Summary: Pray without ceasing and rejoice. We should lean on God when we experience trials or tribulation. God’s promise is that He will never leave us or forsake us.
Together. They were always together. Walking, talking, eating, sleeping. They had watched Him do the impossible. They had seen Him change lives. They knew the sound of His step, the tone of His voice, the echo of His laughter. The twelve knew Jesus like no one else could. He was their companion, their leader, their teacher. But then there were times when He’d be gone. Jesus would simply withdraw from the group, slipping away to be alone. Sometimes for a few hours at a time, sometimes for the whole night. Where did He go? What could He be doing? A couple of them were curious enough to follow Jesus cautiously. Even from a distance, they could see Him – first sitting quietly, then pacing back and forth – and the sound of His voice drifting through the night. When they asked Him about it in the morning, His answer astonished them. Prayer. He was talking with His Father. They exchanged startled glances, then they grew quiet. They had watched Him do the impossible. They had seen Him change lives. They knew Him better than anyone, and they wanted to be like Him. Their plea rose up from the longing in their hearts. “Please Jesus, teach us to pray.”
A six-year-old boy at a restaurant asked if he could say grace. As the family bowed their heads he said, “God is good. God is great. Thank you for the food, and I would even thank you more if mom gets us ice cream for dessert. And Liberty and Justice for all! Amen!” Along with the laughter from the other customers nearby a woman remarked, “That’s what’s wrong with this country. Kids today don’t even know how to pray. Asking God for ice-cream! Why, I never!” Hearing this, the little boy burst into tears and asked, “Did I do it wrong? Is God mad at me?” As his mother held him and assured him that he had done a terrific job and God was certainly not mad at him, an elderly gentleman approached the table. He winked at the boy and said, “I happen to know that God thought that was a great prayer.” “Really?” he asked. “Cross my heart.” Then in a theatrical whisper he added (indicating the woman whose remark had started the whole thing), “Too bad she never asks God for ice cream. A little ice cream is good for the soul sometimes.” Naturally, the little boy had ice cream at the end of the meal. When it arrived, he stared at it for a moment and then did something rather startling. He picked up his sundae and without a word walked over and placed it in front of the woman. With a big smile he told her, “Here, this is for you. Ice cream is good for the soul sometimes, and my soul is good already.”
In the book “Make Me Like Jesus” by Michael Phillips, “Whatever it takes, I am willing………Create in me the heart of a true follower, make me like Jesus. Not “I think I am willing”, “I will try to be willing”, “I want to be willing” or “help me be willing”. “I am willing, make me like Jesus.”
We learn back in Genesis that we are created in the image of God. But we are not made like Jesus. We must become like Jesus.
In the Gospel of John itself, listen to the words of Jesus, his total reliance on God, His faithfulness and His commitment to prayer:
“I seek not to please myself, but Him who sent me.”
“I do the work of the Father.”
“The Son can do nothing by Himself; He can only do what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”
“I have come in my Father’s Name.”
“I live because of the Father.”
“I am not alone. I stand with the Father who sent me.”
“I do nothing on my own, but speak just what the Father has taught me. I always do what pleases Him.”
“I honor my Father.”
“I and the Father are one.”
“Whatever I say is just what my Father has told me to say.”
“It is the Father living in me who is doing His work.”
“The Father is greater than I.”
“The world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.”
“I have obeyed my Father’s commands and abide in His love.”
“I am not alone, for my Father is with me.”
In the book, “Just Like Jesus” listen to Max Lucado’s words:
God loves you just the way you are. If you think His love for you would be stronger if your faith were, you are wrong. If you think His love would be deeper if your thoughts were, wrong again. Don’t confuse God’s love with the love of people. The love of people often increases with performance and decreases with mistakes. Not so with God’s love.