boom – there was the providence to the prayer and that providence was so much more than I could have even know how to pray for. God’s answer was above and beyond the request. It was the request on steriods – wonderful in every way and exactly the perfect fit to the situation. That was the first time I sat back and mused, “Well God I guess you do know what you are doing after all….You are always at work…and your work is always good!”
If the answer, God’s providence had come when I wanted it to come, it might have alleviated my anxiety about it sooner, but it would not have been right. But with it coming – in God’s timing – it was perfect. All of those involved were in the right place to receive and it was truly amazing. God used every bit of the whole situation for His good. Everyone was blessed. From that moment onward, I am still a very anxious person (patience is a gift of the Spirit – not common at all), but I have learned to commit and recommit and recommit all things into the hands of God who brought all of creation into perfect order out of chaos with the spoken word. Jesus wants me to know that this God can be trusted. Even when I don’t see him at work in a certain moment, I am to keep on praying moment by moment if necessary til He has all things in order for “the thing” to unfold beautifully.
DIP: Prayer is a muscle that must be exercised and patience is a gift I must keep on asking for and receiving in order to fully enjoy what God has in store. Be persistent yes, be discouraged, no! Keep moving forward, trusting God and pouring everything before Him in prayer and praise. Help me, Lord.