Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Escape from the King's Jail
This is what the church lawn sign said as I left the coffee shop early this morning. Coincidentally, I had just been reading Acts 12 and the story of Peter's miraculous escape from Herod's jail with the help of an angel. Fetters fall off. Guards remain stupefied. Doors swing open. A dark city street hides the fugitive.
Peter makes his way to the house of John Mark's mother where Christians have been gathered in serious prayer for his release. But when the young woman Rhoda comes to the front door and hears Peter's voice from outside, she can hardly believe her ears and retreats briefly to the inner room. Supposedly there wasn't monumental faith in that place for his deliverance, but there was earnest supplication...begging.
And that so often is what successful prayer is all about. Crying out from the heart, inarticulately.
Psalm 50 by Asaph suggests that God is not after religion and fancy approaches. He says simply, 'Call out to me when you are in trouble. I will deliver you and you will glorify me.'
One of my favourite films is "Finding Forrester" starring Sean Connery. A reclusive one-time novelist has befriended a college age athlete with a penchant for writing. He agrees to offer tutoring. In one scene the two are side by side in the musty apartment, each with a typewriter. The old Scot is busy clacking. The youth has paused with hand to his chin. The comment is made, "Don't think...write!". It would be through the enthusiastic production of words on the paper that the boy would gradually learn the art and efficiency of the craft.
Perhaps it could also be said, "Don't think...pray!"
It says at one point in Zechariah 12 that we are helped by the "spirit of grace and supplications". Nothing sophisticated.