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Summary: Seeing the Unseen Christ means experience the privilege of authentic prayer

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An article in the Denver Rocky Mountain News described various web sites to which people can submit prayers. One site, Newprayer.com, says, "Simply click on the ’Pray’ button and transmit your prayer to the only known location of God." The site claims "that it can send prayers via a radio transmitter to God’s last known location," a star cluster called M13 believed to be one of the oldest in the universe.

JUDITH GAINES, "TAPPING INTO GOD," DENVER ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS (3-13-00), PP.6B-7B

"Crandall Stone, 50, a Cambridge, Massachusetts, engineer and freelance consultant, set up the site last winter after a night of sipping brandy and philosophizing with friends in Vermont. The conversation turned to Big Bang theories of creation, and someone suggested that if everything was in one place at the time of the explosion, then God must have been there, too.

"’It’s the one place where we could be sure he was,’ Stone said. ’Then we thought that if we could find that location and had a radio transmitter, we could send a message to God.’ "After consulting with NASA scientists, the friends settled on M13 as the likely location. They chipped in about $20,000, and built a radio-wave-transmitting Web site."

Stone reports that they transmit about 50,000 prayers a week from seekers around the globe.

Prayer at its basic level is communication with God. Like all communication, whether face-to-face or via radio telescope, it is prone to confusion, misdirection and misunderstanding. Prayer becomes magical if we’re not careful. Magic seeks to control God, to get him to do things our way. If we believe we can talk God into something we know isn’t his will we are in fact, trying to cast a spell on Him to control God. We’re guilty of this whenever we believe that the right words, attitude, position, or tone of voice will make God do what we want.

What makes a difference is the personal experience with Jesus that those who call themselves Christians have experienced. We’ve been imagining how things might be different if Jesus were actually present with us on Sunday mornings. We would probably be ready for worship, being on time and alert. If we saw Jesus here on Sundays we would do those things that he approved of like loving others and saying no to sin. We’d want to be like Him because we love Him. And last week we saw that one way we could live like Jesus would be to serve others with eagerness because we remember that Jesus served us.

Do you imagine that His presence might impact our prayers? Do you think we’d have the same thoughts, use the same words, and go over the same old requests time and time again? When we see Christ we become free to face Him with a new power in our prayer life—we discover an authentic prayer. By authentic prayer I mean prayer that meets Christ’s approval and honors him. Suddenly Christians stop just going through the motions of praying. They cease trying to be religious, and the reality of the privilege of authentic prayer sets in. We seek to discover what God is doing and to offer ourselves to him so that we might jump on His bandwagon.

In the passages read today I want us to be grabbed by how we are to pray and what we are to pray. We are to pray bold prayers. God reminds us that the relationship we enjoy with God is that of Father and child. Not an abusive father but one who loves and cares for us. John in his letters explains that, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (1 John 5:14). This confidence he described earlier in 4:17 “In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him.” Confident of God’s love through Christ allows us to boldly enter into our Lord’s presence.

Our prayers are to be simple, in the vernacular, our common language. We are to pray “profanely”. Profane doesn’t mean crude the Miriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary traces it’s etymology as “Middle English prophane, from Middle French, from Latin profanus, from pro- before + fanum temple. At its heart is the idea of life in the secular world—those things that happen in front of the temple, or on the street. When Jesus prays he uses words his disciples understood. Assuming he spoke the common Greek of the day Jesus didn’t pray in 200-year-old classical Greek or change from Aramaic into the English of King James. Our prayers aren’t random babblings, repetitious and meaningless because of archaic language. Our needs, concerns, praise, etcetera can be simply told to our Father who loves us.

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