February 13th – The Power of Prayer




I always cringe when Christian prayer is treated as if it were a magic spell; I always did, even before I became a Christian.
In Treasure Island cut-throat pirates bent on murder and mayhem were suddenly gripped by terror at what they thought was the voice of a dead man calling them. Their response was to start gabbling the Lord’s Prayer! Prayer was a counter-spell against ghosts: a superstitious rigmarole.
‘There are no atheists in a slit trench’ we used to say in the army, for men who previously had no thought of God, when suddenly cowering under heavy fire, have been known to start praying – something like: ‘If you get me out of this Lord, I’ll stop cursing and fornicating and I’ll start going to church.’ Then afterwards behaving like the child who said she prayed at night because there was nothing to be afraid of in the day time. All treating God as a genie in a lamp, with prayer as the magic rubbing which brought out the protector to grant you your wishes. No wonder Jesus spent such a lot of time teaching his followers to pray, and possibly his greatest lesson was the way he himself prayed.He addressed God as ‘dear Father’, and he made time to get away to pray: to talk with his Father, to breathe the air of perfect love and power, to submit, to praise, to rejoice – in fact we read that he jumped for joy in prayer. No wonder all Christian prayer is ‘through Jesus Christ our Lord’. If we pray at all – it is because He prayed. As a fully human being he was in constant touch with his Father by the Holy Spirit.
At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.”
“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No-one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no-one knows who the Father is except the Son, and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Luke 10: 21-22Luke 10: 21-22
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight. 22 All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him. many ancient copies add these words at the beginning of verse, and turning to his disciples, he said  

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A Prayer: Breathe on us Lord that we teach us to pray in the Spirit, lest we rest content in merely saying our prayers as a ‘good luck’ charm.
Now read how well the followers of Jesus had learned to pray: Acts 4: 23-37Acts 4: 23-37
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

23 And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. 24 And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: 25 Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? 26 The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. 27 For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, 28 For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. 29 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, 30 By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. 31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. 32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. 33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. 34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, 35 And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. 36 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, 37 Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet.  

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Thought 4 The Day

Our salvation depends not on our love for God but His love for us, not our commitment to him but his pledge to us,
not our hold on him but his grasp of us. (Anon)

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