Prayer Power

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Do you believe in prayer? Do you pray? Have you sought out the opportunity to teach another to pray? Jesus taught that prayer offers you spiritual growth, builds missional communities now and for the future, and unites heaven and earth.

In John 17, Jesus offers four instructions in prayer:

1) John 17:1-5 Jesus prays that the…” Father might glorify him.” Jesus prayed for himself. It is critical that we prioritize prayers for ourselves. Remember the verse, ”Love others as you love yourself.” If we do not take care of our own spiritual journey we have little to offer others.

2) John 17:6-19 Jesus offers prayers for his disciples. Certainly prayers do not stop with the self. Each of us is to pray for those who are close to us.

3) John 17:20-23 Jesus prays the church into existence. “ I do not pray only on behalf of these (the disciples) but also on behalf of all those who will one day believe in me (Jesus.)”

4) John 17:24-26 Is a prayer for the unity of heaven and earth. How vital it is for us to understand that earth is not just some holding tank while we wait. Jesus asks that the love of God which he knew might dwell with those to whom he says farewell to on earth.

Jesus calls upon us to pray. It is the responsibility of the church to teach those who are young in the faith to pray. If new believers see us putting other things ahead of God, they will become disillusioned and discouraged like a young Jewish boy who once lived in Germany.

His father was a successful merchant, and the family practiced their Jewish faith. But then they moved to another German city, and the boy’s father announced that they would no longer attend synagogue. They were going to join a Lutheran church.

The boy was very surprised and asked his father why the family was going to join a Lutheran church. His     father‘s answer was something like, “For business reasons. There are many Lutherans in this town that I can make good business contacts with at the Lutheran church. It will be good for business.”

That boy, who had a deep interest in religion, became so disillusioned with his father that something died within him. He said to himself, “My father has no real convictions”. The incident helped to turn him against religion with a vengeance.

That young boy later moved to England and began to write. His name was Karl Marx. As the father of communism he wrote the “Communist Manifesto, “ in which he called religion the “opiate of the masses.” In other words he believed that religion pacified people and made them ineffective for the world---he believed religion to be a destroyer of progress.

I wonder if world history would be different had Karl Marx’s father come to know God as Jesus had and prayed for himself, the disciples, the church, and the unity of heaven and earth. One thing is certain, Karl Marx was looking to learn that from his father and he did not.

May the power of prayer be a force that is central to your heart, and a visible witness to the world.

Still in One Peace,

David J. Jensen

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