“. . . but by prayer . . .” Mark 9:29
Before moving forward in our texts, we pause to look back, to examine the essential ingredient of all of Jesus’ words and work – prayer. All of Jesus’ public acts were the result of His hidden life of prayer. Jesus’ entire ministry was driven by one principle – prayer precedes public performance. We best not forget this so that we are not seduced by the salacious. The encouragement of knowing Jesus’ secret of success is, anyone can pray.
Prayer is our primary language. Anybody can pray. And everybody does. We pray even when we don’t know we are praying. Most believers’ prayer life is made up of two prayers: “help me,” for all the times we can’t find our way through life, and “thank you,” when we see that, no matter our condition, all life is a gift.
Ironically, though prayer is as natural as breathing, it is the easiest thing to fake. We can use the words of prayer, assume the posture, practice the forms of prayer and never really pray. All the religious repetition is a cover up for prayerlessness.
Jesus’ prayer life gives us a foundation for developing a life of mature prayer, one which does not depend on eloquent words, or the state of our mood. As we follow Jesus, we learn to embrace His way of prayer. While our prayers contain confession, thanksgiving and supplication, there is an element in the prayers of Jesus, which is often missing in ours. Silence. It’s indispensable. It’s as much a language as are words. Without silence, our words disintegrate into babble. Silence is attentive listening, best understood in stages.
The stage in which we place full attention on Christ and Him crucified. We surrender fully to His will, as well as the cost involved.
This stage is where we inwardly consider the presence of God with our imagination. We concentrate on the present reality of our relationship with God, until our whole life is stirred, and our heart, soul and mind are set ablaze.
Then, there is the experience in which the truth of God’s word takes ahold of the soul. It gives insight to the mind and godly feelings to the heart so strong it defeats any fears we have using the will, with power to believe.
Prayer driven by wants and needs never amounts to much. We are after the way of Jesus, which is substantial, and often, wordless.
Spend time in prayer . . . without words.