Friday, April 10

More on Prayer

Here are some additional thoughts on prayer. Take everything I say with a grain of salt because I may be all wrong here. If you have some insights or thoughts, please share them.

Here is what I've found thus far:

12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and sat down again. He asked, "Do you understand what I have just done for you? 13 You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and you are right, because that is what I am.14 If I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash each other's feet.15 I did this as an example so that you should do as I have done for you.16 I tell you the truth, a servant is not greater than his master. A messenger is not greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
- John 13:12-17 NCV -

4 The greatest person in the kingdom of heaven is the one who makes himself humble like this child.
- Matthew 18:4 NCV -

35 Jesus sat down and called the twelve apostles to him. He said,
"Whoever wants to be the most important must be last of all and servant of all."
- Mark 9:35 NCV

So, the greatest and most important in the Kingdom of Heaven is the one who makes himself servant of all... hm...

"Have you ever noticed that even though you call me Lord and King, I have never really acted in that capacity with you? I've never taken control of your choices or forced you to do anything, even when what you were about to do was destructive or hurtful to yourself and others."

Mack looked back at the lake before responding. "I would have preferred that you did take control at times. It would have saved me and people I care about a lot of pain."

"To force my will on you," Jesus replied, "is exactly what love does not do. Genuine relationships are marked by submission even when your choices are not helpful or healthy. That's the beauty you see in my relationship with Abba and Sarayu*. We are indeed submitted to one another and have always been so and always will be. Papa is as much submitted to me as I to him, or Sarayu* to me, or Papa to her. Submission is not about authority and it is not obedience; it is all about relationships of love and respect. In fact, we are submitted to you in the same way."
*The Holy Spirit

Mack was surprised. "How can that be? Why would the God of the universe want to be submitted to me?"

"Because we want you to join us in our circle of relationship. I don't want slaves to my will; I want brothers and sisters who will share life with me."

. . .

"And all I wanted was a God who will just fix everything so no one gets hurt." Mack shook his head at the realization.

- The Shack pgs. 145-146 -

Do you see where I'm going with this? The greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven is He Who Serves All. Serves all. The idea of God being in submission to us totally freaks me out. I don't think this is the whole picture, but it does help explain prayer somewhat.

Jesus, You are
Jesus, You were
Jesus, You will always be
A perfect servant to us
A perfect servant to death
Even death on a cross

Give us a piture of your face
Show us the measure of Your grace
Reveal the love of the Father
Put within us tenderness
Release from us all selfishness
We'll consider them better
We are yours
Give us hearts of servants
"Hearts of Servants" by Shane & Shane

But also note the importance of faith in this. Faith is trusting in God. It's not just believe in God, it's really trusting in Him; trusting that He will redeem every story. Faith is "complete confidence in a person or plan etc." Complete trust.

8 Yes, everyone who asks will receive. Everyone who searches will find. And everyone who knocks will have the door opened.
- Matthew 7:8 NCV -

24 So I tell you to believe that you have received the things you ask for in prayer, and God will give them to you.
- Mark 11:24 NCV -

24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy will be the fullest possible joy.
- John 16:24 NCV -

So what are you praying for? Does your prayer reflect a relationship of submission to God? Does your prayer reflect a complete trust in Him?

22Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 26Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

27"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

32"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

- Luke 12:22-34 NCV -

9"This, then, is how you should pray:
" 'Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
11Give us today our daily bread.
12Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
- Matthew 6:9-13 NCV-

Think about all this.