The prayer of trust in God

This prayer of trust in God is not easy. I find that when I bring a burden, problem or concern to God, I have strings attached. I unconsciously want it answered my way, and usually as soon as possible. I want the outcome to be what I envisage to be God’s plan or will in a given situation. If things does not pan out that way, I get upset, frustrated, worried. But I am learning.

How can water meet a shortage of wine in a wedding?

I am learning prayer from Mary, the mother of Jesus. She saw that the wedding at Cana was in trouble because the wine was running out (John 2). It was a big problem because hospitality was a big thing. It was hard for hosts to estimate the amount of food or wine needed because virtually everyone invited could invite anyone. What did Mary do? She told Jesus, “They are short on wine.” That’s all. She did not tell Jesus what he needed to do and how to do it. When I pray, I find myself telling God what to do as though I know the best way of solving various problems. Who has known the mind and ways of God to counsel and instruct him? Of course none of us tell God what to do – except unconsciously or unknowingly – in prayer. It cannot be called a prayer of trust in God then. It should be called a prayer to control or use God.

This insight from Mary’s example has been an impetus for me to learn to pray by just letting God know there is a problem and telling him I don’t know what to do and I trust Him with it. If he does whisper, or bring to my mind something I could do about the matter, I will just do it, no matter how irrelevant or inadequate the action he drops in my mind may seem. Pouring hundreds of litres of water into stone jars seemed totally inadequate and irrelevant to the shortage of wine in the wedding, but the servants did as they were told and lo, and behold, God was able to do exceeding beyond all that Mary could ask or imagine, and all the glory goes to him.

When I do the prayer of trust in God it liberates me from this grasping tendency to want to maintain control over events and peoples future, over wanting to look good, over my lust for success as I define it, over greed and selfishness. I  enter a realm of peace, contentment, and abandon. I welcome a willingness to let God be God, for I acknowledge that I am not.

Have a Mary Christmas

MaryWithout Christ there is no Christmas. This is cliched but nevertheless true. However, these few days it was Mary I was meditating on. Without Mary, Christmas is an orphan. We owe the birth of our Saviour to a young teen girl who trusted God and said “Yes, let it be done to me as you want.” We owe a debt of gratitude to Mary for her simple child-like faith. Wisdom does not reside with the old and experienced. It resides with simple faith. A girl fresh from puberty played a vital role and her womb was the landing ground of the Saviour of the whole world.  Most cultures look upon women as inferior, and they are not treated as equals and deserving of mutual respect. They are taken advantage of and patronized or ignored. Their talents, influence and gifts are not always fully appreciated nor valued. Worse they are also violated and oppressed and are objects of sarcasm, suspicion and cynicism. They are not taken seriously – unless they happen to be your mother. However, what man despises, God exalts. He did that 2000 years ago when He chose Mary – a teen girl to reveal the “arm of the Lord”, “a light to the peoples”. So do not forget Mary. Thank God for Mary and all the goodness she represents as a woman, as a believing Eve–faith, sacrifice, risk, tenderness, gratitude, gentleness, compassion, talent, strength, and resilience. It was David Yonggi Cho of Full Gospel Church, Yoido, who echoed William Booth of the Salvation Army, who declared, “My best men are women”. So today,  thank God for all women and show your sincere appreciation when you wish your mother, your wife, girlfriend and daughter and sister a Mary Christmas.