The Thing We Need More Than Faithfulness In Prayer

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July 24, 2018

Luke 4:16-21

16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him.

21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

CONSIDER THIS

Though twenty years have passed, I remember it like it was yesterday. There I stood in the synagogue in Nazareth, the very same place where Jesus unrolled the scroll and read this celebrated prophecy of Isaiah. Somehow the nod came to me to read this text from Luke’s Gospel aloud. As I came to the end of the text, I believe the Spirit overcame me. I increased my volume by several levels and began to repeat the last line over and over again,

“Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

“Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

“Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

The audacity of this carpenter’s son!

What he said in Mark’s Gospel in general he says in Luke’s Gospel with particularity.

“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Mark 1:15

Luke 4:18-19 describes what it looks like when, “on earth as it is in heaven,” happens.

  • The poor hear good news.
  • Prisoners hear word of their freedom.
  • The blind recover their sight.
  • The oppressed are set free.
  • The year of the Lord’s favor is announced.

The Kingdom of God means the reversal of misfortune; the righting of injustice; the recovery of wellness, the release of flourishing and the renewal of all things broken. This is power all right, but it is power of a particular nature. There is a word to describe the nature of this kind of power. The word is Love—not a soft, fluffy, sentimental feeling kind of love but a hard, strenuous, stretching, active kind of love.

This kind of love is not born in the streets through political activism or do-good-ism activity. This Love is of another order. It is born from on high into the hearts, minds and bodies of those who will get low enough to the ground to join that place of sacred intercession where the groaning of the broken Creation mingles with the groaning of the Holy Spirit. Through this kind of praying, the very Kingdom of God is sown like seeds in the fertile soil of our broken hearts and across the tortured landscape of our broken world.

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10

This is the heart prayer of the heart of God which longs to be particularized through the love-laden travailing prayers of God’s people. In my judgment, this is how the Lord would have us spend the bulk of our time in prayer. 1% of the time on our provision and protection and 99% of the time sowing “Kingdom Come” from here to there; in this situation and that one.

What we need in our praying, more than earnestness or sincerity or even tears, is the audacity of the love of God—the audacity of a so-called “carpenter’s son” to step out of the familiar expectations of everybody who knew him and to boldly declare,

“Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

“Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

“Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

The thing we need more than faithfulness in prayer is audacity in love.

THE PRAYER

Almighty Ascended Lord Jesus Christ, you are high and exalted yet nearer than our breath. I want to sign on to your prayer, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Birth those words in me from a place of love, which is the place where your power turns everything around. Right here, Jesus. Right now, Jesus. Amen.

THE QUESTIONS

  1. At what point is your inner self encouraged by today’s text and reflection? At what point challenged?
  2. What thought or insight do you have about love as the nature of God’s power? And what does this have to do with prayer in your judgment?
  3. What if the real problem behind our powerlessness is not so much at the level of our prayerfulness or lack thereof but with the quality of our love or our love-less-ness?

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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. jd.walt@seedbed.com.

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

1 COMMENT

  1. Can you please pray the following?

    Lord please forgive me all of my sins, and I repent and i forgive myself!
    And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
    Oh ever immaculate Virgin, Mother of Mercy, Health of the Sick, Refuge of Sinners, Comforter of the Afflicted, you know my wants, my troubles, my sufferings. Look upon me with mercy. When you appeared in the grotto of Lourdes, you made it a privileged sanctuary where you dispense your favors, and where many sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal.

    I come, therefore, with unbounded confidence to implore your maternal intercession. My loving Mother, obtain my request. I will try to imitate your virtues so that I may one day share your company and bless you in eternity.

    Please pray that Joan and I can get married soon, and that we can contact each other all the time. and for me Terrence to have a better job.
    Thank you Jesus.

    In Jesus name we pray.

    Thank you from Terrence

    Amen

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