I am reading a book on prayer right now that is fantastic. Here it is: A Praying Life by Paul Miller
As I’ve posted before, I regard myself as a terrible pray-er. Early in my Christian walk, I read books about prayer that left me overwhelmed and guilty (remember Brother Lawrence who prayed ALL the time?). I tried again more recently. This other book was all about the contemplative stuff that leaves me cold. I fall asleep if I try too hard to be quiet.
On the other hand, I can’t put A Praying Life down. It’s my first eBook, too. I read it at night on my Nook in the dark and have mastered the art of highlighting passages with my finger – about one a page…
So what does that have to do with today’s passages? Well the first part of Luke talks about prayer – so that’s relevant.
More than that, the first three parables relate to the thesis of this book (so far – I am not yet finished), namely that we can (and should) approach Jesus as children. And talk to Him as children talk to their caring parent.
And right here in Luke, Jesus gives three examples of childlike faith:
- A widow nags a judge for justice until he says, “Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice…” (Luke 18: 4b, 5a ESV). God, who is far more righteous than this judge, will certainly “give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night” (vs. 7).
What was this widow like? A child who out of a perceived need trails after Mommy with a request that dominates the child’s thoughts, “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy. Give me, give me, give me.” Would a loving parent turn away the innocent, yet ignorant, child? And what are we to God?
- Tonight, my daughter copped an attitude. I told her I wasn’t sure she could go to church if she didn’t turn things around. As we were ready to go, she offered to stay home, so convicted was she of her sin. But give her a few years, and she will have become adept at denial.
The Pharisee has learned to cover his sin with prideful piety. But the tax collector is unable to hide his sin, even from himself. Like a guilty child, the tax collector “stood at a distance [from the temple]. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’” (vs. 13). Jesus says that the sinning tax collector was right with God, but the pious Pharisee was not — that those with childlike humility will be exalted, while those who exalt their religious exploits will be humbled.
- Finally Jesus gets right to the point. After the disciples rebuke parents bringing their babies to Him, Jesus says: “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it” (vs 16-27).
This encourages me. Miller points out in the book that children are without guile. They are real. They don’t hide behind masks. And that Jesus really likes that about people, that authenticity.
My “realness” has on occasion put me in hot water because my mouth lacks the filters of those more practiced at the art of masking. Sort of like Peter!
And I can’t tell you how much it meant to hear that Jesus likes that about me, my unfiltered childlike speech.
May I start to pray the same way I talk!
Today’s Readings: Judges 15:1 – 16:31, Psalm 51:1-5, Proverbs 14:31-32, Luke 18:1-25. See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts. Your daily blogger, Holiday Longing (Reproduce with permission only).