October 04, 2007

Shattering Stereotypes ....

Hebrews 5:7 says …

"During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission."

It’s a verse that not only gives us a picture of the intensity and the passion of the prayer life of Jesus Christ, but also teaches us what the bottom line was in his prayer life.

Take a moment in your mind’s eye and picture what Jesus might have looked like while praying. You know, maybe during the early morning prayer get-away that Jesus took in Mark chapter 1. He sneaks away while his new friends are still sawing logs and gets some quality time in with his Father before the business of the day starts. What does Jesus look like?? Is he on his knees, hands folded with his eyes closed in the "traditional” prayer pose?

Too many of us dismiss the vision of Christ not only shedding tears as he looked over Jerusalem in Luke 19:41, but weeping for the city that was blind to who he truly was. We argue off the intensity of Jesus’ prayer in the garden that saw him sweating what appeared to be drops of blood, saying that he was just under a lot of stress. That may be, but I’ve prayed in times of stress before and haven’t even perspired.

This verse tucked into Hebrews 5 reveals that passion and intensity cannot be explained away from Jesus’ prayer life because of “special circumstances”. He was a man who prayed and petitioned God with loud cries and tears. He was driven and ached with a sense of urgency as he prayed. What about you and I? Would we label ourselves as “driven” and “aching with urgency” when we pray? I know that I’m not there yet. But the thought of it has caused me to re-evaluate my prayer times, asking the question: am I doing this prayer thing because I think it’s a good thing to do, or because I know the power of calling out to the One who has saved me from death and holds that same hope for my friends??

The other insight into the prayer life of Jesus that this chunk of Bible holds is what I’ve called the bottom line. It’s the fact that in the midst of all the intensity and passion, that Jesus was heard because of his “reverent submission”. This throws the idea out the window that Jesus was heard by God because he prayed like some type of stereo-type Pentecostal preacher who yells all the time. In the end, it was not about the shouts or the tears. Rather, it was about his heart condition as he approached the throne of his Father.

Let’s journey back to the prayer session in the garden where the sweat appeared to be like drops of blood. After Jesus had prayed all that was in his mind and spirit out to the Father, he ended with the line, “yet not my will, but yours be done”. This is a line that changes everything. It teaches us that prayer can never be “me” driven. Although it may be full of personal thoughts, prayers and petitions, in the end, it is all surrendered to God’s will being done. It’s prayed with the understanding that God sees the entire puzzle and that his wisdom and his timing far outweigh our own. This is reverent submission, and that is why Jesus was heard. It truly is the ultimate bottom line.

So, shake your world and pray to the Father with all your soul, your strength and your mind, becoming a humble servant to God’s will in the midst of it!

1 comment:

Natalie said...

Amen brother!!