8 Mar 2012
Dear Praying Friends,
Have you critically considered the choices that Jesus made during His three plus years of ministry? For example why did He choose to go through Samaria? We are told that it was necessary for Him to go through Samaria. We are not told why it was necessary, only that He arrived at a town called Sychar where Jacob had previously dug a well.
Think about this choice, Jesus being the Son of God and God the Son decided not to go into town where the people were, but to rather rest by the well of Jacob. While there He chose to engage a Samaritan woman, something that was not done in that day, a Jewish man engaging a Samaritan woman. Is this the way we do ministry today? When we are trying to reach an entire town do we focus on a single person, like this Samaritan Woman? Of course we know the rest of the story and today it does not seem that unusual that Jesus would do such a thing. However if we were to actually make this kind of choice in our ministry we would no doubt be considered very unusual.
Yes, I agree, Jesus is God and as such He possessed considerable knowledge concerning this woman. Yet Jesus Himself said that since He is going away and He is sending us His Holy Spirit to indwell each of us, we would do greater works than this. Perhaps one deterrent to our doing these greater works is our passion for big.
Let’s put ourselves in Jesus’ shoes. Here we are planning to reach this town of Sychar. Our resource is twelve men. How would we go about this task? Perhaps we would assign one person to get in touch with the Sychar Synagogue and line up a time for Jesus to make a presentation. A couple of the other folks would then be assigned to copy flyers and put them up on all the palm trees lining the main roads. Three others would be assigned to set up prayer cells to pray for the Synagogue presentation; while the others would work diligently to pull together a small feast to help draw the Sychar citizens to the Synagogue presentation.
It seems we have lost the reality of the power of one person coming to faith in Jesus and being discipled. We seem to much prefer organization and production and particularly big numbers. Yes, Jesus did speak to the multitudes. But He did not pursue them. He did not plan a program to get them to keep coming, but rather He intentionally focused on a few. He often spoke in riddles to the masses and then later explained the truth of His teaching to His twelve disciples. Does it seem to you that our choices are often much different than those of Jesus?Consider this choice: John 5:13 (NASB77) “But he who was healed did not know who it was; for Jesus had slipped away while there was a crowd in that place.” Jesus had the perfect opportunity to draw a crowd after this healing miracle; in fact the crowd was already assembled. Yet Jesus, rather than preaching to this crowd, used the crowd as cover to slip away unnoticed.
What about Jesus’ prayer life? What kind of choices did He make in this arena?
Mark 6:45-46 (NASB77)
45 And immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the multitude away.
46 And after bidding them farewell, He departed to the mountain to pray.
Of course the context for these verses is Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand. A miracle of this magnitude would seem to cry out for some celebration or at least an encore. But Jesus’ choice was to send everyone away, first His disciples and then the multitude and immediately He departed to pray.
Jesus not only sought to be alone with His disciples, but He regularly sought to be alone with His Father. Could it be that the time Jesus spent alone in the presence of His Father was the primary driving force behind the choices that He made? Could this be a key to help us make the kind of illogical choices that bring an entire town to the feet of the Savior? Could it be that the priority that Jesus placed on prayer flowed out of His knowledge of His Father and the Father’s purpose for, and HIs power through prayer?
Prayer rarely looks big. Prayer is seldom highly organized. Prayer uncommonly grabs the headlines. God’s people of prayer often go unnoticed by men. Men and women of authentic prayer never go unnoticed by God. Prayer properly perceived is one of the most intimate means of worship that God has availed to mankind. Oh, how God loves to hear His people pray. He delights to provide answers to our earnest cries and even much more when we ask in accordance to His will.
Jesus taught us to pray in this way ….. Our Father who art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. This part of Jesus’ model pray focuses our hearts on where God is, keeping His name holy and bringing maximum glory to His name and to His kingdom. This is both how and why we must pray for revival. We must pray for revival in our churches. We must personally begin to diligently seek to humble ourselves, and pray and seek His face and turn from our wicked ways, in order that God will hear from heaven, forgive our sins, and heal our land. In each of these authentic choices God will get the glory! Will you chose to pray?