Image source: StJames’bytheParkChurch

It is impossible to pray when I think I have all the answers; it is impossible to pray when I think I have all I need to solve a problem; it is impossible to pray to an unseen God when I think I have the knowledge to solve a challenge before me; it is impossible to pray when I view myself as lord and master over everyone and everything. Who needs God when I have beauty, money, power, science, and technology?

Solomon says in Ecclesistates 10:11 (King James Version): “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.”

Lets read Ecclesisates 10:11 again in the Contemporary English Version (CEV): “Here is something else I have learned: The fastest runners and the greatest heroes don’t always win races and battles. Wisdom, intelligence, and skill don’t always make you healthy, rich, or popular. We each have our own share of misfortune.”

Time and chance happen to all; according to the CEV translation – “we each have our own share of misfortune”; and this includes even those who believe they are the lords and masters over the rest of us. No surprises then that when Jesus taught his followers how to pray, he included that deep last line.

Luke 11:2-4 (The Message Bible) reads: ‘So he [Jesus] said, “When you pray, say, – Father, Reveal who you are. Set the world right. Keep us alive with three square meals. Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.”’

Keep us safe not from our neighbors but first from ourselves, lest our ego, our pride, our big-headedness, our boastfulness, arrogance, hubris, convince us that we have life all sorted, no room for God in our hearts. Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil who goes around when we sleep, digging up potholes and placing obstacles on our path. When we pray we accept with humility that there are influences out there that can impact our lives and for which we need divine protection.

Lord, continue to teach us how to pray in these challenging times, Amen!

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