Prayer is complicated and difficult. Or is it? Could it be that prayer is so simple that any child of God can lay hold of all God’s power and provision through His designated strategy called prayer?
Decades ago God began to redefine prayer for me. I came to understand it as a continual interaction between the spiritual realm and the material realm. An unceasing flow from His heart to mine. I quit thinking about how to say prayers, and began to live a praying life. I learned that every thought can be instantly turned in God’s direction and so become prayer. I learned that the Holy Spirit can make direct deposits from His heart to mine and awaken thoughts and desires that become the content of my praying. In these years of learning how to live a praying life, I have come to realize that if God designed prayer to work, not to fail, then He surely designed it to be accessible and simple.
I think we see this pictured clearly in a story John records. He tells the story of a wedding at which Jesus was a guest and His mother seemed to be in charge behind the scenes.
Trusting God with your burdens
When the wine ran out, apparently the servants turned to Mary with their problem. I’m imagining the scene when a servant came running to Mary, concern apparent in his demeanor and his inflections. “Mary! They have no wine!” He puts the whole burden on her. Their wineless state has now become her responsibility. She has to come through.
I think she says something like, “Don’t worry. I’ve got it covered.”
She turns to Jesus and says, “Jesus, they have no wine.” (See John 2:3)
He makes a response to her that our 21st century, perhaps Gentile, ears hear as a rebuke. But let’s hear it again: “Woman!” He says. A word of endearment. The same word He used from the cross to say, “Woman, behold your son.” Addressing her gently. Then He uses a Hebrew idiom that His contemporaries would have heard as, “[What do we have in common? Leave it to Me.]” John 2:4 (AMP). Then He said that His time had not yet come.
Did He violate His sense of timing to please or appease His mother? No. He was warning her that the time to reveal His actions publicly had not come. She had to let someone else get all the credit for what her son had done. “The master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”
Notice that the response did not deter Mary. She didn’t slink away as if scolded. She turned to the servants and said, “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5). She knew Jesus, so she knew there would be action. She didn’t know what that action would look like, but she had learned that Jesus would know what to do.
Jesus says to simply ask
I can’t imagine that she expected a miracle. Why would she? He had never performed a miracle before. “What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory” (John 2:11). She didn’t know what He would do, but she knew that He would do.
Do you see how simple her request was? She didn’t feel compelled to tell Him what to do and how to do it. She didn’t have to beg, plead, or cajole. She knew that when she took toe burden that sat on her shoulders and handed it over to Jesus, He would know what to do and how to do it. She knew that the secret to powerful praying is to take God the need, not the answer.
Sometimes the most powerful prayer sounds something like this: Jesus, they have no wine.
Leave a comment!
What is burdening your heart right now? Share your “they have no wine” prayer.
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Read more by Jennifer Kennedy Dean:
- Power in the Name of Jesus
- The One Year Praying the Promises of God
- Life Unhindered! Five Keys to Walking in Freedom