I’m sorry it’s been such a long time since I’ve updated. Life has been crazy! I pray that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.
You know the feeling you get when God convicts you of something, and you want to do something about it but you somehow can’t find the time, and then you feel convicted again? That’s where I’m at. I’m writing to you not as someone who has anything figured out, but as a struggling brother in Christ to exhort and encourage my fellow brothers and sisters in Him through the gospel. In Him is hope, not condemnation (Romans 8:1)!
Luke 5:12-16 is an interesting passage. Take note especially of the last sentence in light of the rest of the passage, because that’s where I want to focus. “While he [Jesus] was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him. And he charged him to tell no one, but “go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.”
This passage convicted and encouraged me. It amazed me to see a snapshot of the events in which Jesus was so intricately involved. He spent so much time healing and teaching people! It would take approximately 4 hours to read the book of Matthew, which only records a fraction of everything Jesus did and said, at a conversational pace. In other words, Jesus did and said A LOT in the three years during which He was actively involved in ministry!
In light of this, the end of the passage I just quoted from Luke is very striking. Notice that right in the middle of all of this healing and teaching, Jesus withdrew from the crowds to pray. It appears that Jesus may have forsook certain other ministry opportunities to pray. This tells me that Jesus Himself was dependent on communicating with His Father through prayer. This and many other similar passages in the gospels cause me to ask myself, “Do I treasure and depend on prayer as much as Jesus did during His ministry?” Often, I get the mistaken idea that I don’t need God. I see my problems as small and easily managed in my own strength. I try to ignore my humanness and act invincible.
Isn’t this passage one of the greatest passages in the Bible on the importance of prayer? Think about it. If Jesus Himself thought so highly of prayer, should we not also have this perspective? If Jesus was willing to even sacrifice certain ministry opportunities to pray, should we not also be willing to sacrifice any opportunity – social, ministry, or otherwise – to cast our burdens on our Father? Should we not fervently pray as if we believe that prayer matters? Jesus did.
I want to encourage you, as I encourage myself, that our Father wants us to pray to Him. He already knows what we need, and simply wants us to ask Him for it so that He might answer us according to His will! We all have crazy schedules, and it may feel overbearing to try to incorporate prayer into a significant part of our lives. But if we truly want God to do crazy things in our lives, if we truly believe His promise that He will answer those who call on His name, and if we truly want to be like Jesus, we must pray! In so doing, we must trust that God will cause other details to fall into place, even if we must neglect them to pray.
Philippians 4.6-7 ~ …do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
2 Chronicles 7:14 ~ …if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.