Sunday, February 17, 2008

Men ought always to pray, and not to faint

Luke 18:1 says, "And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint."

Thus begins the parable of the unjust judge. You all know it. A woman bugs and nags an unjust judge, until he finally gives in and defends her against her enemies. And Jesus, according to St. Luke, is telling us by this parable that we should nag God. Really. Jesus himself ends by saying that God will "avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him..."

I believe that it is not always coincidence but sometimes Providence that we hear particular things at particular times. This past Thursday at ladies' Bible study Phil. 4:6-7 was one of the verses we went over, in which we are told not to worry but rather to "make [our] requests known unto God." And this morning the hymn "Commit Thou All That Grieves Thee" was on the slate, chosen by the priest, not by me. Unfortunately, it appears that none of the cyber-hymnals have it, because for some reason the words are still copyright. It's #446 in the 1940 hymnal, and the first verse goes like this:

Commit thou all that grieves thee
And fills thy heart with care.
To Him whose faithful mercy
The skies above declare,
Who gives the winds their courses,
Who points the clouds their way
Tis He will guide thy footsteps
And be thy staff and stay.

And then while I was thinking about prayer, Jesus' parable of the unjust judge came to mind.

The point of all of this seems to me to be that we should get over ourselves. By that I mean that we should stop worrying about wasting God's time with our "little" worries or with things that "might not seem important to him." We have no dignity with God anyway, so let's get on with it: Jesus says we are to pray and not to faint. St. Paul says we are to bring our requests to God. These strike me as biblical injunctions simply to speak to God about our concerns and worries, to make our requests humbly, realizing that it might not be His will to grant them, but not to try to get an "inside line" on what God is already planning to do in the matter or what God wants us to say, the exact feelings He wants us to have. It really isn't about our feelings anyway (unless that happens to be what we are praying about). It's about whatever the subject of the request happens to be, which we should simply lay before Him as we are told to do.

So, since I think these things are sometimes not coincidences, I give you these thoughts for what they are worth, so that if God put them into my mind for a reason connected to one of my readers as well as to my own preoccupations, they are available.

2 comments:

LanceThruster said...

"If there is a God, he is a malign thug" ~ Mark Twain

Lydia McGrew said...

Gee, Lance, you didn't keep your word and not darken my door anymore after I didn't give a "substantive response" to your crazy rantings about Israel poisoning the "Palestinians'" wells, nuking all of Gaza, and all the rest. Now you're starting to put unpleasant and pointless comments on my personal religious posts. Now, listen, I only picked up a black helicopter watcher like you because you had a bot-thing looking for the name of your professor on Google, and it alerted you that I had a post about him. Would you get lost, already? If I thought I could help you, I would, but I don't, so I won't try.

I do have a delete function, but I'm giving you one last chance just to fade away quietly, voluntarily.