Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Heart of Prayer

We humans love to make things so difficult. God, on the other hand, really keeps things pretty simple. When you stop to think of His majesty and glory, His infinite knowledge and wisdom, we really do see only the "fringes of His ways" (Job 26:14). What He has chosen to reveal in His Word is sufficient; we just like to complicate it so much. And one area where we are most vulnerable to this tendency is the area we need to pursue with the most freedom and simplicity of all: Prayer.

Jesus' model prayer to the disciples was very simple and basic in its wording, but deep in its theology. Coming from someone who prayed through the night, its brevity is especially surprising! And yet the model prayer, combined with a few other teachings such as persistence, focusing on God's will, having unselfish motives, and being childlike toward God, is what He chose to tell us.

Are you struggling with your prayer life? Perhaps an illustration will help. The following is on p. 339-340 of Don Cormack's "Killing Fields, Living Fields" - an incredible story of the church in Cambodia. As you read, as God to let you see the heart of prayer through this little boy's story. May God bless your prayer time tonight!

"One day, as I stood interpreting for one of the only two doctors at a place called Klong Wah where thousands needed their immediate attention, a little lad of about eight came up to me calling, 'Uncle, uncle, please come and help me carry my older brother over here where he can be given medicine.' The boy explained that the brother, about twelve, was lying a good two kilometres away in the bush, unconscious in a malaria coma. But I couldn't just walk away from my responsibilities as interpreter and the enormous task I already had on my hands helping to care for hundreds of dying people right there. Only a few yards into the forest there were more. How could I justify going so far and using up so much valuable time for just one? I told the boy I couldn't go with him, but to get one or two to help carry his brother in. Of course I knew even as I spoke that it was unlikely anyone was going to expend their own limited energy on a dying boy. ...

The boy however would not be put off. He persisted in crying out after me, till I finally steeled myself and ignored him. After about an hour of whimpering and pleading, he fell silent, deep in thought. He knew that I was the only lifeline there was to save his brothers' life. Next thing, I felt a pair of sinewy arms grip me round the legs, and a pair of ankles lock around mine. And there he clung like a leech. Now it was my turn to protest. But his lips were sealed. He clearly wasn't going to let go his vice-like grip on my legs till they followed him to that place where his brother lay dying. I was thus compelled to go with him in order to get rid of him. His dogged importunity had gained him the victory. And I reflected as I pursued him through the trees that this was surely what serious believing Christian pryaer was all about. It entailed a crucial element of 'violence.' It involved patiently holding on to the knees of God, even in the face of apparent silence and lack of movement. The older brother's life was saved."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great story. The best are always
true aye?