The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest
Not Only for Emergencies

A little boy once prayed, "Dear God, please take care of my daddy and my mommy and my sister and my brother and my doggy and me. Oh, and please take care of yourself, God. If anything happens to you, we’re gonna be in a big mess."

Most of us are experienced in talking to God through prayer whenever we are in a tight spot. When we are broke, we know how to pray for resources. When we are sick, we can easily pray for healing. When we are frightened, we are ready with a prayer for protection and bravery. When we are hungry, we can ask for sustenance. When we are lost, a prayer for guidance is ready to be uttered from our lips. When we are struggling with a decision, we cry out for God’s wisdom and revealed will.

However, I wonder how much we pray when there is no controversy or immediate threat. Our sermon coming up this Sunday is about a defining moment in the life of Jesus Christ. He is on the verge of the most rigorous and challenging part of his life and ministry. In a matter of minutes, he will be betrayed by one of his best friends and arrested. He will be tried in a kangaroo court and falsely convicted of the most heinous crime in the Old Testament Law, blasphemy! He would be beaten, whipped and crucified as the guiltiest of criminals on a Roman cross. All the while, he would be carrying the sins of all time on his innocent shoulders. His Father in heaven would turn his back and his best friends would forsake him for their own safety.

If there was ever a time meant for prayer, it was now. Having spent important time with his main followers in the upper room sharing in the Passover feast and teaching them to observe the Lord’s Supper, Matthew 26 tells us that they headed for the garden of Gethsemane. I love the way Luke puts it in his Gospel account, Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. Luke 22:39

The words, “as usual” could have been easily overlooked, but they are very important. It was the daily habit of Jesus to pray and one of his favorite places to do it was on the Mount of Olives and specifically in the Garden of Gethsemane. That night the prayer would be the most intense of his ministry, but the communication heavenward was a natural part of his life.
When we are in trouble, it is great to go to a God in heaven who is familiar with our voices. That familiarity with God causes the valuable connection we call “RELATIONSHIP.” We build relationship with God through regular communication. We communicate through talking to Him in prayer and listening to Him through prayer and reading His Word, the Bible.

If someone comes to you for assistance, are you not far more likely to listen to their request if they have built a personal relationship for you in the past? Of course you are. Prayer is not just asking for stuff or begging God to do what we want or need. It is getting close to Him through regular conversation.

Throughout the life of Christ, he shares his prayers with his disciples and us, but he also would go by himself to a secluded location and talk to God ALL NIGHT!

When we take the example of Jesus’ prayer life and emulate it, we will find it far more comfortable to go to God in the hard times because we made it our practice to talk to him on an everyday basis. Prayer isn’t just for emergencies. It is for everyday connection.

Our message this Sunday is titled The Cup and our primary text will be Matthew 26:36-46. Come and join us in seeking inspiration from Christ’s example of dealing with pressure.

Praying with you,

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