In the 1990s (yes, back then…), there was this popular trend among Christian youth groups in the US: WWJD. People would wear these bracelets as a statement of their faith and also as a reminder, when faced with moral challenges, to ask oneself: What Would Jesus Do? Of course sometimes, we shouldn’t do what Jesus does – like die for the sins of humanity. But overall, the challenge was for Christians to truly live by imitating Christ. When Bert was preaching this past Sunday, I thought back to these bracelets.
In his sermon, Bert spoke from Luke 19 and Isaiah 56 about the church and individuals being houses of prayer. His main point was that our lives should usher people into the worship of the Almighty. As an illustration, he mentioned how he was so blessed when he drove someone to Wales the day before and that person constantly lifted up prayers to God throughout the drive.
Now a few days prior to that I had been talking to the Bert and he mentioned how he had such a busy week ahead of him. He had a sermon to give that day, worship practice and a BBQ for a few cell groups on Saturday, and three sermons to deliver on Sunday. In the midst of all this, he told me was also going to drive this person to Wales (yes, two hours away), then on Monday pick him up again!
When he first told me this, I thought, “Gosh, he really loves his guy and loves hanging out with him.” After all, very few of us would willingly drive anybody to the airport, let alone several hours away, unless we really loved him or her. Then it turned out the drive was Saturday night after the BBQ. And as people realised what Bert was doing, one person commented, “He has such a pastor’s heart.” But this Sunday when Bert was speaking I realised – “NO, Bert does not drive somebody somewhere for two hours just because he is a pastor or just because he loves the person (though both may very well be true). He does so because he loves Jesus and wants to do what Jesus does.”
This realisation then put me in a dilemma.
There’s this passage in the gospels where the disciples come back to Jesus after a long trip of casting out demons and healing people and proclaiming a message of repentance (Mark 6:30-44). After this awesome, yet exhausting, ministry, a crowd comes before them and the disciples say to Jesus, “We’re so tired; send them away!” But Jesus says to these early missionaries, “Feed them.” And they do, feeding five thousand – with left-overs!
So often I find my schedule jammed packed. This past week I had so much work that there were few nights I wouldn’t slept before 2-3am. But this last Sunday, I found myself wondering whether–despite the busyness of life–I could love and pray and minister like Bert does or how Jesus calls us all to. The fact is, we can’t. The fact is, Bert can’t. Only God can. The same power God gave the disciples to exorcise and heal and preach is the same power God gave the disciples to love and minister to the 5,000 and the same power God gives us today to love and minister and prayer for others.
The great challenge for us is to remind ourselves and others of the supernatural acts that God desires to do in our lives and in the lives of others. We are called to be houses of prayer.
These were some thoughts on this week’s message on prayer.