The Bible records several different occasions on which Jesus prayed. He taught the disciples to pray, though the Lord’s Prayer is something of a misnomer; we should rightly call that the Model Prayer or even the Disciples Prayer. Jesus always spent extra time in prayer before a big event, sometimes praying all night. He regularly went out alone very early each morning to pray, and even though he had some harsh words regarding public prayer we have a few of his prayers recorded, including the High Priestly Prayer of John 17. But every year at this time there is always one in particular I come back to. Continue reading
A couple of days ago I published The Challenge to be Christ-Like on the blog Life in Mordor. It’s a group blog that I contribute to. In Luke 23:34, while Jesus is hanging on the cross, he prays “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” How can anyone be that Christ like? Perhaps some have given sacrificially, prayed for our enemies, served on the mission field, maybe even given up their own life to save another. Jesus prayed the prayer of intercession for the very people mocking him while they crucified him. And we are commanded to have the same mind in us (Phil 2).
As I have continued to think about this challenge, I am reminded of a couple of things. One, we are never tempted beyond what we can bear. God knows what we are made of, and he has searched and knows each heart. As we learn from Job, the devil is on a leash. Even when he’s the devil, he’s God’s devil. Secondly, and more importantly, is the promise that God’s grace is sufficient to meet each need. His grace provides our daily bread, as Jesus taught us to pray and history demonstrates in Exodus with the heavenly manna. When Elijah asks the widow to feed him (1 Kings 17) she was just about to make one cake for herself, one for her son, and then they were both going to starve to death. By God’s grace, she makes three cakes and they each have a small meal. The next day, there was enough flour and oil for one more day; and the same the next day, and the next day, and the next day. There was always just enough; the Bible never says one morning the bowl was full of flour, nor the bottle full of oil. God’s grace was sufficient daily.
By the way, the original challenge was about being Christ-like to the extreme. I asked who besides Jesus himself could do what he did on the cross. Read Acts chapter 7. As Stephen is being stoned to death, he prays in verse 60 “Do not hold this sin against them.” It’s one of those “With God all things are possible” moments. When the time comes, his grace is sufficient for whatever he has called us to.