The need of the hour

The need of the hour is not in our own ingenuity. We need to be smart, to be sure, but it is not necessarily “being smarter” that is the need of the hour.

The need of the hour is not more labor. Hard work is necessary, but hard labor only gets us so far.

The need of the hour is prayer. Bold, audacious prayer. Prayer that won’t give up. Prayer that won’t stop even if it gets to the point of embarrassing. This is the need of the hour. God, save me from my own laziness.

I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need. (Luke 11:8, NIV)

 

The questions of prayer

Luke 10:1-11:13 is about basic discipleship. I quite frequently let the chapter breaks (which were added centuries later) effect how I read a unit. I think the unit here is from 10:1 to 11:13.

Four basic things concerning discipleship:
1. Bold proclamation
2. Radical love for the neighbor
3. Intimate worship with Jesus
4. Bold prayer with the Father

This passage has drawn me in over the past two weeks and I’ve not really left it.

The challenge this morning is prayer and some tough questions in my own life.

Am I truly dependent on the Father? Prayer will expose that. If I am not praying, trust is not there. If I am shallow in my prayers (where I tend to breeze through a list or just let a worship song “do it” for me, as examples), I am hiding. But when I am there, waiting… listening… reading the Word and allowing it to soak in… and then asking him for the basic stuff of life… prayer happens. Trust is there. I am leaning on him. I am dependent.

I am always questioning my boldness. Over the past 2 plus years it has risen dramatically. Now that I have led my congregation off a proverbial cliff, it’s far more real. There are days I will easily confess I do NOT like bold prayers. Soft prayers were much easier.

All I have needed, HE has provided. It’s beyond finances. I have learned about business start up, insurance, taxes, state legal filings, property issues, and even city issues I thought I had a grasp on… all in the last six months. He is there for the practical stuff. All I have needed he truly has provided. Sometimes we separate this stuff out. We think, “Well, it’s ‘business’ so there’s not much ‘spiritual’ to it.” I have learned that I need the Spirit to lead the way. Jesus really knows how to guide me. He guides me to the right people, the right conversations, the right resources, and then empowers me to hear, to ask smarter questions, and to follow through.

God is in our business, and that doesn’t mean he is there because I put that fish symbol in my window. He is there because I get up every morning and think, “Dear GOD, I have no idea what I’m doing!” and he is there to say, “I think I can help you through this one. Let’s go.”

Prayer is radical trust. If I am NOT in prayer, I am not really trusting.

Those are the tough questions of prayer for me.

Half Baked Asking

Compare two stories about asking in 2 Kings.

In the first story we have Elisha. Elijah asks him what he wanted and Elisha immediately stated boldly, “A double portion.” He wanted the inheritance of the first born. He wanted the legacy of Elijah to rest with him. Bold. Decisive.

The second story is the end of Elisha’s life and Jehoash the king comes for a visit. One of the things Elisha has Jehoash do is take a bundle of arrows and strike it on the ground. Jehoash half-heartedly strikes the ground three times. Elisha is furious. God would work on Jehoash’s behalf, but not as fully as if Jehoash had been insistent in pounding those arrows on the ground.

We need bold prayers.

Don’t be Jehoash. Be Elisha.