Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Are we Willing to Pray?

“I am quite certain of this fact: God wants me to pray, he wants you to pray. The question is, are we willing to pray?” (27). So writes the anonymous author at the close of the second chapter of The Kneeling Christian (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids: 1971). He had just laid out for his readers the stunning nature of Jesus’ promises regarding prayer in the gospel John, skillfully drawing attention to the fact that Jesus repeats his promise seven times in the hours before his death—seven times.

The first iteration is found in John 14:13-14: “13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” The final iteration is found in 16:26-27: “26 In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; 27 for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.”

These promises are truly stunning, and so is the fact that the Lord of the universe repeated them seven times in four chapters. If I were to make such promises they would be devoid of power because I do not have the ability to fulfill them. But the One who in fact made them rules over all things and therefore these promises contain a power as vast the One who made them.

On the one hand, this ought to produce much hope and joy in the heart of every believer but, on the other hand, it does leave us with a perplexing difficulty: why, in light of such promises, do so few Christians pray?

The author doesn’t spend much time answering the question, rather, he simply acknowledges that we are fraught with weaknesses and that the Holy Spirit has promised to help us in the same (Rom 8:26). He then pleads with us to contemplate the words of our Lord, lean upon the Holy Spirit, and passionately pursue communion with God. And throughout his lengthy plea we can feel both his sense of desperation toward his siblings in Christ and his sense of hope in our Savior.

He closes the chapter with these words: “Gracious Savior, pour out upon us the fullness of the Holy Spirit that we may indeed become Kneeling Christians” (27), to which I say, amen.

Longing with you to hear and heed our Savior’s commands,

Pastor Charlie

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