Monday, March 8, 2010

An Invitation to Pray- from Jesus

"And it came to pass, that, as he (Jesus) was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. And he said unto them..." (Luke 11:1,2)  Then follows what is commonly known as The Lord's Prayer - Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name...etc. After giving His disciples this "formula", Jesus went on to give them great encouragement to pray, and to BELIEVE that their Heavenly Father wanted to answer their prayers!

One of Jesus' most characteristic teachings is the concept of God as Father. In the Old Testament, the Lord seems to be depicted usually as the God of the nation, while in the New Testament, Jesus brings God near to the individual. In the first recorded words of Jesus, in Luke 2:49, He uses this title for God,'My Father'.
Jesus used this intimate name for God in all of His prayers. You know, this is one concept that Islam does not have. There is a wonderful book you can find on Amazon about a Muslim woman's conversion to Christianity, 'I Dared To Call Him Father' by Bilquis Sheikh. This prominent woman lived in Pakistan in the 1960's. She tells of how she came to find this Father-God concept so sweet! I recommend this book very highly. Here's a link so you can find it easily.

Back to my original thought of Jesus encouraging His disciples to think of God as a kindly Father - He went on to explain this to them very clearly. I am setting this up as a type of free verse poem. It makes the passage more beautiful, I think, to see it this way.

Ask, and It Shall Be Given

Ask, and it shall be given you;
seek, and ye shall find;
knock and it shall be opened unto you.

For every one that asketh receiveth:
and he that seeketh findeth:
and to him that knocketh
it shall be opened.

If a son shall ask bread
of any of you that is a father,
will he give him a stone?

Or if he ask a fish,
will he for a fish give him a serpent?
Or if he shall ask an egg,
will he offer him a scorpion?

If ye then, being evil,
know how to give good gifts
unto your children:

how much more
shall your heavenly Father
give the Holy Spirit
to them that ask Him?

Luke 11: 9-13

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