Oklahoma’s recent earthquakes have gotten my family’s attention. The 5.6 earthquake caused my middle daughter to awaken and jet across the house in fear. The earthquakes not only shook our house, but shook up my prayer life. (After reading this, I believe you will understand why I chose the title “Simply Spilling.”) I got to thinking (scary, I know). What do I say to my eight-year-old daughter that will make her feel safe enough to stay in her own bed after feeling an earthquake? Do I tell her, “Don’t worry, God will protect you.”? But then, what happens to her beliefs if God chooses to allow another major earthquake, possibly injuring her? Do I tell her, “We can pray for safety, but God may not choose to protect us?” Is that praying with faith and confidence? Do you see my dilemma? I told her, “God has the power to protect us. Jesus knows what we need. We need to trust God.” For the first time in a scary situation, I didn’t ask God for His protection. Since then, I’ve been asking, “Was that wrong?”
I’m so glad my friendship with God is so personal. My prayer life is an ongoing conversation with the Creator and Savior of this universe. Wow! I’m still learning about prayer, the amazing privilege as a follower of Jesus. I want to grow in this aspect of my journey, so I continue to ask God to teach me to pray.
Here’s three questions/answers to ponder regarding prayer.
1. Did Jesus teach his disciples to pray for protection? Matthew 6:9-13“Pray, then, in this way:
‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10’Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread.
12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]
Jesus taught them to pray for protection from temptation and evil.
2. Did Jesus pray for protection for his followers?
John 17:15-19 I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.
Jesus prayed to keep them from the evil one.
3. Did Jesus pray for His own protection?
As Jesus entered the Garden of Gethsemane just hours before he would die on the cross, it says in Luke 22: 41b-42, He knelt down and began to pray, 42 saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” In this passage “this cup” represents the wrath of God. Jesus knew he would experience God’s rejection because of the sins of people of all time that would be placed on Him on the cross. He would also experience an unbelievable amount of physical torture. No wonder he wondered if there was any other way. So yes, Jesus asked for protection, but with “if you are willing”. His prayer didn’t stop there.
Jesus, because He was God, could have prayed for God’s protection from the cross, but Jesus knew there was no other way to provide forgiveness. His prayer “Father, if You are willing,” shows Jesus believed God the Father had the power to rescue Him. Jesus’ final and most significant prayer that led him to the cross declared, “yet not My will, but Yours be done.”
My conclusion: Still not sure, but I feel I pray “safe” prayers. Jesus keep me safe. Keep my family safe. Keep my house safe. Keep our finances safe. I want to learn to pray as Jesus did, “keep me safe from the evil one” and “Not my will, but yours be done.”
*I also realize using only three scripture passages is just skimming the surface of the major subject of prayer. You may have some comments that will help on this subject. Please use scripture reference, if possible.