From: Su Min
4th Nov 1996
IF I can ease one life the aching,
OR cool one pain,
OR help one fainting robin unto his nest again
I shall not live in vain
(Emily Dickson, quoted in Chicken Soup for the Soul at Work, 1996, pg 9)
TEXTThe text for today is Matthew_14:22-23. Read ye, and let The Word feed you.
THE CONTEXTJesus had just finished feeding the multitude (about five thousand men, besides women and children) in a miraculous event, with just five loaves and two fish. He was at a lonely site on the "far" coast of Galilee, on the eastern shore of the lake, but the remoteness did not prevent a huge crowd of people following Him on foot.
THE PEOPLEAs we read the text, focus on the three groups of people in this text: Jesus, the disciples, the crowds.
Immediately, JESUS made the DISCIPLES get into the boat and go on ahead of HIM to the other side, while HE dismissed THE CROWDS. After HE had dismissed them, HE went up into the hills by
HIMSELF to pray. When evening came, HE was there alone, but the boat (and DISCIPLES) was already aconsiderable distance from land, buffeted by the waves, because the wind was against it.
THE ACTIONFocus on the action words as you read the text. Have a vision of the action in your mind's eye, and have a replay of the events as they occur: IMMEDIATELY Jesus MADE the disciples GET INTO the boat and
GO on ahead of Him to the other side, while He DISMISSED the crowd... After He had dismissed them,He WENT UP into the hills by Himself to PRAY. When evening came, he was there ALONE, but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves, because the wind was against it.
TIME FOR PRAYERJesus had ministered to the crowd. Jesus had taught his disciples. This was the horizontal component of his relationship: communicating with fellow man. Loving His neighbour as He loved Himself, fulfilling the second commandment.
But Jesus had another love, a greater love, the love for God. The vertical component of His relationship was important enough for Him to make time for prayer and communion with God. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
So immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of Him to the other side, while He dismissed the crowd... there was no time to be wasted. He had prioritised his need for prayer. He clears the way. He sends disciples ahead. He dismisses the crowd. Then he went up into the hills by himself to pray. When evening came He was alone.
Jesus knew He needed time for prayer. There was so much to do. People to heal. Demons to dispatch. Disciples to teach. But instead of plunging headlong into a frenzy of activity, Jesus takes time, makes time, to retreat to quiet solitude to pray.
WHAT IS PRAYER?In the simplest form, prayer can be seen as talking to God. As a father longs for his children to talk to him, so to our Father in heaven longs for us to talk to Him.
How do you have a conversation with some one you do not know? Very very difficult indeed. But God knows us. And as we develop a relationship with Him, we get to know Him. We get to know Him better by studying His Word. We get to know him better from the effect of His hand in the lives our brothers and sisters as declared in their testimony.
And as we get to know God, so much more does our reverence for Him grow. No wonder the angels and the six winged seraphs spend every day and night in all eternity in ceaseless hymns of praise, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty".
Prayer is not the mindless babble of some ritual. If it passes from the pages of print to our mouth without going through our heart and mind it is not prayer.
We do not know what we ought to pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express (Romans_8:26) And those of us that have come to the throne of grace bringing with us great burdens can testify that this is true. Laying our burdens at the foot of Jesus, our inner most being groans with pain and yearning for release, with groans that words cannot express, groans that the very Spirit of God himself uses to intercede for us. And these prayers reach the ears of God.
If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins, and will heal their land (2 Colossians_7:14)
Jesus taught us to pray:
To set aside time to pray
To seek silence and solitude, away from distractions.
We approach the throne of grace on bended knee, with contrite heart, in worship and in reverence.
We pray to "Our Father", we pray as a family.
Not I me and mine, but "Our"
"Father" as he accepts us as His children..
Something just came in on the net and I will end with this piece, author unknown...
I CAN NOT PRAY
~ Author Unknown ~
I cannot say "Our" if my religion has no room for others and their needs.
I cannot say "Father" if I do not demonstrate this relationship in my daily life.
I cannot say "Who Art In Heaven" if all my interests and pursuits are in earthly things.
I cannot say "Hallowed Be Thy Name" if I, who am called by his name, am not holy.
I cannot say "Thy Kingdom Come" if I am unwilling to give up my own sovereignty and accept the righteous reign of God.
I cannot say "Thy Will Be Done" if I am unwilling or resentful of having it in my life.
I cannot say "On Earth As It Is In Heaven" unless I am truly ready to give myself to his service here and now.
I cannot say "Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread" without expending honest effort for it or by ignoring the genuine needs of my fellowmen.
I cannot say "Forgive Us Our Trespasses As We Forgive Those Who Trespass Against Us" if I continue to harbour a grudge against anyone.
I cannot say "Lead Us Not Into Temptation" if I deliberately choose to remain in a situation where I am likely to be tempted.
I cannot say "Deliver Us From Evil" if I am not prepared to fight in the spiritual realm with the weapon of prayer.
I cannot say "Thine Is The Kingdom" if I do not give the King the disciplined obedience of a loyal Subject.
I cannot say "Thine Is The Power" if I fear what my neighbours and friends may say or do.
I cannot say "Thine Is The Glory" if I am seeking my own glory first.
I cannot say "Forever" if I am too anxious about each day's affairs.
I cannot say "Amen" unless I honestly say, "cost what it may, this is my prayer".
If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
and if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the need of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
The Lord will guide you always
He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well watered garden
like a spring whose water never fail (Isaiah_58:9b-11)
Praise be to God!
May God in his mercy be gracious to all of us
Love grace and peace
For any comments or enquiries please write to Dr. Lim Su Min
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