The gift of prayer – 5 April 2023
By Ewald Schmidt
Jesus started this evening’s events (the night before his crucifixion) by washing the feet of his disciples (John 13:1-16). He then taught them that whoever desires to be great in God’s kingdom, must serve others. Jesus personally set the example. To do great things, in God’s kingdom, differs a lot from the standards this world uses to measure success. We are called to follow in Christ’s footsteps and to learn from his example. Jesus came to establish the kingdom of God in this world. His church continues building his kingdom until he returns. Jesus came to serve and to heal broken people. He brought hope for the hopeless. His love touched people’s lives in a very practical way; love became deeds of care. He brought light to this world that is filled with darkness.
Jesus reminds his disciples and church that we are called to service, as he has shown us. We are here, in this world, to share his love and hope. When he said we will do greater works than him, he does not mean that our works will be more important than what he has done. We are going to make a difference together. There will be a Spirit-filled church – millions of people sharing his love, making a difference in this world wherever we go. His public ministry lasted for around three years, however, we might be called to our ministry, with our spiritual gifts, for much longer.
We do not need to do it alone. He is with us every step of the way, through his Spirit. We need to remember that God does not ask anything from us that he has not provided for us in the first place. Peter understood it so well: “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3)
God asks for a life of dedication from us and he provides all we need to fulfill our calling.
Prayer is a beautiful gift that Jesus gave us. Jesus does not give us a blank cheque to order whatever we want through this verse. Then, we will be disappointed with prayer. It is not about us and our desires. The focus of this verse is to seek the kingdom of God, to do his will. We may ask for what we need to honour him. We seek to do what he desires. When pondering about prayer, we need to remember that God knows exactly what we need, even before we ask him, as Jesus taught in Matthew 6:8. However, prayer is important in our life – we learn to appreciate our dependency on God and to trust in his providence. We express our willingness to do what he asks of us. We need his wisdom and guidance. When we communicate these desires to God, he gladly provides what we need.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you that you are the light in my darkness. Thank you for a new life and that you provide whatever I need to reach my mission in life. Thank you that you are always just a prayer away. Help me to be an instrument in your hand, sharing love and light wherever I go. Amen