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“He departed to the mountain to pray.”  Mark 6:46

“He looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves and gave them to His disciples.”  Mark 6:41

“…named Gethsemane and He said to His disciples, ‘Sit here while I pray'”.  Mark 14:32

The answer to the questions is absolutely, emphatically, with no smidgen of doubt, YES!  So if you read no further I want to make it crystal clear what I believe is the correct and only answer to the question (though I hope you’ll read further).

Why even ask the question?  I ask the question because; first, we’ve had another tragedy, another mass shooting in the United States.  They are coming with an alarming frequency and perhaps because there seems to be no stopping them, I heard a new and disturbing discussion on a mainstream media news show.  A tabloid newspaper was taking some leaders to task because the leaders were asking for prayers for the victims, families and city.  The paper was making the comment that prayer was not enough.  The news program went on to start a discussion with the question is prayer enough with an undertone that God can’t or won’t intervene so we’re left to our own devices.

In looking for an answer to the practice and sufficiency of prayer I found myself looking to Him, Jesus, who provides us with the perfect example for all things.  Let’s start off with this mystery; Jesus was fully God, who had been with the Father and had an intimate relationship with and knowledge of the Father and His plan for salvation.  Yet, and here’s the mystery, Jesus was fully man; he ate, slept, cried, laughed, could feel pain and Jesus prayed.  Sometimes He prayed within hearing as an example to His disciples.  Though sometimes Jesus went away alone, showing that He needed that intimate, solitary conversation with His Father.  Jesus shows us just how vital prayer is to our successful existence here on earth.

Now, let’s see the outcome or aftermath of His prayer.  After sending the crowd away and going to the mountain to pray, Jesus comes back and walks on water to His disciples!  After Jesus looks to His Father in Heaven and blesses and breaks the loaves, those very few loaves feed 5, 000!  After Jesus goes alone further into the garden, falls to His knees and agonizingly prayers to His Father for the strength to continue; for His Father’s Will to be done, Jesus is able to fulfill the Father’s plan for our salvation on the cross.  Make no mistake prayer came first.

You see Dear Sisters and Brothers, that is why prayer is enough.  True, open, humble communication with our Heavenly Father, in the Name of His Son Jesus Christ, gives us the direction to go, the wisdom to act and the strength and courage to go forth.  By praying first and receiving the answer then faithfully acting on the answer, it sanctifies our actions allowing us to be faithfully confident in the direction we are going.

So in the case of tragic events that beset us and the world; what should we be praying for?  Well, it would be somewhat pretentious on my part to tell anyone what to pray for; that is between you and Our Heavenly Father.  But I will tell you for me, I pray for the comfort of those in mourning.  I pray for healing and restoration for those remaining lives shattered.  I pray for reaching out and connection for those troubled souls who believe that violent actions are the best means to their ends.  I pray for protection for those brave souls who stand vigilant guard to protect us from evil.  I pray for a turning to God for those who aren’t in a relationship with Him and a reaffirming of God’s supremacy and love for those who have that relationship.  Finally, as I do with each post, I pray for you who are reading these words.  I pray that you  will find a blessing from God in the reading of this and humbly, through His Spirit these words might bring praise to His Name.  So I end as I began: Is prayer enough?   Absolutely, emphatically, without a smidgen of doubt: YES!

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we are so very thankful that You, the Creator, in Your Mercy, desire such a close relationship with we Your creation that we can come to You in prayer.  Forgive us when we neglect that relationship and communication and attempt to go our own way.  Bless our prayer life that we may experience the power and wisdom that comes from interacting prayerfully with You.  Today we pray for the victims of the recent mass shooting, their families and community as well as the innocent victims of evil violence across this world.  I pray for a blessing to all whom may be guided to these words; that You will bring peace and comfort to them.  This we pray in the Name of the One who taught us through His example how to pray, Jesus Christ. Amen

 

“If you then, being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good gifts to your children who ask Him?  Matthew 7:11

“…..yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.”  Luke 18:5

Prayer, the power of prayer, the need for prayer, the response to prayer; these are all things Jesus Christ taught about.  Jesus not only taught about them but He practiced them as well.  We see in His words, His thoughts, His deeds just how much we can learn from Him.

In the first instance above in Matthew; this portion of the lesson follows the very famous, oft quoted: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock and it will be opened to you.  Jesus juxtaposes the limitations and evil intentions of those created to the perfect loving, without limitations, Father.  If we, who are flawed, still want to do good by our own children when they ask or are in need, then why would we doubt that He who is perfect would do even better for His children?

In the next example cited in Luke; Jesus is also teaching about prayer.  He starts out the lesson about praying continually and not losing heart.  In His example, the widow is praying to a judge who is neither particularly wise or just.  The scripture tells us that the judge fears neither God nor man.  Normally the judge would have nothing to do with this poor widow and at first declines her request.  Yet the widow keeps coming back and through her persistence, compels the judge to administer justice on her behalf. Jesus goes on to make the point that God will also definitely avenge those of His who are wronged.  Jesus states that God has patience and mercy but will not be slow.  Though Jesus Christ asks this final question:  “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”.

Two amazingly powerful lessons in and of themselves.  But put these two lessons together and they become a life altering and faith affirming message.  Because maybe it’s only me, I know that there is power in prayer, I know that I have read about and seen prayers answered in amazing ways.  Yet I also know that I have found myself praying for something specific (maybe about this blog site or books that I’ve written) and how quickly I desire a response as well as how quickly, if I don’t feel the response is coming, I give up praying for it.  In a way, I find myself answering my own prayer in how quickly I give up the idea of praying on its behalf.

Now do understand that this is not the same as receiving an answer that I just don’t agree with.  The first lesson tells me whatever Our Heavenly Father responds with, is exactly what is best, what is perfect for me; no less has been provided and no more is needed.  Yet the second lesson tells me that God is always listening; that God has His timing and that it is a faithful thing for me to do, to continue petition Him for those things I believe He has laid on my heart.

The enemy would try to convince us otherwise.  The enemy would try to convince us that God does not listen to us; He is too busy, He is too uncaring, He is too judgemental to answer any request that we have.  Second, Satan would have us believe, if at first a prayer seems unheard then don’t, don’t pray it again.  Satan would have us believe that to pray for something a second time is actually an act of faithlessness instead of an act of faith.

So again, Jesus Christ gives us a life affirming message for us to live by.  Our Father in Heaven wants us to have a relationship with Him where we will come to Him and ask; seek and knock.  Our Father in Heaven does not find fault when we ask for something repeatedly, assuming we do so in the faith that Our Father will act in His time; that His will be done.  The repeated prayer does a couple of things.  First, it keeps us focused on what we believe God has put on our heart.  Second, it reaffirms our faithful belief that God hears our prayers and will answer them.  That is a lesson that can keep you and I centered on the right path, utilizing the right resource, relying on the real truth and living the better life.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we are thankful and awe inspired that You the Creator of all things would allow us to make and truly listen to the petitions we ask of You.  Help us to have the faith to not fear to bring our heart’s desire to You.  Thank you Father, that in Your Mercy, You are not angered by our repeated petitions and in fact find faith in those.  Forgive us Father when we find ourselves doubting that You will even listen to us or believe we should give up if Your answer is not immediate.  That in Your timing and Your answers we would be filled with thanksgiving and praise.  We pray in the Name of Jesus Christ.  Amen

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