Imagine Paul just prayed this prayer for you. Paul was asking God to provide these things for his friends. Even if Paul didn’t particularly have you in mind, all these years later let me direct this prayer to you. I’ll use Paul’s words because they are just that good. And timely.
Am I the only one that feels overwhelmed when I turn on the news? I’ve started getting my news from a Christian source that has already sifted through all the noise of the media to pick the stories that seem to be most fact-filled. As a writer, it’s hard to admit that other writers (journalists) are seemingly being manipulated by society to write with a certain slant or bias. Have you noticed that the same stories sound different depending on who is telling the story?
Have you ever been an athlete training for a big game or sporting event? It wasn’t until I was in my fifties that I really understood the intense discipline it takes athletes to prepare. I thought being a kickboxing instructor had been the epitome of my athleticism until my husband and I found a karate dojo in our new town. We began training for our black belt certification, and I’ll never forget the grueling four-hour test of my strength, will, and endurance.
Paul’s talk of running a race and being disciplined in training brought all those memories back for me. It’s also helpful to note that Paul’s original audience would have been very familiar with a sporting event, much like the Olympics, which was held every two years in Corinth called the Isthmian Games. Paul’s words would have been very powerful because of this association.
Did you get goosebumps or simply weep when you realized Jesus was praying for you in today’s reading on prayer? It doesn’t matter that we weren’t one of the followers walking in person with Jesus. We are walking with him now! What a beautiful plea on our behalf to God the Father!
Jesus would have precisely known the right words to say. He knew the human frailty that limits each of us. He had firsthand knowledge of the evil one’s schemes to mess us up and get us off track. What applied to his closest followers also applies to us when we accept his call on our lives, that is when we devote ourselves to living the Great Commission we read about in our reading from Acts 2.
We continue to witness history being made as Solomon, in front of all Israel, prays this dedication. I love the clues we can get from this prayer for our own prayer life. Solomon says, “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in all of heaven above or on the earth below.”
Did you notice how he starts out this prayer? Solomon speaks to God with admiration and awe. Wouldn’t you agree this is a great way to start a prayer? Get our hearts and mind straight on the truth. It will also get God’s attention!
Can you recall a time when you cried out to God, wanting something so desperately, only to have your prayer answered differently than you wanted? I’m guessing that’s a common occurrence. In today’s reading, we see how David responds.
In the time of earnest asking (or pleading), David kept himself set apart from his normal routine. He was fervent in his plea to God to spare his son. David knew God’s proclamation of death for the child was a result of his own sinfulness. We see David acknowledge his wrongdoing when he confesses to Nathan.