Wednesday, November 24
I have often wondered about some of Jesus’ prayers. What did He really feel? What did He really pray for? What can we learn from His prayers?
The one I’ve wondered about most (and likely projected myself into) is a prayer Jesus offers after what appears to be a particularly frustrating series of ministry conversations/teaching episodes (don’t we all pray like crazy at those times?!). Now, you may have a hard time accepting that Jesus was ever frustrated as a teacher (and I suppose you would be correct). But if we evaluate teaching effectiveness according to the “results” of students who get it, I think you’d agree this was a failure along our current lines of evaluation. (Matthew 11, MSG) They are questioning if he’s really “the guy”, they’re criticizing whatever he does, he’s dishing out harsh warnings against those who won’t listen, and then, abruptly, he prays. Prays? Yes, prays. Abruptly. I always wonder what motivated that prayer.
How do you respond when an actual ministry outcome is frustrating? When it doesn’t correlate to your plans or desires? Jesus responds by praying and thanking God for what had been hidden from His listeners, “Abruptly Jesus broke into prayer: 'Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. You've concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to ordinary people. Yes, Father, that's the way you like to work.'”
It's a prayer of thanksgiving.
But what for? It seems there was no “progress” as we would measure it… so why did Jesus pray like this? I like to think this was a supreme act of faith, where Jesus is trusting himself to God’s mysterious ways, “Yes, Father, that’s the way you like to work.”. Jesus prayed—THANKFULLY. I have to believe that He actually felt gratitude, recognizing that God’s ways are trustworthy and good, despite the dismal evidence of human response to His effort.
So on Thanksgiving eve, my question for you is this:
What’s a troubling circumstance or frustration for you this Thanksgiving?
What would it mean for you to offer thanks… FOR that situation, naming it exactly as Jesus did?
Perhaps there’s no time like Thanksgiving to express in faith your trust in God’s sovereignty and love.
By: Mindy Caliguire (@MindyCaliguire)
Transformation Ministry Team, WCA
This post was inspired by Matthew 11.