Sunday, March 9, 2014

Persevering prayer (Luke 6:12)

It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God. (Luke 6:12 NASB)

Jesus had just encountered the scribes and Pharisees. He had bested them in verbal sparring, quietly defying them when he healed the man with the withered hand on the Sabbath, and they had left the synagogue in a rage. They were plotting against Him before they were out the door. Things were heating up and the journey to the Cross was underway. 

Jesus did not waste time talking to earthly friends or family about the next step. He went to a mountain, found a quiet place, and engaged the source of all wisdom, God Himself. He went to pray, and He prayed the entire night. The Greek word translated "spent the whole night" is dianyktereu┼Ź and literally means "the entire night".  He needed wisdom, and He continued in prayer until He had the answers He needed. 

This kind of persevering prayer involves more than talking all night. It mostly involves listening. Jesus took His concerns to His Father, but He certainly listened, too. This kind of prayer is a two-way conversation with the Most High God and is the very sweetest kind of prayer. 

Sadly, our society is so rushed that most people find it difficult to be still long enough to hear what God has to say in response to what they have prayed. How satisfying is that? Not very. When your heart is burdened about a decision, why would you ask God what to do, but not stay to listen to His answer? That is not only disrespectful to God, but also foolish indeed.  

We will see that Jesus was about to make a major decision that would affect The rest of His ministry and the future of His church. He needed to be sure. When He left the mountain, He knew exactly what to do. How? He lingered until He heard. 

When you pray, do you stop after you have had your say, or linger to hear God's response? If you are not accustomed to listening for that still small voice, why not try it today. You will not likely hear an audible voice, but perhaps you will remember a Scripture reference or the very action you should take will come to mind. Regardless of how it happens, the answer you seek will come, and you will recognize it, if you are willing to be still long enough to hear. 

Today, pray for the longing in our hearts to become listening prayers with the willingness to be still and not just know He is God, but hear Him answer. Pray that our loved ones would cease striving and turn the the Only One with the answers they seek. 

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