Last week I was reading Amazing Grace Lutheran Church’s e-news and noticed that they were offering a class called, “I love God but I have questions.” The title of the class comes from a book published by Concordia Publishing. I would believe that statement represents lots of people. I can say that it speaks for me. I am not worried about having all my questions answered before my death; I just desire to keep my faith to the end.
I actually believe Jesus had questions himself and did prove to remain faithful to the end. Part of my reasoning comes from my study of the Gospel of Luke. In Luke’s book, Jesus is shown to be praying a lot and guided by the Holy Spirit. One particular passage near the end of his life, he asked his father what his will was for him. “Not my will, but thy will be done”, he said. So, even though Jesus was willing to do the father’s will, he was not certain what it was. The next scene is Judas’ betrayal and his arrest and soon to be death on the cross.
We do not know from day to day what twist and turns our life will take. Our hope is that God will remain accepting of us and that we can remain faithful. So important to the portrayal of Jesus in Luke’s book is the roll that prayer played. Jesus’ connection to God the father through prayer, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, was very much a part of Jesus’ life.
I think this is probably true for us. I can say that it is true for me. I have always had an odd desire and fascination with prayer since childhood. Talking to God was just part of me. I have pondered, practiced, and read about prayer all my life. One of my favorite books is Prayer by Richard Foster. He points out at the beginning of his book that the great spiritualist in history started their prayer life with simple prayers. Their prayer practice developed throughout their life.
I believe that we grow in prayer through practice. Daily prayer leads to deeper prayer. Deeper prayer might be described as a greater trust and expanded care for all people living in the world.
I tell my young soon-to-be married couples, talk every day and don’t be afraid to talk about any and everything. I use the illustration of my parents who remained married until death. Every night I remember that they washed the dinner dishes together. As they washed they talked about their day. Usually it was just sharing what went on and the general planning of life. But there were times the conversations were heated. That is when I went to my room. The worst times was when nothing was said. Those were the times I worried if they were going to be getting divorced. Fortunately for me that never happened. Usually the next day they were back to talking and making plans for tomorrow.
I think prayer or conversation with God is just like that. It is day to day. No day is the same. Nothing is out of bounds. Having no conversation or simply forgetting is the worst. As long as you are talking, you are in communion with God.
This Lenten season I will be focusing on prayer. The mid-week services will focus on prayer. I will be speaking to the kids both young and teenagers about prayer. I am suggesting reading material (see article in this publication). The sanctuary will be open for prayer. I will give parents ideas about how they might pray with their kids and model it for their children. Parents may step out and share with their children their own personal experience with prayers.
I think prayer is critical to a faithful relationship with God. Without a doubt, God is faithful to us. Our response of obedience to him is fraught with all sorts of unplanned events and doubts. Only God can get us through them. Prayer is a great gift from God that opens our way to his heart and mind. I hope that together we can enrich our conversations with God this Lenten season. I pray that you will join me in this venture.
~In His Service