Making Prayer Word on the Week 2nd April 2022.
As we approach Easter it is common to be like Lydia, recorded Acts Chapter 16 verse 13, to make prayer. The act requires faith that God exists (Hebrews Chapter 11 verse 6) and the belief that He will answer our prayer.
Many admit to a difficulty in that our words are addressed to an invisible God. The God of the universe is not to be represented in wood or stone! This is similar to the mystery posed by Israel. When the surrounding nations looked at her they could see no representation of Jehovah. They said Israel worshipped the ‘God of the seventh day rest’ as that was their distinguishing feature!
These laws concerning idols and rest are written in the 2nd and 4th commandments (Exodus Chapter 20 verses 4 and 8).
However, our God has revealed Himself most perfectly in Jesus (St John Chapter 14 verse 9). We cannot see Jesus now nor can we see the Holy Spirit. We are to use the ‘eyes’ of our understanding as the King James Version quaintly puts it until Jesus returns when we will exchange faith for sight (1 Corinthians Chapter 13 verse 12/13).
Until then we are empowered to use His Name, not as a magic formula, but as our authority (St John Chapter 14 verses 13 to 14). This is why prayers are frequently ended by evoking the name of Jesus. The discouraged Ephesians received this prayer from the imprisoned Apostle Paul who showed his concern for them.
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen’.
While we may not be able to pray like the Apostle we can always copy the Tax Collector whose prayer was heartfelt and, Jesus confirmed, was heard. He said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner” (St Luke Chapter 18 verse 13).