Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Time to pray

Time is a non-replenishing resource. We get the same amount everyday, but, we don't get to "roll over" minutes to the next day. Making the most of each day is a constant effort. We are going to have the same amount of time this week, but, the holiday gives us less for the "everyday" stuff. I believe this gives us an opportunity to reflect on the time we give to prayer.
You may be thinking, "Just what I need another thing to add to my already overloaded day."  Jesus addressed our overloaded day in Matthew 11:28-30:
 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
To understand the power of this promise a little background is needed.
Following the delivery of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) Jesus went on a whirlwind tour healing, challenging and teaching (Matthew 8-9) which left him exhausted and pleading with his followers to pray for more workers in the harvest field. Right after this in chapter ten he sent out the twelve two by two to do what he had been doing, "declaring the coming of the kingdom." So we get to chapter 11 and we find him addressing key issues (is he really the messiah and how was his people to be led by such men as the pharisees). That led him to our text above. So, here is my take on what he was trying to say.
After the prayer for workers he sent the apostles out to be workers. On their return they had a much better idea of the everyday, one on one ministry needed to do the work of evangels so when he then addressed the bigger issues of messiahship and leadership change needed for the success of the evangels they must have paused and thought, "What a minute, this is much bigger than I originally thought." This wasn't about being the faithful followers of a Rabbi but being the hands and feet of the Rabbi. This was not about knowledge but about action. They must have been tired - maybe as tired as Jesus when he sent them out and so Jesus meets them where they are. "Learn of me." He did not say learn of my ministry but learn of me.
Today the path to learning of Jesus is found in our Bible reading and prayer life. The Sunday experience and the Growth Groups embed it - but if we are not constantly in prayer and meditation then the work of evangelism seems to add just one more item to our already filled to-do list. But when we spend time with God he makes is possible for us to do what we have to do so we will have the time and energy to do what we must do. Tell others about Jesus. We really don't have enough time not to pray.

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