by Max Lucado
Those who pray keep alive the watch fires of faith. For the most part we don’t even know their names. Such is the case of someone who prayed on a day long ago. His name is not important. He is important not because of who he was, but because of what he did.
He went to Jesus on behalf of a friend. His friend was sick, and Jesus could help, and someone needed to go to Jesus, so someone went. Others cared for the sick man in other ways. Some brought food; others provided treatment; still others comforted the family. Each role was crucial. Each person was helpful, but no one was more vital than the one who went to Jesus.
John writes: “So Mary and Martha sent someone to tell Jesus, ‘Lord, the one you love is sick’” (John 11:3, emphasis mine).
Someone carried the request. Someone walked the trail. Someone went to Jesus on behalf of Lazarus. And because someone went, Jesus responded.
In the economy of heaven, the prayers of saints are a valued commodity. John the apostle would agree. He wrote the story of Lazarus and was careful to show the sequence: The healing began when the request was made.
The phrase the friend of Lazarus used is worth noting. When he told Jesus of the illness, he said, “The one you love is sick.” The power of the prayer, in other words, does not depend on the one who makes the prayer but on the one who hears the prayer.
We can and must repeat the phrase in manifold ways. “The one you love is tired, sad, hungry, lonely, fearful, depressed.” The words of the prayer vary, but the response never changes. The Savior hears the prayer. He silences heaven so he won’t miss a word. The Master heard the request. Jesus stopped whatever he was doing and took note of the man’s words. This anonymous courier was heard by God.
John’s message is critical. You can talk to God because God listens. Your voice matters in heaven. He takes you very seriously. When you enter his presence, the attendants turn to you to hear your voice. No need to fear that you will be ignored. Even if you stammer or stumble, even if what you have to say impresses no one, it impresses God—and he listens.
Intently. Carefully. The prayers are honored as precious jewels. Purified and empowered, the words rise in a delightful fragrance to our Lord. “The smoke from the incense went up from the angel’s hand to God” (Rev. 8:4). Incredible. Your words do not stop until they reach the very throne of God.
One call and heaven’s fleet appears. Your prayer on earth activates God’s power in heaven.
You are the someone of God’s kingdom. Your prayers move God to change the world. You may not understand the mystery of prayer. You don’t need to. But this much is clear: Actions in heaven begin when someone prays on earth. What an amazing thought!
When you speak, Jesus hears.
And when Jesus hears, the world is changed.
All because someone prayed.
Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.
Colossians 3:14 (New Living Translation)
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Colossians 3:14 (New International Version)
And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.
Colossians 3:14 (The Message)
For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 (New Living Translation)
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 (New International Version)
I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed. God’s Decree.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 (The Message)
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.
Hebrews 4:13 (New Living Translation)
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Hebrews 4:13 (New International Version)
Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what.
Hebrews 4:13 (The Message)
People who work hard sleep well, whether they eat little or much. But the rich seldom get a good night’s sleep.
Ecclesiastes 5:12 (New Living Translation)
The sleep of a laboring man is sweet,
Whether he eats little or much;
But the abundance of the rich will not permit him to sleep.
Ecclesiastes 5:12 (New King James Version)
Hard and honest work earns a good night’s sleep,
Whether supper is beans or steak.
But a rich man’s belly gives him insomnia.
Ecclesiastes 5:12 (The Message)
Answer me when I call to you,
O God who declares me innocent.
Free me from my troubles.
Have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
Psalm 4:1 (New Living Translation)
Answer me when I call to you,
O my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;
be merciful to me and hear my prayer.
Psalm 4:1 (New International Version)
When I call, give me answers. God, take my side! Once, in a tight place, you gave me room;
Now I’m in trouble again: grace me! hear me!
Psalm 4:1 (The Message)
by Ed Young
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19).
The Bible is all about numbers. From the five smooth stones that David found in the creek to Jesus feeding the 5,000; numbers are apparent throughout Scripture. There is even an entire book of the Bible titled “Numbers.”
Math is also all about numbers. Without numbers, we couldn’t add, subtract or do any of those extensive trigonometry problems that we all love so much. But what’s the relationship between numbers, math and God? Basically, math and numbers matter to God. And it all starts with the number one.
God works supernaturally through the church to add to his equation. He uses people like you and me to reach others and bring them into his family-one person at a time. God could easily snap his finger and have a church filled with thousands of people appear, but that is not how he works. It all goes back to the power of one.
This week, remember that math is important to God and that you are a major factor in his addition. God has added you and he wants to use you to help add more. But it’s all about adding one at a time. You have to go out and find that one. Help add to his equation and invite someone to church with you. Show them that numbers do matter and that God is still counting-one life at a time.