of the most beautiful ways I have found to pray is to slowly and deliberately pray
through each phrase of the Lord’s Prayer and meditate the meaning. For example,
Father” – He is my father. A perfect
Father. A good, good Father. A Father full of love and understanding. A protector.
A guide. And, he is your Father,
art in Heaven” – He makes the heavens His dwelling place. He is high and lifted up. Heaven seems a long, long way away, but His name,
Immanuel, means God with us. He is in
Heaven, but also with me. He can do that
because He is God.
be thy name” – Not my name. Not me, but
Him. He is hallowed. He is holy.
It is all about Him. His name is
to be praised.
love to pray that way through Scripture.
was reading John Wesley’s writings when he addressed the phrase found just
before the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:8 saying; “Your Father knoweth what
things ye have need of, before you ask him”—we do not pray to inform God of our
wants. Omniscient as He is, He cannot be
informed of any thing which He did not know before…The chief thing lacking is a
proper disposition on our part to receive His grace and blessing. Consequently, one great function of prayer is
to produce such a disposition in us: to exercise our dependence on God; to
increase our desire of the things we ask for; to make us so sensible of our
needs that we may never cease wrestling till we have prevailed for the
for a blessing? Praying through? That is an old thing I heard my grandparents
talk about. I don’t hear it spoken about
today. Praying through is the sense of having been heard by God as well as a
sense of being finished with that particular prayer. There are many examples in Scripture. One is Paul’s prayer about his thorn in the
flesh. He prayed three times that it
might depart. That might not mean a
simple matter of three prayers, but a matter of three seasons of prayer. He held on in prayer and God answered, “No.”
that! We think if we pray and pray we
will get what we want. Like a child in
the grocery store begging for candy, we think we will prevail. But God’s answer does not come because we beg
and cry. It comes for our benefit. God knew for Paul’s benefit, the thorn was
necessary. Hence, we read Paul’s accepting
reply, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the
power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Cor. 12:9-10).
prayed through and God changed his mind. (Numbers 14:11-20). Elijah prayed several times for rain and it finally
came. (I Kings 18:41-44) The woman in
Matthew 15 kept on calling to Jesus until she was given the crumbs from the
Master’s table and her daughter was healed.
The man in Luke 11 persisted until his friend gave him bread. In Luke 18 the judge finally listened to the persistent
widow’s plea. It is called importune
praying, which by definition is to bother someone insistently.
secret to importune praying is to be willing to accept God’s answer, but to
also hold out long for it. His answer
will not come the first time, or the second, or the third. Sometimes it may take many times at the
throne before you know you have the answer.
But, once you have it, you can go away knowing God will be as good as
Like the centurion who was certain Jesus’
word would be done, he went away confident he had been heard and his request
granted. “But speak the word only, and my
servant shall be healed”(Matthew 8:8).
This man’s prayer was short, but his answer was certain.
And here is the thing I find
about praying through; I go away with such joy knowing God heard my prayer and
has given me His word of promise to my request.
It gives me hope and faith to wait.
Psalm 130:5 “I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do
have a few prayers that are like that.
Some for lost souls, who I am still waiting to see saved. Some for personal needs that only God knows,
but I am sure He has told me to leave the solution with Him. And that is enough. Once I have His answer, there is no more need
for importune prayer, just the need to rest confidently in His word and, like
the centurion, by faith, watch for the blessing of His promise.
“Remember the word unto thy
servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope. This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy
word hath quickened me.”
Wesley, John, The Essential Works of
John Wesley, The Lords’ Prayer, Barbour Press, 2011
old Martha takes a lot of stick for her servant’s heart. I see her bustling around the kitchen excited
to be serving Jesus, her friend. She prepares
his favorite dishes in anticipation of a lovely meal with intimate conversation
as she, Mary, and Lazarus gather to entertain the Lord.
her zeal is dampened when she begins to realize she is alone in the task. Mary isn’t lifting a finger and Lazarus is
nowhere to be seen. Martha probably
isn’t averse to doing the job herself, but preparing a meal in Bible times was
more than shoving something in the oven or microwave. Everything had to be prepared from
scratch. Bread had to be kneaded and
given time to raise, meat had to be butchered and prepared, and herbs had to be
collected, cleaned, crushed and mixed with oils.
she bustled around the kitchen her dander began to fly. Faster and faster she went. More and more agitated she became until she
could stand it no longer. As she called
out for Mary’s help, she never expected to receive a rebuke.
Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things” (Luke 10:41), came the
word from her guest. Those words really
stung. In all of her preparation, she
had overlooked the most important part of hospitality—the guest.
wanted to give Martha so much more than a pleasant evening. He wanted to give her of himself—the Bread of
Life—the one thing that was needful and would not be taken away. He had not come to merely eat. He came to feed. Martha’s meal could never
compare to the food of the word Mary was enjoying as she sat at his feet
receiving “that good part” (Luke 10:42). Martha had missed it.
experience teaches me a few things about hospitality. 1) Most folks haven’t come to judge you by
your meal; they have come to share time with you. 2) When my focus of hospitality is on what I
can produce, I miss out on what my guest brings to the table, and 3) A simpler
meal with more attention to actual hospitality tastes so much better.
Martha’s lesson to my life I learn, 1) Jesus isn’t there to judge me either. He wants to share time with me. 2) Service has its place, but if my focus is
on what I produce, I am missing out on the richness of the relationship found
at His feet. 3) A life of simple faith,
lived sincerely, is of greater value than accolades of earthly praise.
even applies to my quiet time. 1) Jesus
awaits. 2) I must lay aside my activity
and prioritize my guest. 3) He isn’t impressed with how many chapters I read,
how much I learn, or how long I pray. He
is there to speak with me. Question
is: Am I at His feet listening intently
or fidgeting and anxious to move on with my day?
have just finished reading The Greatest
Thing in the World by Henry Drummond.
It is one of those books you simply must have read at least once in your
life. D.L. Moody used to require his
college students to read it once a year while in college. It is definitely a book that will remain in
he discussed the will of God, he pointed out that Jesus’ single motivation was to
be doing God’s will. Scripture reveals
that pattern. At the age of twelve, as
he sat among the educated men of the city, he answered his frantic mother; “I
must be about my Father’s business” (Luke 2:49).
in his ministry he informed the disciples, “My meat is to do the will of him
that sent me, and to finish his work” (John 4:34). Later he states, “I must work the works of him
that sent me” (John 9:4) and even later He places more emphasis by saying, “how
am I straitened till it be accomplished!” (Luke 12:50).
on the cross he cries, “It is finished” (John 19:30). He had completed what God had sent Him to
do. God’s will for Jesus was the
cross. Hebrews 12:2 reveals that, though
the cross was a hard trial to endure, Jesus set the goal of pleasing His Father
above the death of the cross. He was
obedient unto death—obedient to His Father’s will.
should it be with us. It is to be a
constant theme in our lives. “To be
truly valuable it must run through the whole life, be the thread on which
everything else is strung, till it becomes the truest purpose of the heart that
the Will of God be done.” (p 238).
popped an image in my mind. A Pandora
bracelet is beautiful and well crafted.
The charms and beads are fascinating to look at, but what holds them all
together is the bracelet or chain.
Without that, the beads will scatter and be lost.
lives are only as beautiful and well crafted as the band that holds them
together. God’s will, and our doing of
it, is the band. All that is produced
from there are the beads.
So what is our allotted work? What is to be
our core value and purpose? It is the same: to do God’s will. God’s will may be service, it might be rest
and waiting, and it could call for sacrifice and trials. It can take many forms. But our most solemn obligation is to
obediently finish our work. Rather, that
He might finish the work He started in our life. (Phil. 1:6) He alone knows what our work is and when our
work is done.
that day when all our works are cast into the fire, only the true beads will
remain and the thing that will link them all together is the band of obedience
to the supremacy of His will.