“There is no neutral ground in the universe.
Every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counterclaimed by Satan.”
C.S. Lewis, Christian Reflections, Eerdmans, 2014.
“I have told you these things so that you will be whole and at peace. In this world, you will be plagued with times of trouble, but you need not fear; I have triumphed over this corrupt world order.”
JESUS, in John 16:33, VOICE
“We are always at war.”
John Eldredge, Wild at Heart, Thos. Nelson, 2001.
“…to pray ‘deliver us from evil’ … is to inhale the victory of the cross,
and thereby to hold the line for another moment, another hour, another day,
against the forces of destruction within ourselves and the world.”
N.T. Wright, The Lord and His Prayer, Eerdmans, 2014.
“Celebrate always, pray constantly, and give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in… May the God of peace make you his own completely and set you apart from the rest.
May your spirit, soul, and body, be preserved, kept intact and wholly free
from any sort of blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus the Anointed.
For the God who calls you is faithful, and He can be trusted to make it so.”
1 Thessalonians 5: 16-17, 23-24, VOICE
Recently, a prayer app I listen to each day (Lectio 365), revisited the story in Mark 9 where Jesus healed a spirit-dominated young boy. Afterwards, his disciples asked him why they were not able to bring about his healing and Jesus replied that that kind of spirit is only removed by prayer. Familiar story. Familiar words of Jesus. But, this time, I was struck with a new thought, one I hadn’t before considered. First, I’m sure the disciples prayed. They were not being rebuked for neglecting prayer or praying wrongly. Second, Mark’s account of the healing doesn’t even mention Jesus stopping to pray. Third, maybe Jesus wasn’t requiring on-the-spot prayer. If that is the case, what is the ‘prayer’ to which he is referring? What I’m currently mulling over is that Jesus’ very life was prayer. He was entirely connected to the Father by, of all things, prayer! Brennan Manning (author, laicized priest, public speaker, 1934-2013) posed it this way: “What if the hour you spend in [prayer] is when you refocus on Jesus so that you can carry his presence with you into the other twenty-three hours of the day with a heightened awareness that he is with you, he is for you, that he likes you, that he hears your thoughts? You start to pray in real time… You’re no longer deferring all your prayers to some later, holier moment, because your whole life is becoming that holier moment.” Maybe that was exactly what Paul was talking about in the Thessalonians passage above. Maybe hoisting prayer up into its rightful place, readjusting priorities to give it room, will ‘open the eyes of our hearts’ to more intimacy with Jesus, more joy in ‘wasting time with him,’ more readiness to engage in the spiritual warfare of our day. Just a little something to ponder while the coffee is brewing, the tea is steeping/plumping. PD