May 31, 2022
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE REFERENCE:
“Then He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, ‘This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.’” (Luke 24.45-49)
“…and when they came in [to the Upper Room], they went up to the place where they had been abiding and, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus and with His brothers, being in one accord, they prayed and offered supplications.” (Acts 1. 13-14)
Yesterday, I reflected upon the first order of business during the “period of waiting” which was to gather with the believers for prayer. How poignant now was the Lord’s Prayer for those disciples who had asked of Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray as John has taught his disciples to pray.” And He did teach them how to pray. All too often we see the Lord’s Prayer as a formulaic power bank. How easy it is to fall into the habit of “say the right words in the right order” and what is desired is what will be acquired. And we need to remember the key elements of the prayer which Jesus modelled for His disciples. But, we need to remember more the urging of Jesus for prayer as the primary focus when He said, “When you pray speak thusly….” While He gave them words and mindsets, He also gave them the spirit and attitude of righteously praying. The structuring and ordering of the heart, mind, body, soul and spirit in the attitude of prayer is far more vital to effectiveness than the words. Perhaps we should consider the “Lord’s Prayer” as “The Lord Praying.” Consider well, the focus of Jesus as He prayed before the disciples. Jesus was aware of the future fulfillment of that very prayer. He prayed it prophetically, personally and powerfully. He was intentional in His attitude and His altitude. He was the Son of the Father to whom He prayed. He was describing a life of prayer, a life of discipleship, a life of service and a life of sacrifice. He prayed with fulfillment in mind: not His will but God’s be done. As mighty ones of God, Jesus purposes that our prayer and prayer life be similarly focused. His teaching “whatever you ask in My Name shall be given to you” was bounded by the Lord’s Prayer. To pray “in His Name” fully expresses the expecation of praying in the unity of Master and servant as One. What Jesus would pray was measured by how and why Jesus would pray.
But, as we look back into the 11th chapter of Luke where this discipling of prayer is recorded, we will find that Jesus gave further instruction. The instruction was about “asking God” for things (verses 5-14). It was also about giving things for the sake of God. There we find the stewardship of prayer being presented by Jesus. It is the petition of supplication. The dictionary meaning for supplication is “the action of asking or begging for something earnestly and/or humbly.” Little wonder that the attitude toward praying became the extended lesson of Jesus in answering their supplication for effective prayer. Little wonder that in their time together in the Upper Room, as Luke presents the scene of waiting, that they prayed and made supplication. What were they asking for? Perhaps they asked for:
Clarity of thought
The gift of blessing which Jesus promised
Yes, they believed it was coming but they did not know when. I have little doubt that they prayed for it to come and come soon. I also have little doubt that they asked for it to come in God’s perfect timing. Anticipation and deceleration. It would come sooner they than knew but it would come. It would be that similar mindset which they would adopt about the return of the the King. Not knowing when faded in comparison to knowing He was coming again. Such attitude and altitude in our prayers of waiting creates a sense of vitality that energizes our every word (the gospel broadcasted) and our every action (the gospel lived out.) It shaped and informed their every step toward the day “when this shall come to pass.” It would behoove us to see ourselves in the Upper Room of our own lives practicing the presence of “prayer and supplication.” It will make our journey through life until He returns more that bearable. It will make it powerfully prepared to meet the opportunities to “go into all the world to make disciples in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” AMEN!
OUR CALL TO PRAYER:
Abba, Father, our home is with You on earth as it is in Heaven. Empower us to take Your Word as the critical voice of reformation and reconciliation and speak the truth in love. We know this world is not forever. We know, too, that we are called to make of this world a better place. Yours is the glory and the design that makes the most sense. We offer ourselves to You so that Your will be done and our will be Yours. We offer to you our faithfulness to the task of living in memory of life and death which gives us the freedom to be who You have desired for us to be. It is for we pray In Jesus’ name. AMEN.