We often use these words or similar at the end of our prayers. ‘For His name’s sake.’ ‘In the name of Christ.’ We are acknowledging that we do not come to God Almighty in our own strength or merit. It is only by the sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf that we even dare to pray to God.
Why do we say these words at the end of our prayers and not at the beginning. We start our prayers, give our praise and make our requests. But we haven’t acknowledged that we are praying through Jesus. We are talking to the One Almighty God, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Maker of Heaven and Earth. Moses removed His sandals in submission at the burning bush and when he had been in the presence of God his face was too radiant for the Israelites to look at it.
Would our prayers be deeper and more meaningful if we firstly acknowledged the one through we pray, Jesus Christ our Saviour?
There is nothing wrong with having riches; we are told in the Bible ‘the love of money is the root of all evil.’ 1 Timothy 6:10. It is the love of money and not the wealth itself which is wrong. In my area there was a Christian builder who by working hard became rich. Whenever he built a group of houses he also built a chapel. He built many fine buildings in this area as well as in London. He was known for his honesty and fair dealings. He built and established Bible colleges as well as giving away vast sums of money to the needy. When he died he had £300 in the bank.
John was rich in spirit as well as in money. He used his wealth for the glory of God.
We read of these in Matthew 25 though in my day they were called ‘talents.’ I believe everyone has been given these by God but in my case it was probably one. I think my talent is to write, but I have to ask myself what am I actually doing with my talent. Am I using it or is it buried. With God’s help I have written four books, a number of stories, articles and meditations.
That was in the past and was all very well and good but what about now? I am not as fit as I once was and need to rest for a time each day. I am not using my talent as much as I was.
I’m not very proficient on social media with things like face book, instagram and twitter, and many other things I’ve never even heard of. Does God understand how I struggle with these? Does He know how often I’m too tired to write? Instead of writing I need to rest. Yes, I believe He does. I need to remember my talent is a gift and not a burden. Surely He will give me all the strength to do all I need to do. So at the moment I have to trust, obey and rest.
In Genesis 1 we read that God looked at His creation and pronounced it very good. This is our world that He is talking about. I wonder what He thinks about it today with global warming and wars, fires and fighting, corruption and chaos. To hear the news is depressing and frightening. On our own we just cannot be trusted to run the world successfully.
Greed and gluttony are the order of the day while poverty and persecution reign. In our running of this world we are proving our ineptitude.; we are too proud to be any good at it.
‘Return to the Lord’. As individuals we can feel so powerless. We may not be able to influence governments or be able to change laws. They is only one thing we can do. We can prayer. God can use others so together we can influence matters under His guidance and the world can return to the praise of God.
Two friends of mine have just moved house. In both cases they were difficult moves taking a few months. It made me think about the Israelites who took forty years to move. They knew the place they were moving from (Egypt) and the place they were going to (The Promised Land). I sure there were times with my friends when they thought they would never make it. In the event only two of the Israelites made it.
This week it is 15 years since I moved. In spite of the difficulties for me, God was with me all the way. Forty years is a very long time with all the difficulties and dangers they faced. All they had to do was be obedient to God (which they were some of the time)
It’s a bit like our journey to heaven. We know where we are and we know where we’re going. In most cases our journeys will be longer than 40 years, maybe twice that time. Unlike the Israelites we need to make sure we get there.
During the pandemic many of us have become used to praying on our own which has become a necessity. Now that we have so more freedom it is important that we join together to pray. We are urged in Hebrews 10 ‘Let us not give up meeting together , as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – all the more as you see the Day approaching.’
By meeting together we will pray together. It is sad that in many churches the most sparsely attended meeting is the prayer meeting. Prayer is the driving force of Christianity. How can we know what God wants unless we talk to Him., and talk to Him together. God wants our company. Often we have to pray together by Zoom but at least we are praying together.
When I wrote about Thomas the other day, I should have explained that Didymus means ‘double or twofold.’ Some commentaries think he may have been a twin. Let’s remember him as a twin and not a doubter.
I think the character of Thomas, the disciple, is so interesting. Often when his name is mentioned, there is an addition ‘also known as Didymus.’ Didymus, the doubter. What a burden that name must have been. Was it a name he was given at birth, or did his life reflect it. I shudder what name my friends would give me, let alone my enemies. I wonder what name God has given me.
In John 16 we read that Jesus was intending to return to Jerusalem because His friend Lazarus had died. That city spelled trouble for Jesus and His followers. Would they be captured or killed? It was up to Thomas to voice their fears. ‘Let us go also, that we may die with Him.’ What a doom laden statement. Yes, he would follow His master, but it would mean his death!
Then in John 14 we hear from Thomas again. ‘Lord, we don’t know where You are going, so how can we know the way.’ Practical and down to earth Thomas.
The next time we hear of Thomas is in the upper room after the resurrection of Jesus. It was obviously like Thomas to be missing at the Lord’s first appearance (I wonder where he was when all the other disciples were there) On being told of the appearance he said he needed to put his hand in the nail prints. Down to earth again until Jesus appeared, then everything was swept to one side in his adoration of his risen Lord.
We can’t judge Thomas. Just think what kind of disciple we would have been!
I’ve recently had another milestone (Well, doesn’t everyone) Friends were so kind giving me presents and cards but my overall feeling was one of gratitude to God. He has kept me safely for another year.
I’ve had quite a few birthdays now. God has kept hold of me and blessed me in spite of me often trying to go my own way. Looking back I’ve grown spiritually, not because of my endeavours but because of God’s persistence. As I’ve had time to read more during the pandemic I’ve learned more of Him.
I’m excited about the year to come. Where will God be leading me; what will He teach me? I really must talk with Him more.
As a writer I’m often asked where ideas come from. The answer is anywhere, any time and often for no logical reason. I had been wrestling with writing about ‘redemption’. Although we know what it is, it was proving to be a complex subject.
Then one morning I discovered the radiator in my bathroom was leaking. As I began to mop up the water a thousand thoughts went through my mind. I would ring the plumber, but not too early. Would he be in? Would he be away? Would he be in the Bahamas (though not likely during the pandemic) If I couldn’t get him would the electrician over the road be able to help? (though water and electricity don’t mix) One thought was I must pray. God answered my prayer but not that one.
A sudden idea came to me about redemption and how I could write my article. As I mopped up the excess water, more and more ideas came to me. There is absolutely no connection between redemption and leaking radiators. Even I couldn’t put them together. I think the lesson is that God is everywhere and always listening. Always hearing our prayers and answering in unexpected ways; not when we expect.
The end of the story is that my plumber wasn’t in the Bahamas and the leak was mended the next day. I still wait to see if my article will be accepted by the publisher.