A challenge to pray
by Mervyn Morelock, Lt. Colonel –
Easter weekend for Christians everywhere is a glorious time of hope and faith. But 2,000 years ago the weekend didn’t start that way.
Jesus was crucified, was dead, buried, gone. Can you image the sorrow and mind-numbing grief that must have overcome the disciples, Mary and Mary Magdalene? For three years they had hung on his every word. Their eyes had seen real, life-changing miracles. Their ears had heard new words and ideas about life and living and loving God in a way they had never heard before. At the triumphal entry they had experienced such hope, such joy! The Master was coming to proclaim himself, to reveal that he was the promised Messiah! God was in man and the kingdom of heaven was at hand!
And now this! They had seen with their very own eyes the cruelty of those who ought to have given mercy. The outrageous trial, the unrelenting whipping by the soldiers, the catcalls and cruel laughter by those he had come to save. His agony on the cross!
The disciples and the two Marys were shattered—all that they had dreamed of for these last three years had been cruelly ripped away in the single act of the cross. They were devastated. The disciples scattered in fear of their lives and with bitter disappointment and grief in their hearts. Jesus was gone, dead and buried in a grave sealed with a huge stone. There was no hope. Why pray?
And then came Easter! The women came back from the tomb and told the disciples what they had heard and seen! The disciples were in disbelief. Then, the two disciples who met Jesus on the road to Emmaus reported what they had seen and heard and that their hearts had “burned within them as they walked with him in the way.” They reported their amazing experience to the disciples in Jerusalem. “It is true! The Lord has risen!”
From that time to this, Christians have had a reason to pray without ceasing. Our lives become a prayer, the sweet-smelling aroma of Christ to God. Unceasing prayer means living in the presence of God. Paul says in Ephesians 2:6 that when we pray “we are seated in the heavenly realm with Christ.”
The power of prayer takes on a new meaning when we reflect on Easter. The resurrected Christ gives us new faith to pray. God hears and answers prayer. Jesus, our Great Intercessor, is alive and is “seated at the right hand of God ever interceding for us.” The Father hears and answers our prayers.
Pray, Prayer Partners, pray! Each month letters and e-mails are received through the Call to Prayer messages, rejoicing in answers to prayer. God’s comforting presence given in a time of grief, cancer in remission, recovery when there seemed to be no hope. A man who had spent more than half his life in the hopelessness of alcoholism and drug abuse is healed, and for the first time in over 20 years celebrates his birthday clean and sober.
Take seriously the challenge to pray. Why? Because Christ Jesus lives and is ever interceding to the Father on our behalf!