In my Wednesday night Bible study, we've been meandering our way through the book of Mark. No study guide. No commentaries. No predetermined questions. We read, pray and talk. After over a year, we're up to chapter 7. Obviously, bulldozing through it is not our goal. Anyway, last night we discussed the part of chapter 6 where Jesus calms the winds when his friends are in their boat. My friend shared a story about her son and how God provided a "calming the winds" moment for her. He was not just restless, but screaming. She did all she could humanly do in the situation to calm him but nothing helped. She finally cried out to God saying "I can't do anything else for him, but you can. Please help him sleep." Within seconds, her sweet little autistic boy stopped screaming and fell fast asleep.
Coincidence? I think not.
This wasn't the first time she prayed for her little boy to rest and be calm but it is the first time they experienced an immediate response .
Did she pray differently this time? I don't know, but I don't think so.
I watched the movie Big the other day. Tom Hanks was and is one of my favorite actors. This was the first roles of his that I really noticed and loved. Funny, poignant, simultaneously light and deep, it's a coming of age story like none other. Josh, a 12 year old, frustrated with being short and pushed around and told what to do, puts a quarter into Zoltar, a game at a carnival, and wishes to be big. Zoltar grants his wish and you'll have to watch the rest of the movie to get the end of the story.
Anyway, God isn't a Zoltar. We don't put in a prayer request and get our wishes granted.
Christians talk about prayer all the time.
It's a conversation...It's a dialogue...It's listening...It's presenting requests...It's mainly for praise...It's communion with the Holy...It's for God not us...It's for us not God...
Countless books on how to pray, when to pray, why pray...
Somehow we think you have to do it right or God won't hear--as if if our actions spark some sort of obligatory response from God, the Maker of the universe.
No, He's not obligated to respond any certain way.
So, why pray? To make ourselves feel better? To appease a glory-seeking ego centric puppet-master God? Because He commands us to pray?
Well, God does tell us to pray.
And it's clear, as you study the Bible that He wants us to pray.
But again, why? Again, as you study you'll find all sorts of reasons, but I guess that is not my point.
If you keep reading Mark to the end of chapter 6 it explains how Jesus and his followers travelled to towns "And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed."
They begged him...
Desperate, needy, humble...they begged him.
The last several weeks, I've felt desperate before God. My whole life, I've been learning what it means to truly trust a huge, mysterious, perplexing God and say "Your will be done" all the while throwing myself on His mercy and begging for His healing and intervention not only for myself, but for others. Trusting and begging can coexist. Look at those in the marketplace who touched his robe.
Beggar poor, I show up at Mercy's door. Nothing to offer, everything to gain. And He let's me touch His robe and I know there's healing. Not always an immediate calming of my storm, but a healing I can't explain. A Light that shines into the deepest darkest parts of this soul.