John 14:13-14: “I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask for anything, I will do it.” And, Luke 11:9-10: “So, I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” And, “Thy will be done, on earth as in heaven.
”I’ve learned something very powerful about prayer. When you act on your prayers; when you talk to the people you’re praying for; when you pack your boxes even tho’ you’re not sure where you’re going exactly; when you clean the house, mop the floors, do the dishes, vacuum the carpets, the visitor you are praying to come, will come.
When you pray for God’s will to be done, and recognize the very best outcome for someone, and combine those prayers together, that very best outcome (or something better) will happen. When you pray for God’s will to be done, and recognize that God wants only the best and highest good for you and for the world, God will amaze you with blessings.
Yesterday, I sat in a waiting room after driving out near Victorville, into the desolate area there: mesquite and Joshua trees. I had not slept long, as the day before – betwixt and between the various calls from people in this congregation preparing for surgery, or waiting in hospital emergency rooms, or talking with the pastor of the Chocolate Church – I cleaned my house, as best I could. But I would sit sometimes, tired, and then tell myself, “Getup. You’re almost there. This is a prayer.” And most of the house got cleaned by midnight/1 am. And so I prayed in the waiting room at Adelanto. For a young man I had not yet met, and a judge I had not met, and a lawyer I had not met, and a prosecuting attorney I had not yet met. For “Thy Will Be Done.” And for the judge’s heart, especially, as I had heard from the attorney that this judge was not helpful, I prayed that God would “bend the knees of his heart.” That is from the “Prayer of Manassa,” one of the worst kings of Israel, when he turned back to God, and asked forgiveness. First, this king asked God to recognize that he was bending the knees of his heart. That is how much he wanted forgiveness.
And it seemed, in that waiting room, that the forces of the world; the forces of the “letter of the law” versus the “Spirit of the law,” were at work. The young man recounted again his experiences in a gang-led country, and he recounted them differently: This gang, not That gang, had put a knife to his chest. This gang, not that gang had put a gun to his head. This day, before the other day, was when he left. This day, before this other event was whenthis threat happened. And none of it matched the testimony he had given in October. The lawyer was very worried. And in his final arguments, he simply asked the court to “give this man a break.”
And the court did: they granted Asylum. And I remembered times in my life when I’ve prayed by cleaning, and prayers were answered and depressions lifted. I remembered the book I read once about Celtic maidens sewing prayers into shirts worn under armor, and those prayers, in the form of flowers and embroidery, saved this life or that. Of how a Bible given to a young man by Mary Baker Eddy, saved his life from a bullet in WWI. Prayers are powerful, especially when they are prayed with intention, and love, and hope, and the knowledge that God’s will is for our good. Blessings and Merry Christmas. Pastor Bethany