Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Power of Prayer.2


"Once a man appeared at his friend’s door after midnight. 'Lend me three loaves of bread,' he called. 'I have visitors who have traveled far to see me, and my cupboards are bare.'

But his friend replied: 'Please don't disturb me now. The door is locked, and my children are asleep. I can't get up and help you.'

Here is a lesson. Though the man did not get up and provide the bread because of their friendship, he did eventually give in to his friend’s earnest pleading, and rose from his sleep to give him what he asked.

Be so persistent in your requests to God. Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, those who seek find, and to those who knock, the door will be opened wide." 

--Jesus

Is this a true statement:

"To understand what Jesus meant 
is the business of life?"

Jesus speaks to every human being from depths of existence, knowledge, understanding, experience, creative power and love that dwarf our ability to comprehend. Limited by the frailty of our faith, He gently reduces these treasures to forms that are simple to grasp yet slightly out of reach to all but those who will "put his words into practice" thus releasing their transformative power.

The things that are essential to the development of our humanity are the things he taught most passionately
Prayer is essential to our humanity. 
It is the critical link to the heart of the Father--the source of our existence.

Here then is a vital element of prayer: Earnestness.

Earnest means "seriously important; demanding or receiving serious attention".

Some synonyms include:

image from facebookfamilyfeudguide.com
  • impassioned
  • industrious
  • passionate
  • purposeful
  • determined
  • meaningful
  • thoughtful

To illustrate this kind of passionate concern consider trends in American society. Many commentators have been warning of the impending difficulties awaiting America: insolvency, currency devaluation, hyperinflation, massive debts, rioting in the streets. They earnestly urge us to prepare for these disasters by subscribing to their newsletters, blueprints, plans, dvd's, books and such--for a small fee, of course! (Which, it appears, is the real secret to survival: sell your secrets!)

One piece of survival advice I thought relevant to Jesus' lesson on earnest prayer warns that "in a crisis, parents will go to extremes to provide food for their children."

"If your neighbor's kids are hungry 10 days into a disaster that has no end in sight and they have seen your year's supply of food, you can guarantee that they're going to do whatever they need to get food for their kids." from Urban Survival Guide

Most of us can relate to that kind of desperation at providing for our children. But would we be as desperate on behalf of "visitors"? In Jesus' illustration, wouldn't it have been easier to send unexpected guests off to the nearest motel, or take them to a restaurant for a bite to eat rather than disturb a neighbor? 

When an unexpected moment arrives to demonstrate charity and hospitality will we be embarrassed by our lack of preparedness?

God's pantries are always full. What level of trust do we show in His provision for us? Are we as earnest in going to him on behalf of friends as well as family? How prepared are we to minister to others?

Let us, then, put into practice that quality of earnestness in pleading with our Father to be a blessing to others!