Scripture Passage: Joshua 24:15, John 15:7, Mark 11:24
Joshua 24:15 says, But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
John 15:7 says, If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
Mark 11: 24 says, Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
These scripture passages tell us of 1) the importance of prayer; 2) importance and value of word of God ;3) Lessons for all generations.
In John 14: 13-14, we read,
And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. It can be seen that prayer is a powerful weapon for everyone. Each person can use this weapon as an individual, in family and in community. But in today’s technology driven world, prayer is quickly losing its value and place to gadgets. We have long forgotten the lessons taught by our Saviour. He taught us to pray and believe that it shall be done. But we are now caught in a vicious circle of desires which is never ending, and prayers have no place in the circle.
In Ezekiel 16:44 we read, “Like mother, like daughter.” The same can also be read as like father like son in a family scenario. When a child is taught to live a life of prayer and dedication since early childhood, he/she continues to do so even as adults. We as parents and elders should be their models to lead a holy life. Since children naturally look upon their parents as role models.
A child’s mind is like wet clay in the hands of a potter. Howsoever you mould he/she will take that shape. It is easy to set a delicate sapling on a straight track. But when it grows strong and you try to graft it; it will either break or will hurt you with its strength. (Proverbs 16:20 says, Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord.) To pay attention to instructions, one must be aware of it and the same should be taught by parents to their children. Parents should raise their children in a christian way of life telling them stories from the Bible. Stories of lives dedicated to prayers(Romans 1: 12 says that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith), holy living, ones who escaped temptations and tribulations by faith in God. And about those who feel weak in the face of temptations and had to pay the price like: David, Samson, Solomon, etc.
People today have become servants to luxury. Due to insatiable hunger and greed for material goods they have lost their purity of heart and soul as well as grace of God both as a family and as an individual. They are trying to row two boats together-worldly desires and spiritual desires. But the boat which draws strength from the current of our inner desires gets carried away. Most often than not it is the boat of spiritual desires/ our soul that faces defeat before world desires/ body. This is due to a life lacking prayer and dedication and engaging in impure activities and thoughts.
Jeremiah 32: 38-39 says, 38 They will be my people, and I will be their God. 39 I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me and that all will then go well for them and for their children after them.
Jeremiah 33: 3 says, 3 ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’
This is not a promise made by man that gets swept away with tide of time. It is the promise made by God. Whoever calls to Him in prayer with a pure heart, will have the prayers answered.
Most of us do not lack anything in terms of education, job, house,respect, position and so on. But what we do lack is time. We lack time for prayer, to go to church, to say family prayer, and the children who grow up in such homes are conditioned likewise. When the limbs of an unborn child do not develop as per the benchmarks set by medical experts, we cal that child handicapped/ disabled. But we don’t call a man handicapped when he shows no growth in spirituality. This is because we lay more emphasis on physical and mental growth rather than our soul. The result of this our children go astray fall easy prey to the traps set up by Devil and sink into temptations.
Here is a real life example. This incident was narrated to me by a priest while travelling in a train. An engineering student lived alone with his mother and younger sister, Their father died long time ago and so his mother worked in other peoples homes to fend for them. She got him admission in a good engineering college and would slave each day to pay for his fees. The boy too was good at his studies and knew the hardships faced by his mother. After the exams were over, the boy along with his friends decided to celebrate it lavishly. They got together a deadly combination of drugs, drinks and a girl. The boy had never been part of such a party before. Something held him back to engage in the group.
He had the habit of calling home each day before sleeping. That night he called home to speak to his mother. Just when the party was being organised, his mother and younger sister were knelt before the altar praying for him with tear laden eyes. When the phone rang, his sister rang to take the call. Her voice was breaking due to the tears. Hearing her voice, the boy became anxious and inquired if mother was alright. His sister put his worries to ease when she said that their mother was fine. But his heart shattered and he felt crumbled within when she told him that she was crying in prayer with their mother for him. The boy could not handle this and broke down before his friends. When his friends asked him the reason for his pain, he narrated what had happened. There was complete silence. The boys too broke and said to him that he was lucky to have such a family who pray for him. Had there been someone to pray for them also, they would not have fallen into temptations. The boys did not drink and also sent the girl back. This is the power of prayer. Do not ignore it.
Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time an elephant was roaming lazily in a jungle. He came upon a pond full of lotus flowers. The pond seemed quiet and tranquil. Smiling inwardly, the elephant jumped into pond. He forgot that lotus grows in muddy waters. He continued his frolic and went tossing the flowers. He did not see the crocodile sleeping peacefully in the murky waters. Disturbed by the sudden movement in water, the crocodile woke up. He caught hold of the elephant’s leg in anger. No matter how hard he tried, the elephant could not free himself. He realized his folly of seeing the surface only and prayed to God for help. Seeing his pitiable state God helped him rescue. From then on the elephant did not step into water in haste.
This story teaches us the following lessons-
- We should not have too much pride and faith in our own capabilities. Our capabilities and talents are all gifts from God.
- What seems calm on the surface might not be son on the inside. We should not be in haste and take caution with help from God. Eg: drugs, drinks, … if not careful it may lead to suicide.
- Lord never forsakes those who call out to Him in prayer.
- God is our last and only Hope.
Our Father in heaven values us and loves us so much that He gave His only son for our sins. Do we need more proof of the love? In Matthew 18:12-14 we read,
What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.
Similarly, in Luke 15: 8-10, he says
8 “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Our Heavenly Father is waiting for us as the father waited for his prodigal son ( Luke 15:11-32). We need only to call unto Him in prayer and devotion. Are we teaching our children and youth these lessons to protect them from the snares of the Devil? Think.