Invitation to Prayer
A priest or minister will say, “Let us pray,” and we will all just bow our heads as though nothing out of the ordinary was about to take place. What is about to take place is that we are about to presume to talk to the One who made heaven and earth, and presume that we will be heard . . . There is something so astonishing about the whole notion of talking with God that sometimes I just want to lie down for a few minutes and catch my breath. Every once in a while I will hear someone say, “And I just told God I needed this or that,” and I wonder how it is they are still standing up (Robert Benson, In Constant Prayer, 79-80).
The Psalm (Psalm 68:4-10)
4 Sing to God, sing praise to his name,
extol him who rides on the clouds—
his name is the LORD—
5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.
6 God sets the lonely in families,
he leads forth the prisoners with singing;
but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.
7 When you went out before your people, O God,
when you marched through the wasteland, Selah
8 the earth shook,
the heavens poured down rain,
before God, the One of Sinai,
before God, the God of Israel.
9 You gave abundant showers, O God;
you refreshed your weary inheritance.
10 Your people settled in it,
and from your bounty, O God, you provided for the poor.
The Scripture Reading (Luke 22:47-51)
While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, "Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?" When Jesus' followers saw what was going to happen, they said, "Lord, should we strike with our swords?" And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. But Jesus answered, "No more of this!" And he touched the man's ear and healed him.
Gethsemane is an odd place for those who are trying to follow Jesus and live his life. What Jesus asked his followers to do, they could not do (pray). What Jesus never mentioned to his followers, they are eager to do (use violence). A life weak in prayer often resorts to force when the crisis comes. Having been groggy in our calling upon God, we quickly take matters into our own hands.
Where are you experiencing the tension between quiet trust and decisive action in your life today?
Lord Jesus, I want to live in prayerful patience, yet ready to risk it all. I want to be alert to your presence in the world while being clear about what you’ve called me to do. Grant me wisdom to live in these tensions, waiting and working as you direct my steps. Amen.