“You can talk about prayer till you’re blue in the faith… I mean face”
We had a meeting at GMO, Global Media Outreach, where Andy Fish was explaining our involvement in partnering with them and said this quote. We laughed it off, but then I started thinking. You really can talk about prayer till you’re blue in the face. Trust me, I studied theology in college and actually talked about other people talking about prayer till I could barely think.
Can you talk about prayer till you’re blue in the faith? Now, I’m not providing answers here… more of just thinking aloud. Is there something missing with us, as Christians, being all talk when it comes to prayer? Sometimes I notice certain weeks I pray more with people than on my own. But when I look at Jesus, He doesn’t get on the whole “prayer ministry,” but He went up on a hill, under a tree and cried with His Father. When I look at the Gospel He prays more than He talks about it. And if Jesus is our example, shouldn’t we be doing the same?
This is what He says about prayer:
What did Jesus say about prayer? Lots and lots. For a start he taught his followers “the Lord’s Prayer”…
Father, hallowed be Your name.
May Your kingdom come,
and Your will be done on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Do not put us to the test.
Pray simply – “Do not go on and on, babbling like the pagans, who think they’ll be heard because they use so many words” (Matthew 6:7).
Pray generously – “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).
Pray with confidence – “Everyone who asks receives; those who seek find; and to those who knock the door will be opened. Which of you fathers, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:8-11).
Pray with persistence – “Jesus told His disciples this parable to tell them to keep praying and not give up. ‘There was a judge who cared neither for God nor man. A widow in his town kept coming to him with the plea, “Grant me justice against my adversary.” For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, “OK, I care neither for God nor man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t wear me out with her visits.”’ Jesus said, ‘Think about what that unjust judge said. Won’t 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’” (Luke 18:1-8).
Now, I’m not saying let’s not talk about prayer. That’s a serious part of discipleship in learning how to cultivate this relationship that our lives revolve around. But Jesus did something different… He prayed. He stopped talking. Went away. And prayed. Jesus prayed. A lot.
This is what it says about Him praying:
Mat 14:23 After doing so, He went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When it was evening He was there alone.
Mar 1:35 Rising very early before dawn, He left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.
Luke 6:12 In those days He departed to the mountain to pray, and He spent the night in prayer to God.
Luke 9:28-29 [Jesus] took Peter, John, and James and went up to the mountain to pray. While He was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white.
Luke 5:16 …. but He would withdraw to deserted places to pray.
John 11:41-42 They took away the stone. And Jesus raised His eyes and said, “Father, I thank you for hearing me. I know that you always hear me; but because of the crowd here I have said this, that they may believe that you sent me.”
John 17:1 When Jesus had said this, He raised His eyes to Heaven and said “Father, the hour has come. Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you…”
Mar 14:32-33 Then they came to a place named Gethsemane, and He said to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took with him Peter, James, and John, and began to be troubled and distressed.
Matt 26:38-39 Then [Jesus] said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me.” He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.”
Matt 26: 43-44 Then [Jesus] returned once more and found them asleep, for they could not keep their eyes open. He left them and withdrew again and prayed a third time, saying the same thing again.
So, what’s going on is that we are talking about prayer and wanting to actually pray. Is there something that needs to change? As Easter has come and gone, are we too busy talking about prayer and Jesus till we are blue in the faith? It’s time we fight against complacency in our faith and start DOING. When Jesus gave us the great commission, He didn’t say talk about it first, figure out the details, that’s His job. He simply said, “go.”
As Jesus says in Matthew 7:24-26, “Who knows my teachings and Does Them, is a wise man. Who knows my teachings and does them not is a foolish man. If you hear these words and do them, the Father will come unto you and dwell in you and teach you all things; bringing all things to your REMEMBERANCE.”
Let’s go. Let’s pray.