I love when God gets my attention by sending me a message through multiple channels.
The other day a friend suggested I listen to an app called Pray As You Go. The simple 13 minutes of reflection focused on the story from Mark 9:14-29 when a young boy’s father cried out to Jesus for compassion and help on behalf of his disturbed son. Jesus freed and healed the lad, teaching His disciples the imperative practice of prayer.
The following day when substitute teaching fourth grade, I read and reflected with my students on John 4:43-54 during the Bible lesson. In this passage a royal official approached Jesus and begged Him to heal his near dead son. The desperate father pleaded with Jesus and graciously, the boy’s health was restored by the word of Jesus which resulted in belief throughout the royal household.
I noticed how these two separate accounts intersected with my soul. Parents crying out to Jesus for their children. Family begging God on behalf of those they love. The children in these two scenarios did not know how to pray, but the parents did and they went to Jesus. God moves significantly when we come to Him with our concerns for others.
Jesus responds to begging. To beg is to ask earnestly or humbly for something. Perhaps to beg is not the negative word I have assumed it to be. Is it time to change our understanding of the word “beg”?
This caused me to think of our dog, Joy. After she’s eaten dinner she enters the kitchen and stands by the oven. You see, above the oven is a cupboard that stores her Dasuquin, a tasty treat with ingredients which help her aging joints not ache. Joy silently stands and waits. Often I walk around her, but I see her and know she is waiting for me to respond to her “pleading.” What would it look like for us to just be in God’s presence with our requests? To stand and wait, lifting our prayer to Him?
Other times, when Gary and I eat dinner, Joy stands right beside the chair to be with us while we eat. Occasionally, she rests her head on our leg, but she just waits. She doesn’t bark or whine, but she remains close by reminding us of her presence. In a sense, she “begs” for our attention. Do you beg for God’s attention to the rumblings of your soul? What does it look like to remind God of your prayers?
Jesus responded to the begging of others with grace. People moved toward Jesus with earnest requests. Recognizing their own inadequacy, men and women approached Jesus with humility asking for His intervention (Mark 10:46-52, Matthew 15:22, Matthew 17:15, and Luke 18:13). These Scriptures resonated with my soul, reminding me of the power and great impact of prayer.
Do you admit your insufficiency to meet the cries of your heart? What keeps you from bringing your petitions to God?
Historically, prayer comprises one of the three components surrounding Lent (prayer, fasting, giving). Lent is a time for moving deeper with God in prayer. He invites us to bring our requests to Him (Matthew 6:5-13). Prayer isn’t convincing God to do something on our behalf, it is declaring our dependence upon Him and trusting His faithful response.
Will you humbly go to God with the pleading of your soul and trust Him with your heart? For what are you begging God this Lenten season?
- A renewed commitment to obey Jesus teachings?
- Release from a job?
- Reconciliation of a broken relationship?
- Healing from physical, emotional and spiritual wounds?
- Financial provision?
- Freedom from addiction?
- Expanded impact?
- Receptive hearts?
- Depth in community and friendships?
- Deliverance from anger, bitterness, envy, a critical spirit?
- Vibrant Bible study and prayer time?
- Hope for the orphan and widow?
Jesus tells a parable in Luke 18 to teach his disciples that they should pray and not give up. The persistent widow of whom Jesus speaks instructs us to not waver in going to God with the pleas of our heart.
Notice when similar messages cross your path. God may be trying to get your attention to remind you of His truth and encourage your journey with Him.
What do you want God to do for you this season? Ask Him. God welcomes our authentic begging.
Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.
And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death. “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.” The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” “Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.” The man took Jesus at his word and departed. While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.” Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his whole household believed.
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Check out these suggested readings.
Jenni Hoag. 2019 Lent Calendar.
Andrew Murray. With Christ in the School of Prayer. Overland Park, KS. 2019.