If Jesus were walking the Earth today, He would be a master at the art of communicating a simple message in 140 characters or less. Twitter would have been the ideal platform for Him. When Jesus healed the sick, He didn’t mince His words. He prayed with authority. “Be clean!” (Luke 5:12-15) “Take up your cot and walk” (John 5:8) “Child, rise up” (Luke 8:54) “Lazarus, come out!” (John 11:43) He didn’t hedge his bets as He prayed for the sick.
When Jesus addressed the enemy during His wilderness experience, He did so in brief declarative statements. “Man shall not live by bread alone.” “Away from me, Satan!”
I’ve heard it said that when our prayers are too long, we pray ourselves past faith and into uncertainty. When we tag on disclaimers at the end of our prayers – the spiritual equivalent of fine print – it is often a sign that we don’t know God’s heart in a situation.
Although we might never verbalize the following prayer, we often pray from such a place. “Lord, please heal Suzie because she’s a wonderful person, and she deserves to be healed. But if you don’t think it’s a good idea to heal her, well then, maybe give her enough strength to endure the pain. If it’s your will for her to be in so much pain, I guess she’ll just have to deal with it. Oh, and I hope I didn’t make you too angry with my prayer, if so, I apologize. I want to stay in your good books, after all!”
In contrast, before Jesus laid a hand on the sick, he knew his Father intended to heal them. Before He prayed for his disciples, He knew His Father’s intention was to bless them. Before Jesus approached the demon-possessed, He knew His Father’s heart was to set them free. Jesus did not need to add disclaimers to His prayer. He knew his Heavenly Father’s business was all about restoration and healing.
Even as Jesus submitted his life into the hands of his Father, His kept his words few. “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39)
How could Jesus pray such audacious prayers? Did He have an exclusive inside track with the Heavenly Father? I suspect His confidence in knowing God’s heart came from the same place our faith must reside. Fully human, fully God, Jesus needed to get to know God’s heart from a human perspective.
Jesus studied the scriptures and learned the ways of his Father through the ancient texts. He spent countless hours alone with His Father as he roamed the hills of Israel. It was during those quiet moments that he learned His Father’s heart. It was out of this intimate relationship that Jesus learned to discern His Father’s will.
Do you feel less than confident in your ability to discern God’s ultimate will or purposes as you pray for others? Sit in your Heavenly Father’s presence and invite him into your bible study. It might surprise you how much you can learn about God’s methods by pursuing his heart above all else.
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All Bible verses attributed to the ESV version unless otherwise indicated.
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Until Next Week,
©2020 Katherine Walden