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September 13, 2013

NOTES FROM THE JOURNEY: Praying most when saying least


When a distraught father complained to Jesus that his disciples had failed to heal his son, Jesus countered that all things are possible to those who believe. The father then begged, “Lord, I believe – help thou my unbelief.” Jesus’ gracious response to this man’s candidness invites us to pray truthfully even when we’re confused and our faith flickers.

Jesus once told a parable about two men who went up to the temple to pray. The Pharisee prayed a long prayer in which he favorably compared himself to the tax collector next to him. On the other hand, the Publican simply pled, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” That’s the prayer I most need to pray every day – without reference to the Pharisees and “those other people.”

But, thank the Lord, our prayers are not limited by our spontaneous verbal skills. Paul says in Romans that when “we do not know how we ought to pray; the Spirit himself pleads with God for us, in groans that words cannot express” (8:26).

By God’s grace, sometimes we are praying most when we are saying nothing. Lord, in the words of Jesus, “not my will, but Thine be done.” Amen.

John Paul Carter’s “Notes From the Journey” is a regular feature of Viewpoints.

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