Luke and The Lost
I grew up surrounded by praying people. My parents relied on God’s wisdom in decision making. Our church gathered at the altar when making decisions about anything concerning God’s work. When it came time to relocate and build a bigger church across town, we were at the altar. I recall going to the altar even when the color of brick for the new building was being decided. The whole congregation was involved in praying…about everything!
In the summertime, I would stay overnight with my grandparents on their farm numerous times. I would have lived there if my parents would have agreed. Staying with Grandpa and Grandma Lacquement meant following their traditions and habits. They had a nightly habit of Bible reading and on your knees praying. This was not a quick Bible story and a hurried “good night, Lord”, you could describe this session in today’s terms as an all out Bible Study.
One particular evening I remember coming from Wednesday night “Prayer Meeting” at church to go with them to their home. I was putting my things in the guest room when I was called in for Bible reading. As an older child by then, I decided to ask, with trepidation, because I loved and respected my grandparents greatly, with “We just had Bible Study at church…why…”. Grandpa gave me a passionate “look” that I will never forget. I put down my childishness and picked up my Bible. I never questioned him again. He suggested I pray out loud first that night. I am smiling thinking of this moment. There was no fear in this moment, only love for God who I saw in my Grandpa. I was drawn to God because of Grandpa’s insistence and discipline of prayer and respect for God who gave us all we have.
Prayer and reading God’s Word every night on the farm was not just a ritual, it was a necessity to stay in constant communication with God. As a mature adult, I realize that this discipline gave Grandpa and Grandma Lacquement the wisdom, unconditional love, compassion, and even the twinkle in their eyes that I so admired. Maybe that’s why I am compelled to rise every morning to talk with God through Jesus with the guidance of His Holy Spirit and then read His Word and comment in this blog so others will know Him.
Where did this love in our hearts for communicating with God come from? It comes from Jesus’ example. He was in constant communication with God about EVERY detail of His mission and purpose. Jesus expressed to all those around Him, “I say what the Father tells me to say. I do what the Father tells me to do.” The first line of our passage prompted memories of Grandpa because of the words, “He (Jesus) went, as he so often did, to Mount Olives. He went there often to pray. He taught His disciples to pray. He prayed for them and for us! He prayed for help and strength and He got it. He prayed passionately for the “cup” of responsibility to be removed quickly followed by “But please, not what I want. What do YOU want?”
Jesus’ last instruction to his disciples about prayer was, “Get up. Pray so you won’t give in to temptations.” This is way we pray unceasingly with conviction and passion. It is so easy to get too busy to pray. That’s when evil presses in on all sides. I don’t know what your habits are for communication with God, it doesn’t matter how you do it, just do it. Try to leave “feelings” out of the equation. Pray because Jesus taught us to pray. Pray because we love Him and want to thank Him for what He did for us. Pray for direction. Pray for the lost.
Luke 22, The Message
A Dark Night
39-40 Leaving there, he went, as he so often did, to Mount Olives. The disciples followed him. When they arrived at the place, he said, “Pray that you don’t give in to temptation.”
41-44 He pulled away from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, “Father, remove this cup from me. But please, not what I want. What do you want?” At once an angel from heaven was at his side, strengthening him. He prayed on all the harder. Sweat, wrung from him like drops of blood, poured off his face.
45-46 He got up from prayer, went back to the disciples and found them asleep, drugged by grief. He said, “What business do you have sleeping? Get up. Pray so you won’t give in to temptation.”
47-48 No sooner were the words out of his mouth than a crowd showed up, Judas, the one from the Twelve, in the lead. He came right up to Jesus to kiss him. Jesus said, “Judas, you would betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”
49-50 When those with him saw what was happening, they said, “Master, shall we fight?” One of them took a swing at the Chief Priest’s servant and cut off his right ear.
51 Jesus said, “Let them be. Even in this.” Then, touching the servant’s ear, he healed him.
52-53 Jesus spoke to those who had come—high priests, Temple police, religion leaders: “What is this, jumping me with swords and clubs as if I were a dangerous criminal? Day after day I’ve been with you in the Temple and you’ve not so much as lifted a hand against me. But do it your way—it’s a dark night, a dark hour.”
What do we learn?
–Pray often as Jesus did.
–Pray as if our lives depended on it.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Hallowed is Your Name. May Your Kingdom come and dwell in us and all around us. May Your Will be done in every detail on earth in our lives as it is in heaven. Give us this day all we need to see You, stay focused on You and see Your glory and praise You. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Defeat the evil one who lies in wait. Rescue us. Be our strength and our song all day long and into the night. We will not stop giving you praise and glory forevermore.
In Jesus Name, Amen. I believe.