Jacob was about 4 and it was one of those difficult days. From Jake’s point of view, Mom just wasn’t living up to expectations. Not only were they not communicating well, but more importantly Jacob just wasn’t getting what He wanted. He stopped, looked at Lynn and said, “Mom you’re fired!”
And we can laugh…because it’s a normal thing…it’s not such a big deal, the disappointments that a young child has because a parent has not come through in the way, we expected our Father to come through for us.
For a few moments, can you insert yourself into the story. You’re there with Jesus and his friend. You were there when he changed the water into wine. You were there at the pool of Bethesda, when he made the lame man walk, and don’t forget that bit with the sack lunch. 5 rolls, 2 fish-sticks and 5000 people, and after it was over he gave each of those 12 guys a basket to take home. You were there when He called himself the bread of heaven, the light of the world, and the good shepherd who came to give life to his sheep. You were there just a few days ago, when He called Lazarus back from the dead. You were there when He said, “Whoever believes in me shall never die.”
Then just when you believed in Him. He told you He was gonna die. Now you’re confused because you’re wondering if the one who said he was the way, the truth and the life — might be lying, or lost, or dying. And the prayers that were in your heart begin to die before they ever make it to your lips. You have joined the people who have been disappointed with the god they imagine God to be. People who have lost their way. You look at God and you wanna say, “Hey God you’re fired.”
But then Jesus begins to talk. He seems so sure of Himself. So confident. His words are so strong. So right. Words like…
Don’t let your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in me. ..I’m going to prepare a place for you and if I do…I’ll come back. I’ll take you with me so that you can be there. …I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father unless they cme through me. Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? These words I’m speaking to you, I don’t speak on my own authority; but the Father who lives in me does the works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves.
Your heart starts to quicken, this is something fresh, hope starts to sing…softly, but it sings in your heart. Then you hear…
In fact I’ll tell you something that is so true. Whoever believes in me, the works that I do, they will do also and even greater works than these will be done, because I am going to my Father. And whatever you ask, in my name, I will do it, so that I can glorify the Father. If you ask anything in my name I will do it.
What do you do with prayer-promises like this? Do you believe them or explain them away? Do you interpret your circumstances in light of these promises or do you interpret the promises in light of your circumstances? Do you ponder them or ignore them? Do they give you hope or frustration?
Does prayer work? Isn’t that the question? And if it does, how? If I believe it does work, why don’t I pray more? If I don’t believe it works, why do I care? This weekend at Calvary we are initiating 21 Days of Prayer, I wonder what might happen, what we might learn in 21 days?