I believe Jesus singled out people, who needed direct attention in prayer. In the Gospel of John, John Zebedee is the closest to Jesus; yet, it is for Peter Jesus prayed the most. "Prayer served as an edge and a border to preserve the web of life from unraveling" (S.S. p.192). Peter was fortunate to have Jesus pray for the web to stay in tact and spare Peter from a disastrous fall. Luke 22: 31-32 preserved this incident, "Simon, Simon, watch out! Satan has been let loose to sift you as one sifts wheat. But I have prayed for you in order that your faith will not stop. And when you turn around, support your brothers."
The answer is, “Yes.” It is up to me to be, who I ought to be, and do what, I ought to do. The thing that holds me back is fear. I am afraid to ask, “Is it up to me, Lord?” I was not the first nor will I be the last to feel that way. Jesus spoke of a person like that, “I was afraid of you and I did not feel that I could live up to your demands, for you harvest without sowing yourself “ (Lk. 19:21). The other one heard a voice, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” And He said, “Go, and speak to the people” (Isa. 6:8-9). I too learned that it was up to me to answer my prayers. I had to overcome my hesitation and go to places where I least expected an answer. “Anyone, who knows the good he ought to do and does not do it, sins” (Ja. 4:17)
In many of my prayers, I reflect quietly where I came from and how I became who I am. The road that I took when I ran away from home was the same road that took me back home. I ran away from home in my teens three times. It was a time in my life when I could not please my father. To avoid being beaten severely, I took to the road with my mother’s help. After a period of cooling and promises from my father not to lose his temper with me, I would crawl home like a beaten pup.
Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. He walked along the border between Galilee and Samaria. Just before He entered a village, ten lepers stood at a distance and begged in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” Jesus told them to go and see their priests. They obeyed and while they went, they were healed. When one of the lepers saw what was happening to him, he returned to Jesus praising God in a loud voice; he threw himself at His feet and thanked Him. I am troubled, by the question, Jesus raised and what He said to the person who returned to bring thanks to Jesus as a man, “Ten of you were healed, where are the nine? Was this Samarian the only one that needed to return and praise God? Get up, go home; it is your faith that has healed you” (Lk. 17:11-18).
Faith says, “We can,” but Logic says, "You can’t.” Whom are we going to trust, faith or logic? Common Sense is a combination of faith and logic. The truth is, we need both. The disciples could not help an epileptic boy and when Jesus did, they asked why they had failed. Jesus gave them this answer, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you” (Mt. 17:20). James, half-brother to Jesus, had an idea why we fail, “If any of you lack wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like the wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he would receive anything from the Lord. He is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does” (Ja. 1:5-8).
We do pray that things would go our way. We take comfort in singing, "Blessed Assurance Jesus is mine." But what did Jesus sing? Where was his assurance that He was safe? As a man, He had no place to lay his head, no one He could trust or turn to for comfort. He felt that he and the Father were one and on intimate terms; yet He felt alone in Gethsemane and begged the Father to provide an easier task and road. And at the cross, Jesus felt forsaken. In spite of all his disappointments, He promised to be with his followers always and that no one could remove them from his and his Father’s hand (Mt. 28:20; Jn. 10:28-29).
Compliance is to acquiesce willingly to a demand, a request or a wish. It is not an act of blind obedience; but, a voluntary choice do what the person does I desire to follow. My problem is that I do not consider what I am asking. I may be going over my head and do not know it. James and John asked Jesus to be seated on his right and left. Jesus had two questions, do you know what you are asking and can you drink the cup I will drink? They had no answer to the first question, but they were certain that they could drink the cup. Their problem was that they missed the real reason why Jesus had chosen them (Mk. 10:35-45).
We need a place, a time where and when we can rest and recharge our life. Jesus often withdrew and even encouraged his disciples to withdraw and rest. Mark reported this incident. “The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had don and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’ So they went away by themselves in a boat to a deserted place” (Mk. 6:31-32).
How long do we hang on to people that affect little change in our lives? Our grand daughter’s car was out of commission and I had the privilege of driving her to World Vision, where she volunteers to gain experience because her college degree did not secure her a job. We talked about friendship and agreed that the kind we need were people that were constructive in their criticism. She, at twenty-two, has already had a taste of friends that I have had at eighty-four. There are those that like us and see nothing wrong and then there are those that judge us without even knowing us. Here we are, looking for friends that can make our lives change for the better.