Don't Try This At Home
When buying lunch, we want our cheeseburger, fries and shake within thirty seconds, not three minutes. When we order pizza delivery, we want our Mega-Meat pizza, Texas-size wings and extra bread sticks hot and fresh at our front door within thirty minutes, not thirty-three minutes. After all, the evening's entertainment is already in the Blue-Ray player.
We normal human beings love quick results. We expect them. We even demand them.
When praying for stuff, we want answers in a timely manner. And if we don't see our prayers answered quickly, we assume God hasn't answered them. Yet. We usually give him that much slack. But if he doesn't deliver(like the pizza delivery guy) within our time frame, he doesn't love us. What ingratitude! After all, we tip God every time the collection basket passes, making sure the change doesn't jingle when we drop it in.
In Mark 4:35-41 we witness Jesus and some of his disciples enjoying an afternoon of boating on the Sea of Galilee—without first checking AccuWeather. As Jesus slept on the pillow, exhausted from his demanding schedule, a terrible wind storm overtook them with waves nearly swamping the boat. The “tough fishermen” handling the boat must not have bothered steering into the rising sea, but chose to panic, awakening their Master with passionate pleas of, “Rabbi, don’t you care that we’re dying out here?”
Hey, at least they gave him enough credit to know what was happening even while asleep.
Jesus probably shook his head in disgust as he called out to the storm, “Peace! Be still!” As suddenly as it came up, the wind quieted and the waves calmed. Then, with a withering gaze at his friends, “Why are you panicking? Don’t you trust me yet?”
Rather than hanging their heads with a “Sorry Rabbi, but ...” they shrank back and whispered among themselves, “Who is this guy that controls even the weather?”
Strange, how they expected a quick fix from him, but were awestruck when he did what they asked. That rather reminds me of my own response when God answers prayer spectacularly.
I have to wonder what the Master thinks when we run to him with our shopping lists of “needs,” admitting he has power to grant them, but not giving him enough credit to already know what we truly need. And how must he feel when we walk away kicking stones, head down, hands in pockets, sulking about his not caring enough to quickly give us what we want? Our attitude disturbingly resembles that of a spoiled brat.
Jesus said to petition Father God with persistence, and whatever we ask in his name will be granted. But when Jesus said, “in my name,” did he intend that we simply recite, “In Jesus name amen?” Or does praying in Jesus’ name mean more than that?
In the real world—meaning everywhere but Western, Evangelical Christendom—doing something in someone’s name means bearing their authority, office or position, so any action you take carries the same force of law as the person for whom you are doing it. That’s like when an ambassador signs a treaty with another nation, he signs it as the proxy of the one who sent him.
So, when Jesus said in John 14:13-14 “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (14) If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it,” and when Colossians 3:17 says, And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him, it means we must do everything as Christ’s ambassadors, officially representing him. But don’t take my word for it, check out 2 Corinthians 5:20, Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
We must not take Jesus for granted, losing faith in the first squall as did his fishermen friends. Whether we’re at home in our “prayer closet,” driving in our car, or standing in church praying in Jesus’ name, we must remember who we are and who we represent with our words: God’s eternal, living Word incarnate, whose name means, “God is salvation.”