Prayer. It is probably the single most important thing a Christian can do. And I know, Jesus gave us the Great Commission – which we need to follow, and he gave the New Commandment to “love one another as I have loved you.” But Jesus tells us to pray – through words and action. His was a ministry of prayer. Time to decide on the apostles? Go and pray. Time to go up onto the mountain and meet Moses and Elijah? Go and pray. Time to sacrifice my life? Go into the garden and pray. Jesus’ life was one of deep prayer. And I believe that without prayer we cannot evangelize nor can we love very well (think about it – it is easy to love my daughter, but what about my enemies? I can only do that with God’s help).
Prayer works and I believe in prayer, yet sometimes my faith waivers. Yes I said it. I am the one who preaches on prayer at least four times a year; the one who sends out a weekly email asking “How can I pray with you this week?” (And I say those prayers faithfully). I am the one who stresses prayer constantly. But my prayer life is never what I want it to be – or what God wants it to be.
And so I am challenging myself to increase my prayer life – to reach out and pray like never before. To pray before, during and after events, not as a “tacked on prayer” but as the work itself. I am challenging myself to let go and let God guide me, change me, use me. And I am challenging myself to believe even more in the power of prayer.
Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief (Mark 9:24).
Grace and peace,
It is the beginning of January, a new year has started, and the world has moved on from Christmas. All up and down my streets are trees awaiting tomorrow’s trash collection and the lights are going off. A few of us still have our decorations up (after all the Epiphany isn’t until January 6th), but pretty much it is all over. SIGH.
For me this is one of the most depressing times of the year. We’ve been inundated with Christmas carols since the beginning of November, but they disappeared from the radio on the 26th of December. We had brightly lit neighborhoods, but now it is dark. Television was filled with commercials and now…well they are still trying to sell us stuff. Let’s not go there! Let’s go back to the dark.
It was so nice. All the neighborhood decked out in bright lights. Some homes had white, others multi-colors, but the theme was there. Light. And now it is dark.
And yet that is the point. The darkness has been around for a long time. But one day, so long ago, something changed. The light entered into the world. And “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” Ever.
So the Christmas lights may be turned off for another year, but the true light is still here. We are the light of the world, and if the darkness did not overcome the light, we should be shining bright.
And so, in this time of “after Christmas”, the time when the decorations are taken down and put away, the time when the natural light is still dim and the Christmas lights are put back into the basement we need to shine extra bright. We need to show the world the light, bringing a true meaning to the celebration of Christmas.
Brothers and sisters, shine bright. Show the world all the light you possess. Remind us all once again the real celebration – the Light of the World.