Jesus said, “No one comes to the father except through me” (Jn. 14:6). “And I will do what ever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (Jn. 14:13-14). How do I connect with Jesus as my partner that takes my requests to God? I have to be in a good relationship with the Son in order to get a hearing with his Father who also is our Father (Jn. 20:17). To gain access to God, we must come through Christ Jesus (Ro. 5:11-2). It therefore becomes the most important choice I have to make.
A furious wind came up on the Lake of Galilee and the waves broke over the boat and swamped it. Jesus was asleep on a cushion in the stern. The disciples panicked and woke him up pleading, ‘Teacher, don’t you care that we perish’”(Mk. 4:37-38)? These were fishermen, familiar with the Lake and the weather; yet, they were unprepared to face the crisis. What was their reason for venturing out on a night like the one they found themselves in? Not a one had any question about safety. Did they take Jesus for granted? Do we take God’s help for granted?
Jesus, before He was betrayed and arrested, felt a strong need to have with him Peter and the Zebedee brothers in prayer. They fell asleep and Jesus ended up praying alone. Three times, Jesus found them sleeping, rather than watching (Mt. 26:37-45). Without prayer, the disciples were unprepared to face the events that took Jesus from them. They had not agreed on Jesus’ intention to suffer and die. Their own agenda was in the way of understanding their Lord’s mission. They disagreed on what they wanted. The earliest need to agree was with Adam and Eve and they agreed doing the wrong thing. It was the man’s helper, who made the wrong choice, and the man did not forsake her and the two faced life together, whether it was good or bad. The Creator had joined them and no one was permitted to interfere in their oneness or union (Gen. 2-3). A lesson Jesus reinforced and both men and women have continued to disregard God’ major command for married couples (Mt. 19:3-9). It is sad and harmful to man’s existence to break agreements.
Jesus called a little child and had him stand among them. Then He said, “Verily I say unto you, if you do not convert and become like little children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whosoever humbles himself like this little child, that one is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And who receives such a child in my name, receives me” (Mt. 18:2-5). Mark had Jesus take the child in his arms and then speak to his self-elevated disciples (Mk. 9:36). Both, Mark and Luke added “whosoever shall receive me receives him that sent me.” Luke also inserted, “for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great” (Lk. 9:48).
Prayer is personal and private. I have been brought up to pray alone and I prefer a lonely place. Our Lord, Himself, frequently withdrew to be alone and only once did his disciples hear Him utter words (Jn. 17). The only time, He wanted them to watch with Him, they fell asleep (Mk. 14:37). There are four such prayers. The first one, Jesus prayed alone and it set the stage for His life and work. In the second one, He sought insight. In the third one, He needed assurance. And in the fourth prayer, Jesus wrestled with change.
Years ago I listened to the song, “I can see clearly now, the rain is gone.” The truth is, I do not continually or intermittently see clearly. My mind does get clouded and I do pray for a little insight. I have yet to experience, as some claim they have, God or the Lord telling them what to say or do. I still rely on my own intuition or inner sense to guide me. I cannot help but take to heart these words of Jesus, “The eye is the lamp of your body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness” (Mt. 6:22-23)!