Tag Archives: Praying

Inconvenience (or Mark 2, part 1)


Inconvenience.

I am not a fan.

But something stood out to me the last time I read Mark 2:1-12.

The story is basically this:

Jesus is becoming very popular and loads of people are coming to listen to him, see him, and watch what he might do next. So he is in a very crowded house talking with people. Four guys hear that he is close to where they are and they decide their friend needs to be brought to Jesus. They have to bring him because he is paralyzed and cannot walk on his own. So they carry him to the house- but the house is too full to get near Jesus. So plan B.

This is where it gets interesting. The guys decide to get on the roof of the house and remove the tiles that are the ceiling. Then they lower their friend down in front of Jesus.

Two things I can’t get past at this point in the story- First, they really had to go out of their way to make this happen. I know it’s great to do good things for a friend, but really, this was not convenient for them. Second, what was everyone thinking as tiles started moving overhead? This couldn’t have happened in just a split second. It must have taken a little bit of time. So what was everyone thinking? What was the house owner thinking? Why didn’t anyone speak up and say, “Hey, you guys want in here? You don’t have to pull the roof apart…” So what were they thinking?

On both sides I see an issue of inconvenience. It took a lot of work for the guys to get their friend to Jesus. Rather inconvenient. Their actions also interpreted everyone’s day. I am inclined to guess that no one offered to help them get into the house because it would be inconvenient for them.

So what do I learn from this? This is what:

Helping people get to Jesus is often “inconvenient.”

I don’t really think the guys anticipated that much trouble getting their friend to Jesus. It was not an easy task to get their friend to Jesus. But they were determined. They were sure if they got to Jesus, he would do something. But it took some work for them to get there.

But the value of placing their friend in front of Jesus outweighed any inconvenience.

The response of Jesus amazes me. Verse 5 says, “Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man…” The faith and the determination of the friends to get the paralyze guy in front of Jesus moved Jesus to act. This challenges me.

There are times that I find myself thinking I’m too busy or tired to spend time praying for someone (placing them in front of Jesus)- it feels “inconvenient.” But how can taking someone before Jesus be inconvenient? At least that is what I hear this story saying to me. The four guys did not allow a little inconvenience stand in the way of getting their friend to Jesus. So, seriously, what’s my excuse?

I don’t want to be part of the everyone in the house. It was not their faith that Jesus responded to. It looks like they allowed inconvenience to stop them from helping the guys get into the house. I don’t want to be part of them. So while somethings may be able to fall under “inconvenient,” I am learning to never think of it as inconvenient to help take my friends before Jesus.


Forgiveness


I have been learning more about prayer lately. The things I am learning are coming a lot from our time as a congregation praying. We have set aside time on Tuesday mornings to gather and pray. It has been incredible.Prayer

Learning to pray is significant. So significant that the disciples actually asked Jesus to teach them. Prayer was a very important part of Jesus’ activity. There are moments in scripture that describe him going off to pray all night. In Matthew 6, Jesus gives instructions on how to pray:

And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:5-15 ESV)

I have to admit that I struggle with that last part…. The part about my forgiveness for others influencing God’s forgiveness of me. One of the readings I came across during this Lent season described the connection between prayer and forgiveness in a very good way. It helped me so I wanted to share it with you.

If prayer is about heaven and earth coming together at one time, in one place, within the lump of clay we call ‘me’, then it’s going to change this person called ‘me’. In particular, it’s going to make me a forgiver. Jesus was quite clear about this. All of us have been hurt, wounded, slighted, annoyed by other people. How much more have we ourselves done that to God! Yet we want him to be with us, to hear us, and — yes! — to forgive us. How can we not be forgivers too?(N.T. Wright, Lent For Everyone,Day 7)

God is willing to forgive me. So why would I not forgive others? And how could I approach God without humility, knowing I am forgiven? And if I have been forgiven, then as I pray, I am changed and forgiving others is a natural response from time spent talking to the one who forgives me.


Listen Closely


Today’s passage is from Matthew 6:1-21.

What stands out to you from this passage? What connects with you and your journey towards Easter? What do you believe Jesus wants you to hear today? What do you believe Jesus wants you to do today?

Spend time talk with Jesus…. listening to Him; responding to Him.