If Christians really understood the full extent of the power we have available through prayer, we might be speechless…Did you know that during World War II there was an adviser to Churchill who organized a group of people who dropped what they were doing everyday at a prescribed hour for one minute to collectively pray for the safety of England, its people and peace? There is now a group of people organizing the same thing here in South Africa. Shall we join them?  I don’t really think the exact time in the day is so important but let us pray every day for the safety of South Africa, its citizens and for a return to God and Godly values. 

I just looked up what I wrote before on paper on prayer:

 

Learning how to pray

 

1 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

2 He said to them, “When you pray, say: “‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.

3 Give us each day our daily bread.

4 Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.'”

5 Then he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,

6 because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’

7 “Then the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’

8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs.

9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

10 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?

12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?

13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”  Luke 11:1-13 (NIV)

 

The disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. Perhaps they thought that it was an art and that once you knew the ‘technique’ it could do a lot of good for you. Jesus illustrates His teaching with what I shall call the story of the three friends. Friendships are important to Jesus. It implies some kind of relationship. It is difficult to have any feelings for someone if you hardly know him or her. There are three persons in the story. The first person is obviously you and me and everyone who hears the story. The second person is a friend who has come to visit you at an inconvenient time. You realize that he is your guest, and, according to the rules of hospitality, you acknowledge that you are accountable for his well-being. At this point, realizing your responsibility, you are reminded: I have nothing to set before him (vs. 6). That you really have nothing with which you can help your friend does not absolve you from your responsibility. On the contrary, rather his need now becomes your need, his problem your problem. It is exactly here where prayer originates: the need of the other person, persons, organization, nations, etc. for which one knows to be responsible and for which you really have nothing else to give but the offering of a prayer. 

 It may be important to note that we don’t have to feel ashamed of the fact that there are situations where there are no easy answers. ‘I have nothing’ is the point where we must turn to the third Person in this story. We have to knock at the door of a Friend who can give us what we need. At this point of the story Jesus asks the pupils their opinion: will this Friend stand up and give him what he needs? Knowing the rules of hospitality the answer seems obvious to them. Jesus answers the question himself and gives two reasons why he will get what he asks: Firstly because He is his friend, secondly, and this seems to get more emphasis, because of his boldness. The Friend hears whose need it is; it is the need of the other person, the friend’s guest. Our Great Friend knows that our love for that friend is so great that we will not stop knocking until we get what is required.

When a disciple is honest in his wish that a fellow-man will meet in him a man in whom he can experience Jesus and if he realizes: I have nothing to give him, then that disciple may boldly count on an answer to his prayer. This is God’s promise to him in his need for the other. The friend asks for three loaves of bread. That is what he reckons he needs to solve the problem. Jesus says: The Friend gives him as much as he needs.  The disciple may count on receiving what he needs to help his friend.

Finally, the disciple needs to ask the Holy Spirit to guide him (vs. 13). He may rely on getting help from Him every time. But what exactly does Jesus mean by that? It almost seems that this part does not fit here in the story. This Spirit looks like something so untouchable, so vague. Certainly, He is untouchable. You don’t get anything in your hands. Yet He is definitely not something vague. He is the Spirit of Jesus Himself; His breath that He blows the moment that He sends us to help the other man. It is almost like the imprint of His image upon us. It is the Godly breath of creative, touchable love. This is what the disciple needs so that he can completely identify himself with his fellow man that is in need or pain. His only wish will then be that the God who is love gives him what he needs to help his friend. The Holy Spirit gives the disciple the courage to speak the truth, no matter what the consequences of that will be to him. Guided by Jesus’ Spirit he then speaks the very words that Jesus Himself would have spoken.

 

Did you pray today?

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