Pastor Brian Kelly
God will give justice to His children. He Will Answer their cry to Him of need. And He will not be long in answering them, but Will right away.
When Jesus healed on the Shabbat, none that He healed were in any danger. Their healing could have waited for the following day.
But that is Not Like God to do. And that is not like our Loving Father, or any loving father, to do. He answers. He hears and Answers His children.
Jesus told His disciples the parable of the Persistent Widow to the effect that, Luke explained, they ought Always to pray and Not Lose heart.
Now the widow had no influence, no money, and no hope of ever extracting justice from a robber judge. The widow had nothing, but one thing. One thing did she have: Persistence. And she went at the judge day after day—with heat, with passion, all of her heart in it:
“Give me justice against my adversary.”
To persist at Anything, one’s heart must be in it. All of one’s heart. For persistence is an enduring and continual act that—in the face of whatever obstacle, opposition, or circumstance—is Un-re-lenting. And if the heart is not true, one will not be able to persist, but will quickly Lose Heart.
Prayer is offered to us like water offered to a man dying from thirst: “Here. Drink.”
Naturally, the man will receive the cup—“Here. Drink”—into his hands, and bring it to his lips, with gratitude. Never would he think he was being burdened with a chore, or commanded to drink.
Take…This will relieve you…This will restore you: Is what the man hears, for that Is what is being said to him.
And that is what is being said to us—Here. Drink.
Prayer, true prayer, is Essential. As essential to life as water is.
There is no relationship, no knowing Him, no means To Knowing Him, without prayer.
How would one express repentance? Ask for forgiveness? And without that, how would one know, experientially know, how truly Merciful and Gracious He is? And, if no occasion for it, what it is to Sing to the Lord a new song?
Without prayer there is No Means of acknowledging our poverty. Of crying to Him in our weakness for strength. In our timidity for courage. In our inability for ability. In our brokeness for wholeness. No means of crying out to Him to be filled. And, therefore, no knowledge—no firsthand knowing—that He Will give to His children justice—the Hebrew mishpat: the meeting of the need of the weak, the poor, the defenseless…the abused, and the oppressed—the cry of the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner.
David sang, Ps. 9, “And those who know Your name put their trust in You.”
Now Name, in the Eastern sense, is not simply what one goes by, but Is the Character of the individual, from his compassion to his workmanship—all what makes one what one is.
Those who know, intimately know, His Person, His Character, will put their trust, their faith, in Him.
How do we Trust in one we do not know? And Know without walking with, talking to, learning from?
It is by prayer, and prayer alone, that, Jer. 29, “You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart.”
All Your heart.
Your heat. Your passion. And—sunfall to sunrise to sunfall to sunrise to sunfall—Persistence.
Prayer is Not a closing in upon oneself—elbows tucked in, palms pressed together, head bowed, but is a Reaching out—hands raised, a Looking toward—face uplifted, a Getting beyond—not a shutting within—Self.
Prayer is Not, and Is not to be, one thing. Nor dry, or flavorless—but alive, satisfying to both clay and breath. As many and varied as the Season, and the needs, of the day.
From Song to Dance to the Strike of a tambourine, All communion that is to Him, and Him alone—your heart to His, praising, blessing, thanking, and confessing, Is prayer.
Prayer is a Means, not an end. It is the early rain and the latter rain of the day. Each and every day. Without it there can be no growth. No growing in knowing Him. No fruit.
But with prayer, O man, with the early rain and the latter rain that True prayer is, “the threshing floors Shall be Full of grain, and the vats Shall Overflow with wine and oil.”