The Garden in Delight blog leads you deeper into prayer this holy season: As the garden wakes up in spring to the work of overturning soil, pulling up dead plants, and digging spots for new ones, so let us put those shovels, spades, and trowels to work as metaphor and Dig into Prayer. At its simplest, prayer is our conversation with God—everything from quiet pillow talk to heaving cry—conversations that will grow more deeply intimate as we get to know and cherish His Words. Let A Lenten Dig into Prayer bring you close to Him and prepare your heart over 7 weeks for a meaningful celebration of Christ’s resurrection.
While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death.
And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God.
Hebrews 5:7 NLT
According to this Word, it was not Jesus’ status as God’s Son, but his reverent submission that caused his prayers to be heard. Not his entitlement by birth, but his chosen stance of respectful surrender, that awarded him God’s listening ear.
Hey, we can do that! We can recount God’s power and might, remembering the reasons we submit — our God is more splendid and majestic than the cedars of Lebanon, more upright than the date palm, stronger than the oak, more enduring and nourishing than the olive.
“To whom will you compare me?
Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one
and calls forth each of them by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing…”
Isaiah 40:25-26 NIV
He is the One who knows every star by name (Isaiah 40:26), every thought in our minds and every word we are ready to speak (Psalm 139:2 – 4). We will never fathom how all of this is possible (Psalm 139:6; Isaiah 40:28), but we can witness evidence of its truth when we find new strength in weariness (Isaiah 40:29), sense comfort in darkness (Psalm 139:12) and recognize Jesus’ gentle leadership as we stay close to God’s heart (Isaiah 40:11). He is worthy of our adoration and trustworthy with our care.
Lord, God Almighty,
Creator of artichokes and cicadas’ wings.
Designer of infinity —
And designer of me, too —
Hear, oh hear, my prayer.
I had everything arranged so well —
And it isn’t working out that way.
The orderly life that I had planned for those I
love is disordered —
And steadfastly refuses to be put back into my
structured “five-year plan.”
And I am undone.
— Jo Carr and Imogene Sorley, Plum Jelly and Stained Glass & Other Prayers, 1973
When we are worried, frustrated, misunderstood, and fearful, he welcomes all of our concerns (1 Peter 5:7), which is such good news, because so often the people around us are simply people, worn out by their own anxieties and unable to bear ours as well. These negative emotions serve to humble us, overwhelming us yet drawing us to a submissive stance. Jesus did not hesitate in giving his cries and tears to God, the one who could save him from death (Hebrews 5:7); they were a normal course of his prayers and petitions, as they will be ours.
King David’s poetic song:
Lord, you know everything there is to know about me.
You perceive every movement of my heart and soul,
and you understand my every thought before it even enters my mind.
You are so intimately aware of me, Lord.
You read my heart like an open book
and you know all the words I’m about to speak
before I even start a sentence!
You know every step I will take before my journey even begins.
You’ve gone into my future to prepare the way,
and in kindness you follow behind me
to spare me from the harm of my past.
With your hand of love upon my life,
you impart a blessing to me.
This is just too wonderful, deep, and incomprehensible!
Your understanding of me brings me wonder and strength.
Psalm 139:1-6 The Passion Translation
You can throw the whole weight of your anxieties upon him, for you are his personal concern.
1 Peter 5:7
J.B. Phillips New Testament
The devotional essays of A Lenten Dig into Prayer were originally published in the “Garden Tools” section of God’s Word for Gardeners Bible under Prayer, ©2014 Shelley S. Cramm. See pages a-37 & a-38 to study by the Book.
©2018 Shelley S. Cramm Images from southern Washington state in spring