May the God who inspires men to endure, and gives them a Father’s care, give you a mind united towards one another because of your common loyalty to Jesus Christ. And then, as one man, you will sing from the heart the praises of God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. So open your hearts to one another as Christ has opened his heart to you, and God will be glorified.
Romans 15:5-7 J.B. Phillips New Testament
What great expanse and dimension has opened up as we have journeyed over the Lenten weeks in prayer! We have explored the effectiveness of our prayers when spoken in respectful surrender and discovered the Lord keeps them in golden bowls and garden fragrance. We have embraced our charge: Do not fail to pray! And witnessed the grace extended to those who turn back to the Lord with humble plea. Our prayer-immersion has taken us to two extremes: to pray for those intentionally hurting us and to pray, even from rock-bottom depths, to defer our desires to His.
United in Prayer
May this prayer-panorama enhance today’s petition with purpose: to be united in prayer. Much is at stake; it is our unity that will draw the world to knowing the Lord Jesus and the love of God. One prayer stands out in this aim—the Lord’s Prayer, as it is affectionately known. “Lord, teach us to pray,” one of his disciples asked, and Jesus naturally obliged:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Luke 11:2 NKJV
What has transpired over the centuries since these words were captured in Scripture is tremendous! They are regularly recited across all Christian denominations, even transformed into chant and song. As Paul wrote in Romans 15, with one voice we implore the Lord in speaking these familiar words.
Give us day by day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
Luke 11:3-4 NKJV
As this prayer implies, we need direction each day to stay the Lord’s course; that is, discernment in our thinking and revelation in our understanding, so that we clearly see the distinction between good and evil, between moving toward a worthy, noble path and one leading astray, toward destruction.
We need forgiveness, our soul-food; that is, the supernatural sustenance by which we get along, care for each other, recover from miscommunication, overlook offenses, and live a life of love.
We need endurance, through daily food and drink, nourishing our bodies to keep working, to overcome weariness, and to grow.
This heart-soul-strength prayer moves each of us toward personal wholeness, simple words yet profoundly intentional: The prayer prepares us to be united as a people. As we perceive the Lord’s care and provision of these needs, our loyalty to Him flourishes, and opens our hearts to the bonds created through Christ with each other. Ultimately, they fulfill Jesus’ prayer request of His Father:
My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message [that’s us!!*], that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity.
John 17:20-23 NIV
Imagine that, our prayer is an answer to His! May we be refreshed in fervency to be united in prayer, to cherish words spoken in unison at our church services and whenever we are gathered in His Name, especially this Easter weekend.
Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
John 17:23 NIV
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 truly special celebration of Christ’s resurrection.
This week’s devotion is original to the Garden in Delight blog. However, all the previous 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
Review any of the Prayer devotions by clicking the links in the “Recent Posts” section of the margin at www.gardenindelight.com/blog/
Have a wonderful weekend celebrating the Lord’s Resurrection! The Garden in Delight blog returns to its regular, bi-weekly schedule beginning May 2nd
©2019 Shelley S. Cramm From my garden to yours, blooming right now, mustard and coriander, with the artemisias always-lovely foliage in heavenly colors. Blessings!