The Amen of Advent
Read: Luke 2:30
“according to your word; For my eyes have seen your salvation,”
When Joseph and Mary bring the infant Jesus to the temple they are met by Simeon who has been directed to meet the parents and Jesus. Simeon’s prayer is a prayer of completion. Seeing Jesus was the Amen! of his years of waiting.
What he has been praying for his whole life; salvation, light and glory, all now present in the infant Jesus. Simeon takes the child into his arms and blesses him, he also blesses the parents. Simeon held the purpose and meaning of life in his arms. At last, the Amen of Advent! After a long life of hopeful prayer and faithful witness, he steps aside and gives place to Jesus – a letting-go and relinquishment. His phrase “the old man ending his submission to God’s word.”
It’s God’s word that initiates all prayer; provides the vocabulary of all prayer; and brings all prayer to wholeness and completion. God gets the first word in prayer, He also gets the last. “According to your word” is identical to that of Mary’s prayer. It’s in prayer that the heart is made receptive to the impossible and made willing to do the improbable. Prayer opens us up to the unfamiliar and new ways of God. Through His word, we find His promises as the ground on which our prayers are stationed. Then we pray submission and believing “according to your word.”
This is no quick-fix formula for praying. Nothing happens apart from the power of Jesus, rather, it is a position of the heart in our praying. As we pray, we are to be willing for the answer to come despite our experience, no matter how impossible, bizarre, trite or mundane it may seem. When the Spirit breaks in, old ways of thinking and living are left behind and new ways of thinking praying and living begin to take over.
Are your prayers based on the promises of God?