“In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.”
Matthew 6:9-10 (NKJV)
The telephone rang. I picked up the receiver.
“Is that you, John? [pause] Hello? [pause] It is John Stettaford, isn’t it?” said an overly cheerful voice.
Immediately I was on my guard. “It depends on who wants to know,” was my reply. “Who are you?”
The name was unintelligible and he named a company I’d never heard of.
“Why are you ringing me?” I asked. It never fails to flummox them because that answer isn’t on their crib sheet of likely answers from suitable punters. “I have no interest in your company or its products.”
Again a pause. This was not on his crib sheet either. But he rallied. Ten out of ten for trying. “We have a range of great services. I know you’ll be interested when I tell you all about them.”
“Nice try,” I responded and put down the receiver. Nicely, I hope, because he was only doing his job.
But it’s good that God doesn’t act that way. If you equate prayer with a telephone call (long-distance and with charges reversed when we make the call), we never have God call us up and solicit us for some service He has to offer. He waits for our call—and waits very patiently.
Yet looking at some Christians, they behave in the same way as that telephone salesmen. The man who gets on a crowded rush-hour tube and bellows at the top of his voice: “Have you given your heart to the Lord, brother?” Everyone tries to ignore him of course, and he does no favour for Christianity or God.
When one such would-be evangelist got to me one time on the London tube and demanded of me, “Brother, have you given you heart to the Lord?” My response was: “Not my heart but my life, ‘brother’. And if you had been around at the time I would have had serious second thoughts!” Those nearby laughed but he didn’t recognise that he was actually doing more to further Satan’s work, than Jesus’.
We are surrounded, I regret to say, by religionists. But they mean well. They would be awfully upset if you questioned their Christianity, their sincerity, their conversion, their witnessing. They try awfully hard because they believe with all their being that if they don’t save you and me NOW we will burn forever in a super-hot hell. I sometimes wonder what kind of God they worship!
Holy Father, your Son taught us not ‘if’ we pray but ‘when’ we pray. And when we pray, we ask your help in offering acceptable prayers, prayers for the benefit of others, prayers as your Son prayed as he walked this earth. In Jesus’ name we ask.
Study by John Stettaford