of prayer that is sometimes difficult to understand- for me, at least.
According to Jesus, by far the most important thing about praying is to keep
at it. The images he uses to explain this are all rather comic, as though he
thought it was rather comic to have to explain it at all. He says God is like
a friend you go to borrow bread from at midnight. The friend tells you in
effect to drop dead, but you go on knocking anyway until finally he gives you
what you want so he can go back to bed again (Luke 11:5-8). Or God is like a
crooked judge who refuses to hear the case of a certain poor widow, presumably
because he knows there's nothing much in it or him. But she keeps on hounding
him until finally he hears her case just to get her out of his hair (Luke
18:1-8). Even a stinker, Jesus says, won't give his own child a black eye when
he asks for peanut butter and jelly, so how all the more will God when HIS
children . . . (Matthew 7:9-11).
Be importunate, Jesus says-not, one assumes, because you have to beat a path
to God's door before he'll open it, but because until you beat the path maybe
there'll be no way of getting to YOUR door. 'Ravish my heart,' John Donne
wrote. But God will not usually ravish. He will only court.
-Frederick Buechner, in LISTENING TO YOUR LIFE: DAILY MEDITATIONS WITH
FREDERICK BUECHNER, Compiled by George Connor, Harper Collins, 1992.
[I had to look up "importunate." The Random House Dictionary had some help for
me. "adj. 1. urgent or persistent in solicitation. 2. pertinacious, as
solicitations or demands. 3. troublesome, annoying." It sounds a bit like
nagging, doesn't it? Keep praying!]
Have a great week,
Pastor of Worship and Music
Chapel Hill Bible Church
Chapel Hill, North Carolina