Praying: the talking continues …


Q: “Please can we go now? I don’t feel well.”

A: But your party is just warming up! I am really enjoying myself – aren’t you? Everyone will wonder why you left. See – they have all come to celebrate your special day. Let me get you a glass of water and you will feel better in a little while.

Q: “But I don’t feel …”

A: Just give it a few minutes and you’ll be okay. Don’t spoil it for everybody. Please.

How often do we hear. Really hear. Really are so connected that we know? And how often do the words struggle to get through the sound system of my “karaoke machine”? My take on that moment?

The incident above? It is an imagined scenario – but close enough to some (with hindsight) when my enjoyment/priorities took precedence over Mrs Paul’s discomfort/needs. Times when my “we have gone to all this trouble” was more important, when my “what will people think” was a motivator, and when my “but I’m having so much fun – aren’t we” was just too much fun to walk away from.

And then to today’s verses:

“And all were astounded at the greatness of God. While everyone was amazed at all that he was doing, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands.” But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was concealed from them, so that they could not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him about this saying. Luke 9:43-45

Then back to the topic of prayer and praying yesterday:

“Let these words sink into your ears”

But the disciples did not understand – because all were astounded at the greatness – and everyone was amazed – can’t you see the bandwagon is rolling – that the disciples were up there – being feted and admired – having a great time (I imagine). All these people, all this noise, all having too much fun, all the shouts of “they are coming”, all the “wows” and “hurrahs” (I imagine). All the we are changing the world … this must never stop … it can only get bigger … it’s too important to fail … too wonderful to fizzle out: this is of God!!

(I imagine).

“Let these words sink into your ears”

But they did not understand. Did not want to understand. And they were afraid to ask. Afraid to look ahead, to really know, to really embrace a real downer on the shenanigans and the all fun of the fair. To take ownership (I imagine) of what this was  Really All About.

That it was not all about them. Was not even just about Jesus. Was not just about all this healing and flash mobs and bandwagon lifestyle. Was not even just about all the “kingdom work” going so very well. None of it was what “This Moment” was really all about.

“Let these words sink into your ears”

And the topic of prayer and praying yesterday?

Maybe “flash mob prayer” is all about listening (as was raised several times yesterday – thank you each and every one ((hug)) ). But how about when bad news is the answer we (also) prefer not to hear. That “this moment” of kingdom work we are engaged in is not as important as we all hope and believe. Or do we know better? Are we afraid to listen? Do we prefer to beg and plead and push and shove?

(Isn’t being optimistic, being of eternal hope, doing the impossible … isn’t that what being a “Christian” is all about?)

Because what will it say about us if our “kingdom work” falls apart? What will people think of us (and Him – obviously)? Isn’t this – and our part in it – too important? It must not fail. It is of God (!!).

Maybe if repeated prayer … mob prayer … please all pray for prayer … I will pray for prayer is about letting His words “sink into our ears” – my next question is this:

How often do we accept His “please can we go now – I have work for you elsewhere” as the answer we really hear and embrace?

Maybe a loved one with a terminal illness … a friend swamped in problems … an organisation stuttering and stalling … a church limping and lurching … a job going downhill fast … a mortgage killing the family finances (and family) … me not being given enough recognition for all my hard (kingdom) work …

And if – at a personal level – the answer is not the one we want …

How often are we, as a “corporate body” of followers, confident to hear “bad news” as “good news”? How often are we able to see this moment as just that: a moment in His infinity.

Are we really able to see Good News always – to hear Good News always? To hear His answer?

How much does our insistence of “doing” His work get in the way of “doing His work”? How much does our praying … get in His way?

Hmmmm …. the thinking continues …

Advertisements

11 thoughts on “Praying: the talking continues …

  1. I always end up in thought after reading your post. Sometimes its day’s before I can respond. I like words that cause me to think.I was myself just thinking last night about not getting the answer in prayer from God i thought I might. You know bad news. At least it seemed that way to me. How little I know about his way’s. I pray I learn to accept what ever God brings to me. You know here is another thought dear Paul. What if when we pray and say God change me, God make me like you, God use me. Then something difficult or terrible happens in our life. This something changes us forever. Draws us closer to him. Makes us more like him. I wonder if through our failures and trials and horrible things that happen we find our strength and our character changes to more like him. After all Jesus was a man of great suffering. Just a thought on prayer. Our voices to God is a sweet sweet sound.

    Much love Tom

    P.S. We will walk to remember Kelly today.

    • Tom, your two posts yesterday were the crispest, cleanest, most thought provoking words I have seen on prayer.

      I am beginning to think this prayer stuff is like “offering to help” – and the response is “Yes please could you clean the gutters/sweep the floor/make the tea” – and all the things I am much more “skilled and trained” to do are completely ignored! That when I offered to “help” – what I really meant is the exciting/skilled/nice stuff – the stuff I want to do – not the stuff that is actually needed!

      And enjoy your walk. I guess you guys do that every day within your family – so to share that with your/her community … that will be emotional! ((hug))

  2. Paul – I’m still pondering your last prayer post. My hubs and I even discussed things twice. I had so much to say in comment that I hesitate – too much typing 😉
    Thoughts of us hopping over to you to meet at the pub sounded easier – but costly – haha
    So, I am pondering some more……… we had a lot of good encouraging (I think) thoughts for this topic.
    One thing I do know – God has a perspective – from above – that sees everything. The beginning and the end and all the in between for each of us. I do believe that we can obtain His perspective (after all, He does dwell inside of us) – that is what I ask of Him – to see what He sees – to give me more of the complete picture. I’m slowly receiving more of that……………………………….
    ❤ cate

    • Cate, what a gorgeous comment at so many levels! Thank you (and to Mr C)!

      Your comment: “that is what I ask of Him – to see what He sees” resonates with others – that praying is more about listening to Him, to understanding, to “obtaining” not “a result” but an awareness. All of that thinking resonates with me and my relationship with the Lord I know.

      So right now, all these comments are “circling the wagons” for me – still with a curiosity with the coming together and “let us pray” lists .

      Love this church and the honesty.

  3. Good one, Paul. When we pray it is understood that it is His will that we want done. I don’t pray to try to get God to answer it according to my wishes or desires. I don’t always know what’s best. When it comes to Kingdom work I understand that it is His work, not mine. Anything good that may come of it is because of Him, not me. I’m just a tool in the process. That’s why God receives the glory for it being accomplished. Notice also in your passage “that the meaning was concealed to them and they couldn’t understand it”. It wasn’t necessarily because they didn’t want to understand, but couldn’t. That’s a whole other subject. I love you man. I’m having in great time in Portland with the youngest grand daughter. 😀

    • Levi, thank you. And thank you for the distinction in wouldn’t/couldn’t.

      We took our grandsons to church yesterday. The one year old played, and the four year old sat on my knee the whole time – engrossed! With me singing, with the hall singing, with the minister at the front, with the whole thing. And in the middle of my wonder at his response – he peed mightily over both of us. Seemed like kind of a reminder to remember the practical things as well as the spiritual!! 🙂

  4. I’ve read that bit in Luke many time, but I never really saw it. Thanks so much for helping me to let it ‘sink in’. I’ve been a Christian all my life (well, since I was six). Prayer to me is like water to a fish–I rarely notice it. But prayer is so special and so strange and so important. Thanks for helping me notice the water.

    • Ruth, your comment: “Prayer to me is like water to a fish–I rarely notice it.” is so concise but so all-embracing (I think) for so many. Like breathing it is just “what we do” without questioning why or what …

      And your comment has just sparked another train of thought.

      Thank you for joining in the conversation! 🙂

  5. Pingback: Prayer … it ain’t heavy | Just me being curious

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s