In-person worship services will be held as scheduled this Sunday. Please use discretion when determining whether roads are safe for your personal travel.
If you are unable to travel, consider joining worship online HERE at 7:30, 9, 11 or 5pm, on-demand at Resurrection’s YouTube channel, or on TV at KMCI 38 at 8am or 11am.
We are watching the weather and at this time the Car Show is still on as scheduled for the public, open from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm. We will keep you updated as conditions change.
1 Jesus was telling them a parable about their need to pray continuously and not to be discouraged. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected people. 3 In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him, asking, ‘Give me justice in this case against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused but finally said to himself, I don’t fear God or respect people, 5 but I will give this widow justice because she keeps bothering me. Otherwise, there will be no end to her coming here and embarrassing me.” 6 The Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 Won’t God provide justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he be slow to help them? 8 I tell you, he will give them justice quickly. But when the Human One [or Son of Man] comes, will he find faithfulness on earth?”
Jesus’ parables most often taught by saying or implying, “God is like…” In this story, he taught by contrast, saying, in effect, “God is MUCH BETTER than this unjust judge.” The story asked, “If even a bad judge can be worn down by persistence, isn’t it clear that your good, generous God wants to listen to your prayers?” The real question, Jesus said, is not about God’s faithfulness, but ours: “When the Human One [or Son of Man] comes, will he find faithfulness on earth?”
Lord Jesus, I’m impatient, partly because I live in a stream of time that I never seem to have enough of. Grow your patience in me—a patience rooted in your eternity, where neither you nor I will ever run out of time. Amen.
Though I was a church kid, I didn’t grow up in an environment where prayer was a big focus. At the church we attended there were prayers during worship services. We learned to say, “God is great, God is good….” before we shared our snack of animal crackers and apple juice in Sunday School, but that was about it. On special occasions, like Christmas or Easter, my grandaddy would say a prayer before we’d eat a family meal. Otherwise there wasn’t a lot of praying out loud in my upbringing.
I started working at Resurrection 11 years ago, my first professional role in a church. I had an abundance of church leadership experience as a volunteer, but this new staff environment took some getting used to. Public, corporate, out loud prayer became a constant in my everyday world, which at times felt very foreign to me. I remember the first time I was asked pray out loud in my new staff role. In all honesty, I was more than slightly panicked at the thought, but the words that came out of my mouth were, “I’d love to.”
What was I saying? We were finishing a meeting where a number of opposing viewpoints were being discussed, on a an especially sensitive topic for at least a few people in the room. My brain was rapid fire processing a thousand thoughts all at once. At the same time, words started coming out of my mouth. I prayed, we all said “Amen,” and I didn’t die!
The next day I was invited to join a team meeting with our Partner School liaisons. A colleague who was in the meeting with me the day before almost immediately asked me to open the meeting in prayer. What was happening? I obliged and we got on with the meeting, but I was perplexed at the sudden onslaught of requests to pray. I asked my colleague later at lunch why she’d asked me to pray at the Liaison’s meeting. She responded that I’d been so eager to pray the day before and did such a good job that she thought I loved it–ha!
As I have continued my staff time at the church, I have exercised my out-loud-prayer muscles enough that it no longer stresses me out. I actually find it very meaningful. That progress has only come with a lot of practice and persistence, and because I am in an environment and culture where prayer is a major focus and is a high priority and shared value.
I have caught myself in non-church settings thinking “Who’s going to pray?” Then I’ve looked around and realized I was at a high school band banquet, not a church event. I laughed a little bit to myself as I prayed silently in my head for my own meal and the people in the room.
Praying continuously, as Jesus directed in today’s parable, changes you. You don’t need to exercise those out-loud-prayer muscles if that’s uncomfortable for you. If you aren’t currently making space in your daily life to focus on prayer that is meaningful to you, I would invite you to give it a try and see how consistently focusing on prayer brings about changes in your life too.
*P.S.: If you are interested in exercising those out-loud-prayer muscles Pastor Anne Williams and Pastor Steve Langhofer wrote a book called Will You Pray With Me. You can find it in The Well bookstore or order from a favorite book provider.
* L’Engle, Madeleine. Many Waters (A Wrinkle in Time, Book 4). Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR). Kindle Edition, p. 318.