Pathway’s 40 days of prayer campaign runs from Wednesday, February 14 to Saturday, March 31. Join us as we unite as a church in prayer. Our theme verse for the campaign is 2 Chronicles 7:14. Starting on Wednesday, February 14, join your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ as we all pray together at 7:14am and 7:14pm. Devotionals and prayer topics will be posted on FB and on our website on a regular basis. Be sure to let us know what’s on your mind and heart throughout these 40 days by using #PBCPRAY40 wherever you post!
This is the beginning of the parable of the persistent widow. Jesus taught His disciples and He speaks the same words to us today that we need to be consistent and constant in our prayers. But it takes Fatih to continue praying through God’s silence.
George Mueller (1805-1898), the 19th century evangelist whose substantial social welfare ministry was based solely upon prayer began praying for the salvation of five friends. He prayed for them everyday without fail. After a short period of time one person came to faith and then another, but it took more than five years for the next friend to come to know Jesus. Still there were two left and more than fifty years later, those last two friends still remained unconverted. Yet not a single day went by that George didn’t pray for their souls. Although it seemed hopeless, he wrote these words, “But I hope in God, I pray on, and look for the answer. They are not converted yet, but they will be.” And they were! But not until after George Mueller’s death. George Mueller is renowned to be a person of prayer and faith and it was demonstrated throughout his life and ministry with lasting impact to this day. His life was living testimony of the parable of the persistent widow.
At the end of the parable Jesus asked, “will He find faith on earth?” May He find faith in us as we pray.
Jacob is on his way home, but in order to get there he needs to go through his brother Esau, whom he betrayed by stealing the birthright and his father’s blessing from. Jacob is scared, because he remembers the threats to kill him that Esau had spewed the last time he saw him and now Esau is on his way to meet Jacob with 400 men!
In this moment, Jacob does everything in his power to save himself and his family. He schemes to appease Esau’s anger by giving him many gifts and if that doesn’t work, then by splitting his family, the chances of survival for the most loved amongst them would increase.
But then the LORD shows up and they wrestle and Jacob is transformed. He has a new name, Israel, and a new attitude—humility.
In many ways we are like Jacob. We plan and do what we want and then we wrestle with God trying to convince Him to go along with whatever we want. However sometimes we just need to wrestle with God because it reminds us of how awesome He really is and how little we really are. God is awesome in mercy and love because we do not die when we wrestle with Him. We are so small, because even though it seems like we’re got everything under control, God comes and puts out our hip joint and proves who’s really in control.
The most common answer I get when I ask people to pray in public is, “Why me? But I’m not good at praying.” I think it’s because we know that people are listening to our words and feel like they are judging us! Praying in public is nerve wracking. It seems the Pharisees had the opposite problem; they wanted people to hear them pray so they would make a great show of their prayers to garner as much attention from the crowds as possible.
But whether we don’t want to pray in public because we feel like we’re being judged, or like the Pharisees, we want people to hear our prayers in public; we suffer from the same problem: self-pride. To paraphrase C.S. Lewis, humility is not thinking less of ourselves, but thinking about ourselves less. When we are focused on what others think about us, then we are thinking about ourselves a little too much—pride!
In this passage Jesus is telling His disciples to come to God in prayer with a posture of humility. This makes sense because it is about a relationship with God and not about words to God. In this relationship God is God and we are but His creation.
The movie The End of the Spear recounts the lives of missionary families living in the jungles of central America, in order to share the gospel with the ‘Waodani’ people of Ecuador. Although the Waodani people were known to be fierce warriors that were hostile to outsiders, the missionaries and their families knew that God wanted them to share the Gospel with the Waodanis. So they went. And the men died. Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, Roger Youderian, Pete Fleming and Ed McCully were speared to death during their first significant meeting with the Waodanis in January 1956. They died without being able to share the Gospel. It was a tragic incident that was excoriated by many back home in the states at a ‘waste’ of these young brilliant lives.
Despite the tragic loss of her husband and the prospect of having to raise their 10 month old daughter alone, Elisabeth Elliot returned to the Waodani people in order to share the Gospel. She was able to forgive and love upon the people that had killed her husband and his friends. She was joined by Rachel Saint, Nate Saint’s sister, in the work and in the subsequent years many of the Waodani came to faith in Jesus Christ. This whole episode gave rise to a new generation of missionaries that still impacts our world today. Amazing things happen when we forgive.
When we ask God to forgive our sins, we are saying, first, that we will forgive those that have wronged us.
Living in America is living in a “melting pot” society where multiple cultures co-exist. This translates into us having a huge variety of cuisines to choose from to eat. It is a great blessing to be able to choose between Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese, Filipino, Italian food and a whole other myriad of ethnic tastes and flavors for our meals. Not only do we have a wide variety of choice, but we can mix things up every meal—cereal in the morning, dim sum for lunch, and fettuccine Alfredo for dinner. If you get tired of that, you can change things up the next day, and the next, and the next.
But, really, our bodies don’t really care what culture or ethnic background the food comes from. It just needs calories from a balanced diet, whether that comes from a variety of different cultures or from one type of food. It doesn’t matter for our bodies, but it does for our minds and hearts. The Israelites ate one type of food for 40 years in the desert—Manna, food from Heaven. But they tired of it, complained and even wished to go back to Egypt for the food they had there where they had been enslaved and treated like animals. They would rather be enslaved than satisfied with the manna God provided for them.
The prayer for our daily bread is a prayer for exactly that day’s provision. But it is really a prayer about satisfaction. In essence when we ask for our daily bread, we are telling God we will be satisfied with what you give us. But are we ever really satisfied with the daily provision God gives us? Our daily provision along with food, includes our homes, our relationships, our jobs, our current circumstances. Could we really be satisfied if he only gives us exactly what we need that day for our daily bread? Can we be satisfied if it’s manna everyday or do we long to be enslaved once again?
“God has instituted prayer so as to confer upon his creatures the dignity of being causes” — Blaise Pascal (1623–1662);
21st Century version: “You spot it, you got it” — Pastor Bob Lee (1971–)
The Life of Jesus inaugurated the Kingdom of God here on earth. The tension between God’s Kingdom here yet still to come does not absolve us of the truth that we are now citizens of that kingdom and we have significant active roles to play in it. When we pray for God’s Kingdom to come and His will to be done, we are asking God to embolden us for the day to be active citizens of His kingdom because it is our duty to be the hands and feet of Jesus here on earth. We need to pray this prayer every day because citizens of God’s kingdom are those that have died to themselves and live in Christ; and to do this every day, we need to be strengthened through this prayer, “Your Kingdom come, Your Will be done.”
The book of Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament. Then there is a gap—what seems to be God’s silence—of about 400 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, which begins the New Testament. There were no more prophets to speak God’s words, no more commands, no more admonishments, no more encouragements. Just silence!
I wonder what the Israelites were thinking at the 100, 200, 300 or even 400 year mark. God’s silence must have been deafening! How many would have recalled God’s Words assuring them that He does not change? How many would have remembered God’s redemption from Egypt or Babylon? Although it may not have seemed like He was still there, God was and is and will be forever more there, here and unchanging.
God’s promise of faithfulness extends to us this day and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is the great demonstration of that faithfulness. Our God is faithful! He is slow to anger, quick to forgive and love unconditionally. Remember the goodness and blessings of our Faithful Father today.