Plotting and Prodding

Mar. 13, 2012

Luke 23:1-2

Then the whole assembly rose and let him off to Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Messiah, a king.”

The Jerusalem Sanhedrin unilaterally determined that Jesus is “guilty.” Now, the entire group hauls him off to Pilate. Not one or two, or even a small group. All 71 Pharisees and Sadducees are part of a great procession to Pilate’s Palace.

Let’s try to follow what is happening. The Sanhedrin was the Jewish religious ruling council. These are men who had studied the Torah (the first five books of our Old Testament) and knew all the rules. They are looked upon as decision makers within the Jewish faith. Their equivalent today might be a religious denominational governing body.

Pilate is a Roman governor, appointed by Caesar, who presides over the Roman government. We could think of Caesar in terms of the US President and Pilate as a state governor. It was unlawful for the Jewish Sanhedrin to kill Jesus. This would be breaking one of the 10 Commandments: “Thou shall not kill.” Crucifixion was carried out by the Roman government. The Sanhedrin needed Pilate to rule for Jesus’ death. In order to put pressure on Pilate, all 71 religious leaders trek over to his palace. Others tagged along to witness what would happen and show support for Jesus’ death.

In essence, Jesus went through two trials: one before the Sanhedrin and one before Pilate. While we think this is unusual, let’s be honest. We use the same tactic.

A child doesn’t like the response from one parent and tries for the desired answer from the other parent. Your significant other doesn’t quite respond the way you want. You wait a day and go back with more and improved ammunition. Your boss just doesn’t see the full picture. Just this once, you’ll go to his or her supervisor to make impact. Isn’t this basic fodder for TV Soap Operas?

Sometimes second pleas are necessary and elicit the desired response. Sometimes, it doesn’t work. We may think the Jewish religious leaders were conniving and tricky. But don’t we do this?

A couple years ago, I really wanted to redo one of our bathrooms. Rick didn’t think it was necessary. I planned a little trip for us to Kohler to visit their design center, gathering ideas for bathrooms. I called a plumber and discovered they had a jet bathtub that would fit perfectly into the space we had. And he offered it at a significant discount! I brought home tile samples and asked Rick which he preferred. I agreed to delay new carpeting if we would redo the bathroom. Eventually, Rick caved in. I have a beautiful, relaxing bathroom; but only because I was a little more than persistent, maybe even tricky.

Unintentionally or intentionally, we sometimes plot and prod until we get what we want. The difference for us: usually, it’s not our life that is at stake. Yes, people have been wrongly convicted, as Jesus was. Most of our personal situations are not quite as dramatic. Admittedly, a bathroom redo is not nearly as imperative as a man’s life. But much as we dislike admitting it, are not there at least a little Pharisaic tendencies in all of us?

Let us pray: Was it for crimes that I have done He groaned upon the tree? Amazing pity! Grace unknown! And love beyond degree! Amen 

Blessings –

Dianne

The Courtroom Battle

Mar. 12, 2012

Luke 22:66-71

At daybreak the council of the elders of the people, both the chief priests and the teachers of the law, met together, and Jesus was led before them. “If you are the Messiah,” they said, “tell us.” Jesus answered, “If I tell you, you will not believe me, and if I asked you, you would not answer. But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.”

They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?” He replied, “You say that I am.” Then they said, “Why do we need any more testimony? We have heard it from his own lips.”

Imagine this interrogation scene. Before assembled elders, chief priest and Scribes, i.e. – the Jerusalem Sanhedrin, no witnesses speak. No references are made about Jesus’ miracles or teachings or sayings. The entire questioning only addresses Jesus himself. The Sanhedrin only deal with two issues: whether Jesus is the Messiah and if he is God’s son.

Notice that Jesus’ answers are not a direct response to the questions.

To the first question, his knows the Sanhedrin will only hear what they want to hear, not what he has to say. From his answer, the Council then questions if he is God’s Son. In this answer, he does not deny this. He throws the question back to his accusers. They are saying this, he says, even if they don’t believe it.

The council’s conclusion: witnesses aren’t needed. He has convicted himself and they quickly turn him over to the Roman governor. On this alone, he is scooted off to Pilate.  It’s the Council’s way to not assume responsibility for what will happen to Jesus.

Most people like to win an argument. Some will go so far as to keep at it until they feel that they have won. Watch any courtroom situation. Carefully crafted sentences and questions lead witnesses in the direction council desires for the line of questioning to go.

But somehow, Jesus raises above all the bantering and postulating. Some may think he resigns from the courtroom battle. He knows what is going to happen anyway. Why feed into the Council’s line of thinking and questioning?

Personally, I do not see resignation in Jesus. I see a posed man, willing to accept what is required of him. It’s not about him, in the end. It’s about the rest of humanity. He quietly shifts the focus from himself and onto what he is willing to do for everyone else.

So who wins the courtroom discussion? The Council or Jesus? While the Sanhedrin arrogantly feels they can place the checkmark under their “win” column, Jesus quietly knows who will win the ultimate victory.

Let us pray: O victory in Jesus, my Savior forever! He sought me and bought me with his redeeming blood. He loved me ere I knew him and all my love is due him. He plunged me to victory beneath the cleansing flood. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

 

The mistreatment of Jesus

Mar. 11, 2012

Luke 22:63-65

The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. They blindfolded him and demanded, “Prophesy! Who hit you?” and they said many other insulting things to him.

From here on out in the passion narratives, many specifics within the four gospel accounts (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) vary greatly. Matthew and Mark indicate the trial before the Sanhedrin happened during the night. Luke’s account times it closing towards morning, because of the cock crowing at Peter’s denial. Some accounts have Jesus attending two “trials” before the Jewish leaders. Luke only has one. John’s gospel says Jesus first went to Annas before going on trial with Caiaphas and the rest of the Jewish council.

How do we reconcile the four different accounts? Which is the “right” version? Maybe none of it happened because the authors can’t agree?

When this question comes up with folks at church, I often use this example. Let’s say that we were standing by the side of the road and witnessed a car accident. How many versions of the accident would we have? Exactly the same number as people who were present and witnessed the accident. Each person would remember slightly different details, maybe in a different order. Not everyone’s story may completely jive.

Let’s think this in terms of the Gospel accounts. Not every author is going to have exactly the same details. Rather than getting frustrated by this, I encourage us to examine each story for it’s own worth. It’s OK to compare and contrast and use all four accounts to help us see a richer story.

We are at the part of the story when the beating of Jesus begins. Be prepared: the mistreatment of Jesus gets worse and worse as the story proceeds. In Luke’s gospel, the soldiers play blind man’s bluff with Jesus, which only heightens his humiliation and loneliness. But as we continue to read this story, notice that Jesus gives the impression as the one in control of the story and the scenes. He tolerates what is happening to him because he is aware these things must happen. They are consequences of his Father’s will. This is part of the way a prophet meets his fate in Jerusalem.

Jesus mistreatment is not only physical. It was also verbal. Words hurt. The soldiers had to have said some awful things to Jesus. Despite the physical and verbal abuse, Jesus remains stoic, controlled and dignified. Somehow, he let those words bounce off of him. Somehow, he numbs himself from the beating. Somehow, he endures. The only way this could have happened was if Jesus was truly the Son of God.

Let us pray: See him at the judgment hall, beaten, bound, reviled, arraigned. O the wormwood and the gall! O the pangs his soul sustained! Shun not suffering, shame or loss. Learn of Christ to bear the cross. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

 

“Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!”

Mar. 10, 2012

Luke 22:54-62

Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.” But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.

A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” “Man, I am not!” Peter replied. About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.” Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. The Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.

“Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!”

We say these words also. Sometimes, we may really not know what the other person is talking about. In other instances, we’re joking and trying to be sly. Other times, like Peter, we’re actually denying something when we know what the person is talking about. Denying something once is bad enough. But three times? Peter had decided to stick with his story. No matter what.

After Jesus’ arrest, he is taken to the High Priest Caiaphas’ house for trial. Only the Sanhedrin would have been present at the trial. The Sanhedrin or the Jewish ruling council was comprised of 71 elders, considered to be amongst the wisest and most pious Jewish men of the time.

In the middle of the night, the Sanhedrin were hastily called to Caiaphas’ palatial home and met in the grand hall. Normally, the council met during the day in the Temple courts. They did not meet during religious feasts. But on that night, the Sanhedrin is gathered in the high priests palace after hours and during Passover. This indicates their desire to have an urgent trial and with great secrecy.

Peter’s denial didn’t happen inside the house. It happened outside in the courtyard, where folks were gathered. While the rest of the disciples had scattered in fear, Peter clung to the night’s dark shadows. He wants to know what is going to happen to Jesus. But he doesn’t want anyone to recognize him.

There’s an interesting detail in Luke’s version of this story not present in the other gospels. Jesus sees Peter when he makes the third denial. For an instant, Jesus looked from inside the hall, through a window, and sees Peter. Their eyes meet. Peter realizes the gravity of what he has done. All he can do is break down and weep.

Peter’s denial is included in all four gospel accounts. This story is so important they all included it. Not to embarrass Peter but because he probably regularly shared this story himself. Maybe Peter used this context when he shared this story: “You’ve probably denied Jesus. I denied him myself in a way of which I’m deeply ashamed. But let me tell you. I betrayed Jesus yet he loved me anyways. He took me back and gave me grace. If you’ve denied him, it’s OK. He’ll take you back also.”

Who amongst us can reply, “Man, I do know what you’re talking about.”

Let us pray: O how he loves you and me! O how he loves you and me! He gave his life. What more could he give? O how he loves you. O how he loves me. O how he loves you and me! Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

 

Thinking of Others

Mar. 9, 2012

Luke 22:49-53

When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him. Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion that you have come with swords and clubs?” Every day, I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour – when darkness reigns.”

The last hours of Jesus’ life was winding down. Every act he does maybe the last time Jesus will perform this. One fact that stands out to me this Lenten season: so much of the last hours of Jesus life are not about him. It’s about what he can do for others.

We see it here. The guards and their escorts have arrived in the Garden of Gethsemane to arrest Jesus. It could have become what we’d call a barroom bawl. It starts out this way. One of the disciples, John’s Gospel tells us Peter, draws his sword. Why he had a sword with him, I’m not quite sure. Obviously, he was concerned that something crazy could happen. And now it does. Peter lashes out at the person before him, a servant of the Jewish High Priest Caiaphus. Caiaphus didn’t want to be a part of arrest. But he wanted an observer who could tell him every detail. So, he sent one of his servants, Malchus. In the garden, Malchus must be physically close to Peter. Emotions welled up in Peter and he had to do something. Adrenaline takes over as he cuts of Malchus’ ear.

Jesus does not want this scene to get out of hand. He stops the fighting immediately. Just to re-enforce his wishes, he reaches out and heals the removed ear.

This is not the first time Jesus has healed someone. We’d need a calculator to count the people Jesus healed. And there are many, many others not accounted for in scripture. Jesus is being arrested. But his focus isn’t on this. It’s on taking care of others first. Talk about selflessness.

Healing comes in many different ways. Today, I will be part of a celebration of the ultimate healing for Oscar Sieg. Oscar, and his wife Dolly, were some of the first people my folks met with they moved toWisconsinover 50 years ago. Their youngest daughter, Pam, is just a few months older than I am. Pam is my oldest friend. Not oldest in age; oldest in time we’ve been friends. I can’t remember a time when Pam and I weren’t friends.

The last few years, Oscar’s health has failed. Two weeks ago, I spent some time with Pam and her family. We were in Oscar’s room at the nursing home. Rick was waiting in our vehicle outside. Oscar could see our car. He kept asking where my husband was. He wasn’t concerned about himself. He was concerned about where my husband was. When Rick came into Oscar’s room, he was so excited to see Rick. Before Rick and I left, we gathered with the family, laid hands on Oscar and prayed for his ultimate healing. Today, we will celebrate this.

As we continue through the passion story these next few weeks, keep your eyes peeled for how many times Jesus is more concerned about other people than himself. In the world’s darkest hours, Jesus never stops doing what he came to do: to seek and to save the lost. As he does this, he reaches out not just to the people who were physically present with him. Ultimately, he is reaching out to all of humanity and providing for our needs. Thus, these hours are also our hours. And through this, I pray you will see Jesus’ great concern for you.

Let us pray: Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.  Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

 

It Was Just a Kiss

Mar. 8, 2012

Luke 22:47-48

While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

And so the passion narrative begins.

Until now, the story has been, well, a story. A drama filled with suspense, mystery, and people being people. But now we’ve arrived at the point where things get dicier. From here on out, things will happen quickly. And once done, undoing them becomes increasingly difficult.

For some reason, Judas chose to point out Jesus with a kiss. This was his way of indicating who should be arrested. No, “That’s the man!” as a finger points to Jesus. Or, “You should remember him. In case you don’t, he’s the man drenched in sweat.” Judas uses no words. He uses a kiss.

One day, our two oldest grandsons, Braeden and Bryce were staying overnight at our house. When Rick got home from work, we embraced and kissed. After Rick went to change out of his work clothes, from the background, I heard Braeden say, “I saw Grandpa kissing you.” I don’t think he was tattle-telling. It was more like, “You guys kiss?” Yep, we do. And it’s OK that you caught us doing so.

A kiss is a more intimate exchange between two people. Kisses do not have to be romantic. I kiss my Mom when I see her. Before the grandkids leave, I’ll ask for a kiss and hug. Granddaughter Ellie is always more willing to kiss than the boys. And yes, I do kiss my husband: before we leave each other’s presence, at the end of the day when we are together, when I want to remind him how much I care and love him.

When a person looses a spouse, something often shared with me is how much the surviving spouse misses the physical touch from their spouse. This is one reason I tend to a hug widows and widowers. I’m not trying to replace their spouse; I pray they will feel loved.

Why a kiss? Why something so, well, intimate? There are various theories. Maybe the question should be, “Why not a kiss?” Maybe it was Judas’ way to remind him that he did care and love him. We may think it is a funny way to express this. Then again, aren’t we funny people who do odd things sometimes?

After the kiss came, it was like Judas was now caught doing so. What seemed like such a little thing would change things forever. It all began with a kiss. And so the passion narrative begins.

Let us pray: Amazing love, O what sacrifice. The Son of God given for me. My debt He pays and my death He dies. That I might live, that I might live.  Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

 

Caught Napping on the Job

Mar. 7, 2012

Luke 22:45-46

When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”

A few weeks ago, Rick and I went on vacation. We spent a long weekend in the city of Freeport in the Bahamas. As we rode a bus to the hotel, we passed by a Methodist church. I took note because we would be in Freeport on Sunday.

In a brochure, we read that the service was at 10 AM. The church was a little father than we cared to walk. On Saturday, the weather was chilly and windy, which prevented us from swimming in the ocean or one of the hotel pools. We opted to rent a scooter and tour the island. It was a little more to rent the scooter for 24 hours. Then, we had transportation to church.

It was still cool and windy on Sunday morning. We looked like a very large bumblebee as we got on the bright yellow scooter, I wearing a yellow helmet and Rick in a black one. When a gust of wind came up, we just held on. The Bahamas were settled by the English. So, folks drive on the left side of the road. It’s a little confusing when making a right hand turn. We were at the intersection turning right near the Methodist Church when Rick put us in the wrong lane of traffic. Rather than pull back out into traffic, he drove across the church lawn. A man on his way to church asked if we were lost. Rick shared that he was just trying to find a place to park our bad boy transportation.

Worship was an experience! I looked down at my watch as soon as it was over: 1 PM on the dot. We had anticipated a long worship service but this was even a bit longer than expected.

After church, Rick and I shared our impressions. One of his first comments was that he took two naps during the pastoral prayer. He, like the disciples, was not able to stay awake during a time of prayer.

Yep, I’ve also fallen asleep while praying. I’ve fallen asleep at a worship service. There have been times I was so tired and really tried to stay awake and had to fight not to nod off. At times, I was just exhausted and a nap seemed OK.

In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus finds the disciples napping three times while he prays atGethsemane. Each time, Jesus awakes them and encourages them to stay awake while he goes and prays. Each time, they fall asleep. What do we expect? It was the middle of the night!

I think it would have been impossible for Jesus not to feel very alone. Only he could endure what was to come. Who doesn’t want a friend or two to try and feel your pain? Jesus knew the disciples were going to fall into temptation. He had already predicted it. But it makes it no less painful when it actually happens.

I’m reminded of these words from Romans 8:26: In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.

Thank God when we are too tired, when we lack words, when we’re desperate and not quite sure what to say, it’s OK. The Holy Spirit intervenes for us.

Let us pray: I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord. No tender voice like Thine can peace afford. I need Thee, O I need Thee; Every hour I need Thee! O bless me now, my Savior, I come to Thee.  Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

 

As Sweat Appears

Mar. 6, 2012

Luke 22:39-44

Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

These few words are packed with so much. As I read them, I picture the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. John’s Gospel is more specific and says Jesus went into a garden, calledGethsemane, to pray. When I traveled to Israel, the Garden of Gethsemane was personally one of the most meaningful spots of the trip. I could feel the anguish of the millions of people, including myself, who have come here to pray like Jesus.

Jesus knows what is ahead of him. He knows it’s not going to be pretty. He knows how it is going to end. This does not prevent the human side of Jesus to earnestly pray for an alternative solution to this awful situation. Yet, the divine side of Jesus understands it’s not that easy.

What caught my attention today was how Jesus prayed so earnestly that his sweat was falling from his body like drops of blood. Wow. Pretty much makes me a prayer schmuck. I’ve never prayed so intensely that my angst turned into fluids being released from my body. That response is most often when I’ve had a good workout and my shirt is soaked. Not for when I’m praying.

Last night should have been one of those nights when I prayed so intensely that sweat poured out from me. One woman from church is on a vent and not responding. It’s so terribly hard on her family. Another woman is back in the hospital dealing with complications from chemo, which she finally finished last week. It was about a year ago that her husband died of cancer. A week-old baby is at UW-Children’s Hospital for bronchial observations. My “oldest” friend’s father passed away late Sunday night. And then I read on Facebook about a young Dad from church having emergency surgery yesterday. I’m confident there are things I’m forgetting. Oh, that’s right. My father-in-law is in the nursing home but getting stronger every day.

Sweat should be oozing out of my pores as I petition for these people and their families. Sorry, God, I’m not the prayer warrior I should be. I know that my prayers may not change the final outcome of these situations. I, like Jesus, must heed, “Not my will, but yours be done” as difficult as this is.

I’ll never be the prayer warrior that Jesus was. Yet, falling on my knees, offering up prayers throughout the day, taking a person’s hand and praying with and for them ought to be as normal for me as breathing. When we do this, I know angels come and give us strength as they did for Jesus. We’ll have many dark, challenging nights in our lives. We’re not alone. May we, too, cry out to the Lord. “Not my will, but yours be done.”

Let us pray: Go to dark Gethsemane, those that feel the tempter’s power. Your Redeemer’s conflict see. Watch with him one bitter hour. Turn not from his griefs away. Learn of Jesus Christ to pray. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

 

Listening with Two Ears

Mar. 5, 2012

Luke 22:35-38

Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?

“Nothing,” they answered.

He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’, and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”

The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”

“That is enough,” he replied.

I have to admit: when I read this passage, I was confused. I’ve read this passage before but I’m still trying to figure out what Jesus means. Maybe that’s why there is a big question mark, written by me at another time, at this passage in my bible.

In Luke’s gospel, these are Jesus’ last words at the Last Supper before he goes to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. Jesus refers to an earlier time, when he asked the disciples to take only what they had with them into villages and teach people about him. The disciples affirm they received everything they needed in the villages

Now, Jesus alludes to an impending crisis; one that will involve him and eventually all the disciples. It’s a little warning sign. But here’s the problem. Jesus has a fondness for striking metaphors. I believe he’s warning his friends that the next period of time will be very difficult. Earlier, he sent them only with sandals. Soon, they will need armor to protect their hearts and minds. They will need a shield, a sword, for the nasty and hurtful things that will be said about them and Jesus.

Unfortunately, the disciples take Jesus’ words literally. Right away, they are looking for a sword. Once again, Jesus sees they don’t quite understand what he’s saying. For some reason, Jesus doesn’t take the time to explain his words. He simply moves on.

When I’m having a conversation with someone, I quite often think I can anticipate what they are going to say. Based on my assumptions, I jump ahead to what my response will be, rather than really listening to what they say. Not surprisingly, sometimes the person tells me something very different from what I expected. Egg is on me for thinking I “know” it when I really don’t.

Am I any different than the disciples in this story? Unfortunately, not. Listen carefully. That’s why we have two ears and one mouth.

Let us pray: Open our ears, Lord, and help us to listen, Open our eyes Lord, we want to see Jesus. Amen 

Blessings –

Dianne

 

Praying Over and With

Mar. 4, 2012

Luke 22: 31-34

(Jesus said), “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

But Peter replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”

Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”

Who amongst us has not let someone down?

Peter has a unique person. Jesus sees great leadership qualities within him. He expects Peter to be a leader of this movement after he dies. But within a few hours of telling Jesus that he would go to prison or die with Jesus, he denies Jesus no less than three times.

This is the interesting part of this story. Jesus already knows Peter is going to do this. So Jesus tells Peter that he has already prayed for him. He’s forgiving him before the denial even happens. This is an ultimate friend.

I have the great honor of praying for and with many people every week. This is a great privilege. I don’t always have the right words to say. Sometimes I stutter as I pray.

Quite honestly, though, I’m selfish. There are times I want someone to pray for me. I’m sure there are people who pray for me regularly. But there is something about being prayed over or with. It puts me in a different frame of mind. It reminds me how important it is for me to pray with others.

Once a week, I experience this. Rick and I have developed a Sunday morning tradition. For many years, Rick and I drove separately to church. For the last several months, we ride together. After we are parked at church, Rick reaches over, grabs my hands and prays for me. He asks God to guide me as I lead worship. He prays for the people attending worship. He invites God to make worship meaningful. No matter how tired, unprepared or unsure I am, Rick’s prayers make me prayed over.

Jesus had already prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail him. I’m confident this prayer was instrumental in Peter keeping faith, despite his denial.

We do not always know if our prayers are effective. We do not always know if they made any difference. This is not prayer’s point. If you have ever felt upheld by prayer, I pray that this will encourage you to become a prayer warrior. If you desire to have someone pray over you, ask someone to do so. I’d be glad to do so because I know how special it feels when someone prays with and over you. Thank you Jesus, for modeling this for us.

Let us pray: Hear our prayer, O Lord. Hear our prayer, O Lord. Incline Your ear to us and grant us Thy peace. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne