Candor at the Cross: Prayer

“On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.'” John 2:1-5

If I were to confess something painfully honest it would be simply this: I don’t pray very much.

It’s so horrible to say, isn’t it? How could I not pray?

It’s even worse when I’m really honest and say I don’t like to pray, and the idea of prayer can make me angry.

Why go to God on your knees and tell him things he already knows and ask for things he’s already decided not to give you? A poor understanding of prayer? Undoubtedly. And trust me, that’s not what I was taught. It’s the doubt that seeps in the longer I spend not praying. But it’s still a very real doubt, even if it’s untrue.

I spend more time dreaming about and fighting for things I can’t seem to grasp than I do praying for them. I have taken on the “by my own bootstraps” kind of faith, rather than one that simply trusts and surrenders. I decided that the things I want aren’t important enough to bring to God, so I’ll simply get them myself.

Today I was reading a little devotion on John 2:1-11. This is the passage about the wedding at Cana where Jesus performs his first public miracle. In it, Mary the mother of Jesus approaches him and tells him that they are out of wine. It’s such a simple thing. No request. No demand. Just a statement of a fact. A fact Jesus already knew. And when he says, “What does it have to do with me?” her response is to instruct the servants to obey him. Even without a promise of action, Mary understands that obedience is the only option, and the faithful one.

This small passage alone debunks every faithless thought I’ve had on the issue. In five verses flat, Jesus confirms there is no problem too small for his attention, not even something seemingly frivolous like wine at a party. He also confirms that we are to bring our needs to him, even if he already knows about them. And finally, this passage teaches us that our obedience is required regardless of the outcome.

And here, at the cross of Christ, is where Law and Gospel crash together in the miracle we call grace: That my own sinful nature calls me away from what is truly best for it and in my depravity I give in to my doubts. But in Christ, at his cross, I find redemption, hope, and him working obedience in me even as I fall on my knees. Pray, not to become holy, but because Christ has made you holy. Not because you are faithful, but because through it Christ gives you faith.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s