Friday, December 6, 2019

Advent: Seeking Christ Day 6

It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God” (v. 12 NASB).

There are so many wonderful things in Luke’s sixth chapter on which to write. The beatitudes, healing a leper on the sabbath, builders, and foundations built on the rock. This theme of prayer, however, arrests me once again. Two chapters in succession make the effort to note the prayer life of Jesus. Scripture once again exhorts us with Jesus, the Son of God, as our teacher in the importance of prayer. Prayer should not be some rote, liturgical, recitation, though there is nothing wrong with liturgical prayer, I have found some of the richest prose in prayers of liturgy. Prayer, though, is meant to be so much more. E.M. Bounds’ words on true prayer are enlightening:

“Prayer as a mere habit, a performance, or a routine, is a dead and rotten thing. True praying engages and sets on fire every high element of the Christian’s being. Prayer is born out of vital oneness with Christ in the fullness of the Holy Ghost. It springs from the deep, overflowing fountains of tender compassion and concern for humanity’s eternal good. True prayer is a consuming zeal for the glory of God; it involves a thorough conviction of the difficult and delicate work of the ministry and the imperative need of God’s help. Praying grounded on these solemn and profound convictions is the only true praying. And only ministry backed by such praying sows the seeds of eternal life in human hearts and builds others up for heaven. Ministry today may be popular, pleasant, attractive, intellectual, intriguing, and successful with little or no prayer. But the ministry which accomplishes God’s purposes must be born of prayer from beginning to end.”[1]

Jesus spent the whole night in prayer. The Scripture says that at daybreak He chose His twelve disciples. The decision was not made lightly, it was made in all-night prayer. Though He spent that night cloaked in prayer, one that He chose became a traitor. This illustrates that even betrayers may be allowed in your life to sharpen you; to drive you to your knees. 

This Advent season may not be a joyful occasion for many. The holidays can be a dark, lonely time for more people than we care to acknowledge. Let this time of rush and busyness and losing our breath in the day-to-day hustle of preparing for the holiday, not give precedence to slowing down, taking a breath, and praying so that we instead, prepare for Him.

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[1] Penelope J. Stokes, ed., E.M. Bounds: Power Through Prayer (Minneapolis: World Wide Publications, 1989), 40-41.

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