Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Talk

Say what's on your mind.

This message should connect with the early risers.
For those of you who can't bear the sight of morning, like me, maybe a little more painful.

Prayer is a central focus as we begin our day and for all the day long.
In this year of discipleship we need to spend some time thinking about how we talk with God.
Whether you get up early and head to your favorite chair in the living room or if you save everything until it's time to lay down and sleep, there needs to be time to talk with God.

Jesus, we are told, started very early.

Mark 1:35

New International Version (NIV)

Jesus Prays in a Solitary Place

35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

Ok, Jesus doesn't head to a living room.
Remember, the son of man has no where to lay his head. He doesn't have an easy chair or a man cave.
He heads out to a solitary place the scriptures say. All by himself. Outdoors.
Hmm. Not ready to have the covers pulled off of me yet. Think I'll just pray right here between the warm sheets. But, lets not overlook the true emphasis here in this passage. If we could play a game of elimination and toss stuff to the side, what is it that really matter from this passage? Are we to model our prayer life exactly as Jesus did? Am I to get up in the morning and put some close on and head out behind Bob Love's house to a solitary place?

Some pray in the morning, some at night. Lets toss the time of day out.
Jesus got up. Some pray up, some while laying down. Lets toss position out.
Jesus left the house Mark's account says. Some pray in the house, some go to McDonald's.
Lets toss out the idea that prayer has to be done in a specific location.

It says here that Jesus went off to a solitary place. Hmm. That seems to be key.
Is your bedroom a solitary place in the morning or evening. If so, good for you. Pray there.
Whether you are upright or laying down, are in solitude? Are you by yourself?
Can you be by yourself, in solitary, at home or even at some restaurant?
The idea of being alone, by yourself, no distractions, no kids yelling or screaming, that is key.
No husband or wife demanding your time or attention. No telephone ringing in your ear.
The demands of life need to sit on the curb side for a moment as we seek to talk with the one who matter the most. He needs and deserves our attention.

But, what do you say once you're there?

Getting to a right place is important. Being alone with God is essential.
Now, what kind of conversation will we have? What will we talk about?
How will I speak to Him? How will he respond?
Should I say anything at all? Should I just sit and listen and wait for him to speak?

For the most part, many of us humans think our needs are minute, insignificant in the big picture of society and the world. God has more important issues to deal with than mine. And, then this scripture from Luke's gospel jumped off the page at me as I thought about the subject of prayer.

Luke 18:1

New International Version (NIV)

The Parable of the Persistent Widow

18 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.

Jesus tells the story about a judge who neither cared for what God thought or what man thought either. Describes life pretty well here on planet earth. That dude on the other end of the line from the credit company really doesn't care about you. He just want to collect the funds. Some times, it seems like the doctor could care less. Write you a script. Send you on your way.

Life can be cruel.

This little old lady comes along and finally takes life by the horns and gets life's attention.
All because of one attribute. Persistence.
That's a word worth taking a deeper look at.

Definition of PERSISTENT

1:  existing for a long or longer than usual time or continuously: as
a :  retained beyond the usual period <a persistent leaf>
b :  continuing without change in function or structure <persistent gills>
c :  effective in the open for an appreciable time usually through slow volatilizing <mustard gas is persistent>
d :  degraded only slowly by the environment <persistent pesticides>
e :  remaining infective for a relatively long time in a vector after an initial period of incubation <persistent viruses>
2 a :  continuing or inclined to persist in a course(see persist)
b :  continuing to exist despite interference or treatment <a persistent cough> <has been in a persistent vegetative state for two years>

While reading the above definitions feel free to 'amen' when the description applies to you.
There are definitely some persistent people out there.
I know it personally. My wife will stand over me telling me to get up in the morning.
Usually, she gets the dog and the kids involved. Pulling covers off of me. Licking my face and scratching me. Persistence sums up my happy household in the morning.

Jesus says this mindset should be ours when approaching God.
Sometimes, talking to God might seem like we are dealing with cold and uncaring party, like the judge. We are to be like the old woman. Persistent until we can't stand it.

What we find is that God is listening.
God is not cold and uncaring like we thought. He is there and ready to answer.
The answer may not come right away.
Hang on to what we are asking for and keeping knocking at the door.

Say what's on your mind and keep it coming.
The answer is only a persistent knock away.

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