In our current excruciatingly difficult waiting process, we know in our heart of hearts this  intense stretching and excruciatingly long waiting process has been eternally and carefully measured by our Maker and Savior to arrange the perfect meeting of His grace to our desperately needy situation.  This truth of God's sovereign control of all things pertains to all men.  But God wants us to cry out and ask Him to move in our lives no matter who we are and no matter what we have done.


His perfect timing and grace rendezvous with us bring us to a place that forces our hearts to gush out a “cry” that touches His ready heart and saves us from our very tightened and difficult circumstances.  The prompting of a cry for healing and salvation brings us to the only place where real help can be found -- the feet of Jesus.  


Over the course of the hard times I have personally experienced, I have been learning that the “cry” that wells up from within me that inspires the release of simple of prayers such as:  “Lord, show me Your way!” or, “where are you God!” or, “I need you now!” or another good one, “Save me!” 


 These kind of prayers seem to be the powerful and life-changing prayers that can be uttered from the mouth of a fallen creature in Adam. Even if they come out as a grunt or groan.  Rom.8:26 says, “the Spirit helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which can not be uttered.”


Don't you think our Father in heaven wants us to get to this very simple “crying” point in our very fragile lives?  It is here that we say the right words and answer His questions in the most honest of ways.  It is here that our worldview is challenged.  Where we gain a better view of who we really are before His very holy throne.  Here we are honest and vulnerable.


Our stress-filled life weights show us the reality of eternal things; they press us to think soberly and eternally.  When temporal conundrums block our plans, we are left many times with a blank and very confused heart and mind.  It is here that the Father works new grace into our needy hearts to teach us “His way” in the world and in the universe.


When someone tells me, God is on His throne, I have to agree, but that wasn't the question?  No, the question is, “why doesn't He move when I pray?”  I mean, why is He taking so long?  Knowing that our Dad is our dad is not enough, I have to feel His love and His very much needed comfort.  This isn't abstract truth we are seeking.  No No!  We are seeking the triune Godhead and we need immediate attention, I mean, NOW!  


Let's be honest with ourselves for a just a moment.  What kind of prayers does God answer?  And does it matter how you pray?  Do fancy words move His heart?  Certain inflections in our vocal tones?  I don't think so. 


Well wouldn't you come and take a turn with me as we try to answer this very important question from the life of Jesus.  This following Jesus thing is a very crazy way.  We are shown in Heb. 5:7-9 how He prayed while He was on the earth, “who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.  And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.” 


We suppose so many times that following Jesus means doing the “christian” thing.  Being nice to people.  Paying our taxes, at least most of them.  Going to the “church” meetings.  “Hangin” with the right people who think like us and play “happy” like us and to not “hang” with the bad people.  In reality, following Jesus means to “be” like Jesus and to walk and “do” the stuff of Jesus!  After all, He is our Messiah and Immanuel.  “He is” our ever present help in time of need.


Yet in all our efforts to please ourselves when we pray, are we really touching the heart of our Father in heaven?  His Son knew that are very real death met His real walk to Jerusalem, this was no imaginary death.  It was as though He was 100% human and didn't know the outcome of His fate.  It was very real to Him, just like it should be to us!  We are humans not robots or computers who do what is expected of us or will not shake the feathers of others.  Jesus was naked and vulnerable before His Father in His holy prayers.  So should we then be honest and very sincere.


Before you walk away from this point, hold on for just one holy minute.  Does trusting in Jesus mean just letting Him do all the work in our deliverance from so great a death?   We call that anti-nomianism, and that “ism” doesn't bring revival.  It doesn't foster change.  No, it makes for some good christian fun and culture building, but it does nothing to build the church of Jesus Christ.  It does nothing to usher in the end of the age.  No, all it does it make for some extra shame at His appearing. 


Has not Jesus said, “if you inclined to come after me, then prepare yourself to leave behind your self-love and come along then and learn of Me and do what I do!”  In the common language of the day, His point was understood by his followers and those who heard the sound of His voice.  We think in our times that following Jesus is following the culture of christianity, if you don't mind a bold word of truth --- that is a bunch of BS.  If it was biblically true, then why prat-el, is this easy christianity not working to influence the rising generation of those that are truly hungry and thirsty for God?  If you think they are buying this BS, there not!!


We have had our fill preachers and ministries selling “easy” -- that it's really not as hard as those old-line hell and brimstone “John the Baptist” guys make it.  No we have found the better way to do our “American” Brand of Christianity.  If this new way is so great why then does our culture slide on toward Gomorrah?  It's time to deal a knockout punch to this mindset and the endless cascade of ministries that want to sell this man-centered brand of christianity.


So in order to “pray right” we have to be thinking right!  We need to turn back to the ancient wells from which our sacred “long lost” faith has been dug.  We have an incredible pedigree.  Not only in biblical times but even in our America.  Until we put the garbage we are selling now out to the curb we will not make any progress toward pleasing our Father in heaven and praying “prayers” that are sincere and will really move His heart to save us!  At the end of the day we all need to be saved from something really bad.


None of Jesus twelve disciples were confused by the seriousness of His claim over them and their lives, after all, Jesus of Nazareth was the long anticipated Messiah.  When He, Messiah that was to come, He would make bold claims.  For these honest Jewish guys it would be clear and very obvious to them that listening to Messiah and following Him would go hand-in-hand.  He was and is their long-awaited King.  They had prayed, even cried out, for many generations that He would come and deliver them from very real bondage.  You could say a certain urgency marked their attitude about Jesus the Messiah.  


Here would be a typical Jewish person's cry before the Messiah came to dwell on earth, “Oh Messiah, please come and lift the shackles of bondage from me, my family, and our needy nation!”  Fill your temple with your presence, just like you did back in Solomon's day.  Don't delay, hurry, for we are desperately in need of You and only You!  If you're gonna delay then please supply grace for me and my family to wait on You and Your time.  Please come quickly though.  Fulfill your promise to the seed of David!  Think of it, many millions of Jews around the world are still praying this prayer today in anticipation of their real Messiah.  We know that this prayer is going to be answered at the end of the age.


How hard is it to pray these prayers?  The words just kinda flow don't they?  Why is it that we have made prayer so perfunctory?  What kind of prayers then really move the Father's heart and change our circumstances.  What kind of “heart cries” will move our Lord to petition the Father on our behalf?  Jesus died to become our Melchizedek, the Great High Priest!


Do you remember that old blind man on the road to Jericho who simply cried,Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” When the blind man was told to be quiet, he cried all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”  Why did he utter the words, “Son of David”?  Messiah was and is the Son of David!


The scripture says at this point (Lk.18:40) says that, “Jesus stood still, and commanded Him to be brought to Him.”  Imagine that?  The Maker of the Universe, stood still?  What made Him stop and listen to the cry of a poor beggar?  Was it not the anguish and neediness of His heart?  Was it not is petition directed specifically to Messiah?  This man knew that Jesus was the Messiah, that was a big deal to Jesus. 


Jesus then, as Messiah, goes on to ask a very direct question of the blind man named Bartimaeus.  Jesus asked this very probing question, “What do you want Me to do for you?”  The blind man smartly gets right to the point and says, “Lord, that I might receive my sight!”  The scripture goes on to reveal that the man immediately received His sight!  What more did that blind beggar need?  With working eyes he could plainly see the Savior of the world, Jesus or Nazareth.  Could it be that this was all he really wanted in the first place?


After receiving his sight, the scripture plainly says, “and he followed Him”  Could it be that this blind, now-seeing, beggar followed Jesus all the way to Golgotha and then met him after the resurrection?  Was he there as a Jesus worshiper during the days of Pentecost?  We don't know for sure but we can imagine that he was, and it makes us happy!  


Are we not all in the same place today?  Are we not all “blind” to what is really going on in the world around us?  Some of us are so blind to what is really going on around us, that we are mistakenly planning on staying for an extended period of time just to grab a little more gusto and zest from this very fleeting and temporarily-blessed life in America.  


Yet over and over we have seen from our history and ancient history, that life is but a mere vapor.  Good kings rise to power and then bad ones come after them.  There is no utopian existence outside of knowing and living in God's presence.  We have been shown so clearly from the sacred writings of scripture that a normally blessed life consists of three score and ten years.  Yet so many of us want to suck a little bit more out more of the deal, just to live those extra years for some kind of temporary pleasure.


I frankly can't wait for Messiah to come.  Only then, will this crazy world make any sense to me.  Men today are doing what pleases them.  Their plans are what matter.  Many will pay lip service to the idea of doing God's will, but it's really not the “ache” of their desperate hearts.  A true follower of Christ, and a man of real prayer, sees the state of things and prays according to what they really see.  Our spiritual state in America is horrible, we are under a black cloud.  The only prayer that will change our calamitous situation is a heart felt cry directly to our Messiah, a simple “help” will do!  Only He can heal our diseases, both physical and spiritual! 


Our Maker and Sustainer holds the cards on our particular way and path.  He chooses the type of life we have here and that is conditioned by our behavior toward His Law and righteous ways.  The pure in heart will see God.  Those who follow Him with all their heart, seem to have a different attitude.  They will pray incessantly, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”   


Either God comes down to dwell with His people or we go up, either one is fine for a true christian man, women, or child.  We want to leave and be with the One that enraptures us.  Far better to be with the Lord then here on a planet of confusion and self-will.  We will stay only to serve Him and do what He wishes us to do to build His kingdom on the earth.  I believe that these kinds of uncontrived and simple faith-filled prayers move the heart of God.  These prayers flow out of a very serious heart commitment to do the mandate of heaven, when we pray this way, we will find access to the heart of God... this is all that matters in the end!


Many blessings,


Jonathan