Yesterday was the 7th Sunday of Easter, an interesting Sunday because it falls between the ascension of Jesus (40 days after Easter) and Pentecost Sunday (50 days after Easter). All three readings for the 7th Sunday of Easter refer to prayer (Acts 1:12-16; 1 John 5:9-15; John 17:11-19). What were the apostles and disciples supposed to do while they waited for Pentecost? How about praying?
How much time do you spend waiting … in traffic, in doctor offices, in line to check out when shopping?
How many people and things need our prayers?
Which is greater (both in need of our time and in significance)?
Yet another gift that flows to us during EasterTIDE is a remedy for aggravation, frustration, or wasting time PLUS the benefits that flow through us to others by means of prayer.
But WHAT to pray for?
What would you ask a genii for? What would the genii ask for? Freedom? But according to Disney, what the genii wants of freedom is just as materialistic and selfish as what the typical person wishes for.
WHY not pray for myself? Every time I do God’s answer directs me to His Word where all of His blessings flow to me. His Word provides for all my needs, the way a spring provides for the thirsty (Jn 4), the way a buffet provides for hunger (Jn 6), and the way a resort provides for the weary (Mt 11:28-30).
WHY not pray for others, especially when there is nothing else I can do? Benefits include, a) a positive place to apply the negative energy of aggravation, frustration, fear, anxiety, and worry; b) remembering to take the log out of my own eye before I fret or stress over taking the speck out of the eye of another; c) turning off the noise of the world all around me and in my own head, thus restarting my thoughts in quietness, peace, and hope that God’s Word is ever giving.
WHY not listen to Jesus praying? Jesus taught His apostles the short, template form for prayer; everything that could possibly need prayer is included in the Lord’s prayer as we know it. But John 17 records the Lord praying. If you look carefully you will see everything in the Lord’s prayer but more. John 17 is like a chia-pet. If you pour the living water of God’s Word on the Lord’s prayer, you get John 17.
What did Jesus pray for most? He prayed for God to keep His people in His Word, just as Jesus did that Himself, in person, while He was with His apostles for 3 ½ years. Remaining in God’s Word is what regenerates our souls and inspires us by the Holy Spirit which brings unity, joy, and the setting apart of our lives as ambassadors of the kingdom of heaven.
What a great subject and commission to contemplate, read about, and pray over during these 10 days between the Ascension of Jesus and Pentecost!