March 5, 2016: Pray Without Ceasing (Part One)
Lord, teach us to pray (v. 1).
In the treasured verses before us, Luke provides us with a picture of how to pray (10:38-42), a pattern for our praying (11:2-4), and an encouragement to persist in our praying (11:5-12). The picture of praying is Mary quietly sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to everything he said.
I encourage you to live into the picture of Mary hanging on Jesus’ every word. The reason the story of Mary and Martha immediately precedes Jesus’ teaching on prayer is to give us an incentive to enter into our prayers with the counter-cultural practice of quieting down. Praying, at least in part, is listening for the voice of God. Mary shows us what that looks like; she “sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying” (v. 39).
Maybe this is why the psalmist echoes the voice of God, saying, “Be still, and know that I am God!” (Ps. 46:10). Maybe this is what is behind Isaiah’s vision, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength” (Isa. 30:15). Or maybe it’s why James, the brother of Jesus, wrote, “Be quick to listen, slow to speak” (James 1:19).
In a wired world of endless texting, tweeting, and skyping, a world never free of noise and commotion, it is a great relief to be encouraged to be quiet in the presence of the Lord. This is the first step toward praying without ceasing.
Prayer: Quiet us, Lord, that we may learn to pray.
Today’s devotional was written by Tim Brown, president and Henry Bast professor of preaching at Western Theological Seminary. This Lenten series comes from Words of Hope, whose mission is to build the church in the hard places through media. To learn more about the organization or subscribe to Words of Hope’s daily devotions, visit www.woh.org.