Thursday, March 28, 2013

Why Bother God?

At the end of each church service they have people available to pray for anyone who needs it. They stand in the front, so you have to go up there, where everyone can see you. Then you have to tell someone your problem so they can pray for you, out loud.

I do not enjoy being in front of people. What I do not enjoy even more is being the center of attention, which is what happens when you tell someone your problem. I get nervous and blotchy and would much rather stand in the background or pray for someone else. I barely made it through my own wedding...

But I am also deeply convicted to keep asking Jesus for healing.

There once was a super-annoying guy named Bartimaeus who did the same thing. Except he was even more annoying than me because he was blind and was yelling at Jesus to heal him. Next time I quietly ask you to pray for me you think about that. At least I am not yelling.

"Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, 'Son of David, have mercy on me!'" Mark 10:48

But what we call annoying, Jesus calls faith.

"'Go,' said Jesus, 'your faith has healed you.' Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road." Mark 10:52

So I go up there and ask for prayer for the same old thing. I do it because God has showed me that he loves to act through spoken prayer, through one person speaking prayer over another. I do it because I know God's timing is good, and this might be the time. I do it because I believe Jesus is the Son of God, the one who can do anything.


Sometimes I look at those people standing up there being available to pray and think, Why are there not long, long lines of people wanting prayer every Sunday?

Have you ever wondered that? God tells us to pray for one another, to pray continually. Even if you don't have a sickness you still have SOME need.

I think it's just a sign of the times and our culture in general: "We don't need anything. We already have everything we need. We can take care of ourselves." Most of us already have food, shelter, and good health. So why bother that guy in the front with my petty prayer request? Someone else surely needs something worse than I do... Surely God has better things to do... Why bother God?

Do we really need a crisis to prove our frail nature?

The moment we develop this mentality, we lose our dependence on God. We don't lose our need for God; we always need him whether we realize it or not. But it is our choice whether to depend on him. In all of our blessings we become so self-sufficient that Jesus is no longer someone we live for but instead someone we live with and whom we occasionally acknowledge. Like the family dog. You just walk by him and pat him on the head, glad he's there.


Do you know this downward spiral of self-sufficiency that I'm talking about? I don't want my faith to turn into that. Even when I'm healed completely, I hope I will still run to the front of the church so I can bare my need to God. I hope I continue to be embarrassed and look like a fool. Because in every season -- healthy or sick, rich or poor, skinny or fat -- we each have equal need for God.

God, the one who made us and the one who sustains us and meets our every need.

We need to be so annoying with our prayer requests that God remains the famous one. If everything really is okay in our world, we need to get over ourselves and our near-perfect lives and get up there and cry out to God to make our world bigger and send us where others are not okay so that we can bring them that living gospel that saved and delivered us.

We need to drag our friends up front for prayer. Remember that paralyzed guy whose friends wanted him healed so badly that they literally carried him to Jesus? And when they got there and it was so crowded, how they physically dropped him down through the roof, right in front of Jesus?

Faith is an action and it can be annoying... socially inappropriate... politically incorrect. These men who carried their friend to Jesus, they were sweating and they didn't care what anyone in that crowd thought and their adrenaline was faith. Jesus healed their friend "when he saw their faith."

This is why we bother God: As we persevere in our asking, our faith becomes strong. God sees -- and rewards -- our faith. So next time you have an opportunity to get prayed for, try this drama on for size (Psalm 18:6-16):

"In my distress I called to the Lord;
    I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
    my cry came before him, into his ears.
The earth trembled and quaked,
    and the foundations of the mountains shook;
    they trembled because he was angry.
Smoke rose from his nostrils;
    consuming fire came from his mouth,
    burning coals blazed out of it.
He parted the heavens and came down;
    dark clouds were under his feet.
He mounted the cherubim and flew;
    he soared on the wings of the wind.
He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him—
    the dark rain clouds of the sky.
Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced,
    with hailstones and bolts of lightning.
The Lord thundered from heaven;
    the voice of the Most High resounded.
 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy,
    with great bolts of lightning he routed them.
The valleys of the sea were exposed
    and the foundations of the earth laid bare
at your rebuke, Lord,
    at the blast of breath from your nostrils.

He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters."

No comments: