Jesus found respite, relief, and empowerment in prayer, and we can, too. His miracles, preaching, teaching, and healing were often punctuated by intervals of prayer. Jesus often withdrew from even his closest friends to spend substantial amounts of time praying. Sometimes he shared these moments with a few others, but usually, they were spent in solitude. These were personal focused times apart with God, in addition to the ongoing constant communion Paul referenced in First Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.”
Prayer is at least as much about our listening as about our speaking, about what we hear, at least as much as about what we say. At the Transfiguration, Jesus’ disciples heard God speak from heaven during their shared prayer time with Elijah and Moses, as worded in The Message, “This is my Son, marked by my love, focus of my delight. Listen to him.” Jesus pointed out in the Sermon on the Mount just before giving the Lord’s Prayer that God already knows what we need before we ask, so we don’t need to “use a lot of meaningless words,” as it says in the Good News Translation.
We know that God already knows what we are thinking about, but do we know what God is thinking about – what God is trying to communicate to us? Prayer is an opportunity for us to engage with our Creator and receive the guidance and comfort of the Holy Spirit, as Jesus promised she would give us. Listen for the “still small voice.” Perhaps if our activities were more punctuated by prayer, then “oh ye of little faith” might become “oh ye of a little more faith.”
Excerpt from the manuscript of the sermon preached by
Rev. Bill Lawson on August 13, 2023, at Briensburg UMC.
11th Sunday after Pentecost
1 Kings 19:9-18, Psalm 85:8-13, Romans 10:5-15, Matthew 14:22-33