Luke and the Lost
A little boy was kneeling beside his bed with his mother and grandmother and softly saying his prayers, “Dear God, please bless Mummy and Daddy and all the family and please give me a good night’s sleep.”
Suddenly he looked up and shouted, “And don’t forget to give me a bicycle for my birthday!!”
“There is no need to shout like that,” said his mother. “God isn’t deaf.”
“No,” said the little boy, “but Grandma is.”
Mm, is that a prayer full of expectancy? The little boy is fully expecting Grandma to be led of God to come through with his request!
This morning I am in awe of two committed people, filled with the Spirit of God, and obeyed when led by Him after many years of praying expectantly.
Luke 2, The Message
21 When the eighth day arrived, the day of circumcision, the child was named Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived.
22-24 Then when the days stipulated by Moses for purification were complete, they took him up to Jerusalem to offer him to God as commanded in God’s Law: “Every male who opens the womb shall be a holy offering to God,” and also to sacrifice the “pair of doves or two young pigeons” prescribed in God’s Law.
25-32 In Jerusalem at the time, there was a man, Simeon by name, a good man, a man who lived in the prayerful expectancy of help for Israel. And the Holy Spirit was on him. The Holy Spirit had shown him that he would see the Messiah of God before he died. Led by the Spirit, he entered the Temple. As the parents of the child Jesus brought him in to carry out the rituals of the Law, Simeon took him into his arms and blessed God:
God, you can now release your servant;
release me in peace as you promised.
With my own eyes I’ve seen your salvation;
it’s now out in the open for everyone to see:
A God-revealing light to the non-Jewish nations,
and of glory for your people Israel.
33-35 Jesus’ father and mother were speechless with surprise at these words. Simeon went on to bless them, and said to Mary his mother,
This child marks both the failure and
the recovery of many in Israel,
A figure misunderstood and contradicted—
the pain of a sword-thrust through you—
But the rejection will force honesty,
as God reveals who they really are.
36-38 Anna the prophetess was also there, a daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher. She was by now a very old woman. She had been married seven years and a widow for eighty-four. She never left the Temple area, worshiping night and day with her fastings and prayers. At the very time Simeon was praying, she showed up, broke into an anthem of praise to God, and talked about the child to all who were waiting expectantly for the freeing of Jerusalem.
39-40 When they finished everything required by God in the Law, they returned to Galilee and their own town, Nazareth. There the child grew strong in body and wise in spirit. And the grace of God was on him.
God looked down on these two people who prayed expectantly every day and allowed them to see the results of their prayers…to live long enough to see the One, the Messiah, who would set God’s people free. But as we will read further, and because we know the rest of the story, God will do even more than their prayers could express or their minds could imagine!
This passage makes us wonder how expectant are our prayers? Do we fall into a pattern of ritualistic asking without really believing that God is already working on it? Does it take too long for him to respond, so we give up? How deep do our prayers go? Praying expectantly might mean that no matter what I pray, I know God is already there with the rescue BEFORE I mutter a word! Maybe we need to talk about with God and KNOW that He will answer our wonderings in ways we cannot imagine. Believe and be sincere. That’s what God wants.
What IS the cry of our hearts? Do we fully expect God to answer?
Dear Heavenly Father, I am in awe of these two people in Your Story who prayed expectantly without ever giving up. I am more in awe of YOU, who listens to our feeble mutterings, our crying out, our attempts to talk with you with words that don’t seem good enough, and then we remember, it’s not about the words but the cry of our hearts and the sincerity of our souls. We relax. We walk and talk with You with more expectant hearts. Thank you for Your Word that stirs our hearts. Continue to be with us and lead us by Your Holy Spirit living in us. In Jesus Name, Amen