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Who Wants to Pray… Honestly?

• Scott Boren

We often pray most honestly and faithfully when we are facing difficulties of some kind. The challenge is to pray like this in our daily lives.

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Scott Boren pointed us to the example of Jesus praying in Luke 22:39-46. It’s hard to imagine a more intense expression of prayer. It’s also hard to imagine a more depressing response by the disciples. Scott reflected on the many messages and teachings he’s heard about prayer. So often the prayer instruction amounts to a new list of do’s and don’ts. This seems so distant from those moments of heartfelt sincerity so many of us feel during difficult times when we turn to God.

There are so many patterns in our lives that can become more routine than real. We pray at certain times in church, before meals, perhaps at the beginning of a meeting with other Christians, etc. These are all good things, but it can become routine and will happen whether our hearts are in it or not. Scott pointed out that in the Luke 22 passage, Jesus is not at the temple, it’s not a particular religious time for prayer, he’s not with particularly religious people and the form and content of his prayer was very authentic—even gut wrenching.

The good news is that even when we struggle with prayer ourselves, Jesus is our High Priest (Heb. 4:14-15) who prays for us. And the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf (Romans 8:26-27). So when we pray, it may help us to remember that we are not beginning the prayer for us at this moment, but we are actually just joining the prayer that is going on for us within the Trinity! This is a profound mystery well worth reflecting on. Our prayer is really an opportunity for us to recognize what God is already doing, how God is working in the world and in our lives, and join in.

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Topics: Holy Spirit, Prayer


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Focus Scripture:

  • Luke 22:39-46

    And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
    “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."
    But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death."
    Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me."
    Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?"
    “Nothing,” they answered.
    He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. It is written: 'And he was numbered with the transgressors'; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment."
    The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords."
    “That is enough,” he replied.
    Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives
    Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. [b]
    When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation."

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One thought on “Who Wants to Pray… Honestly?

    Teresa says: Tuesday July 27, 2010 at 6:33 am

    amen!!

    “There is no power like that of prevailing prayer, of Abraham pleading for Sodom, Jacob wrestling in the stillness of the night, Moses standing in the breach, Hannah intoxicated with sorrow, David heartbroken with remorse and grief, Jesus in sweat of blood. Add to this list from the records of the church your personal observation and experience, and always there is the cost of passion unto blood. Such prayer prevails. It turns ordinary mortals into men of power. It brings power. It brings fire. It brings rain. It brings life. It brings God.” Samuel Chadwick

    “We must begin to believe that God, in the mystery of prayer, has entrusted us with a force that can move the Heavenly world, and can bring its power down to earth.” Andrew Murray

    “Prayer breaks all bars, dissolves all chains, opens all prisons, and widens all straits by which God’s saints have been held.” E. M. Bounds

    “Since the days of Pentecost, has the whole church ever put aside every other work and waited upon Him for ten days, that the Spirit’s power might be manifested? We give too much attention to method and machinery and resources, and too little to the source of power.” Hudson Taylor

    “Prayer is not monologue, but dialogue. God’s voice in response to mine is its most essential part.” Andrew Murray

    “There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual conversation with God.” Brother Lawrence

    “As is the business of tailors to make clothes and cobblers to make shoes, so it is the business of Christians to pray.” Martin Luther

    “Talking to men for God is a great thing, but talking to God for men is greater still.” E.M. Bounds

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