Sunday, October 25, 2015

This week's lesson (October 24-30): more woes for the prophet

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans."                                              -- Romans 8:26, NIV.
You're not supposed to pray the way Jeremiah prays.

Imagine what would happen, for instance, if your pastor asks for prayer requests . . . and you respond with Jeremiah 18:19ff --  "Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease?"

Or imagine what would happen if your pastor began the morning prayer in church with these words from Jeremiah 18:19ff:
"Listen to me, O LORD; hear what my accusers are saying . . . give their children over to famine; hand them over to the power of the sword. Let their wives be made childless and widows; let their men be put to death, their young men slain by the sword in battle."
And while I've attended many seminars on the subject, I've never heard a speaker suggest you can add more power to your prayer-life if you just quote these words from Jeremiah 20:7-9 --
"O LORD, you deceived me, and I was deceived; you overpowered me and prevailed. I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me. Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the LORD has brought me insult and reproach all day long."
In short, Jeremiah's prayers are not models of faith, hope, or love -- and they are certainly not the kind of prayers I usually hear in church.

Instead, they are bitter.

Angry.

Sarcastic.

And in the Bible.

All of which suggests that we don't always need to pray the way we should.

No, sometimes we can pray the way we are.

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