Thursday, April 10, 2003

Pray without ceasing. That's what the Bible tells us to do. With world events where they are right now, this seems like a particularly good time to follow that directive. Here's some of what I'm praying about these days...

...that the war in Iraq will soon come to a complete end and that the people of that country will quickly have a government that cares about its people.

...that soon there will be a just peace in the Middle East, just for all people there.

...that God will comfort the families of those who have recently succumbed to SARS.

...that God will help medical personnel find a cure for SARS.

...that God will give wisdom to President Bush and to all world leaders and that all of them will be open to God's wisdom.

Jesus says that He came into the world to give life "and...abundantly" (John 10:10). I don't believe that Jesus means that when we follow Him, we're all going to become rich. An abundant life is one that's crackling with the power of God that comes to us through Jesus. For God's power to crackle within us requires us to be in constant contact with Jesus, the life-giver. "I am the vine and you are the branches," Jesus says. It would be downright suicidal for a branch to say to the vine, "I think I'll go it alone." Yet that's what we do when we fail to pray. (I know because I have failed to pray more than I care to remember!)

I'm not a really smart guy. But here are a few things I do know for sure:

First: Jesus says that without Him we can do nothing. I believe Him. Trying to "crackle with life" on our own is like trying to drive cross country without filling up. You can't take much of a trip that way!

Second: Paul says in the New Testament that with Jesus we can do all things. I have learned this truth repeatedly in my life. When I try to accomplish good things on my own steam, I always come up short. But when I "go with God," following Jesus, God takes my mediocre talents and makes something more of my efforts than they inherently merit. (I have also learned that this applies to every aspect of my life, by the way.)

Better living in this life and the next begins when we respond to God's outstretched hand and we connect with God. That connection happens through prayer in Jesus' Name.

Ephesians 6:18 says:"...prayer is essential...Pray hard and long." (The Message translation) Now more than ever, I believe that's true.

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