Asking in faithA thing that has bothered me for many years is why Jesus didn’t explain his parables to the crowds when he spoke, but only later to his disciples (when they asked: Mt 13:36; 15:15; Lk 8:8). Was he leaving the stories to do their own work with most people in some way? Did they have to ponder them to get the full meaning? Or perhaps, as I heard a story teller once say, even if people don’t ponder them, or actually forget them, the stories they hear can be exploded into life at the right moment by the Holy Spirit, the meaning and application suddenly made clear, and all the more powerfully for the wait.
But without denying either of those reasons, I wonder if there was another possible thread as well: the disciples were ready for the explanations. They had committed themselves to follow Jesus in faith, and so they were prepared to accept his teaching – and that made all the difference, because obviously not everyone was in that relationship with him.
So commitment would be a necessary part of hearing and understanding; and that seems more than a bit true for prayer as well. We are much more confident in prayer when we’re fully committed to faith in the Lord, and thus able to accept whatever answer the Father God chooses to give. In faith we’re prepared to wait, if necessary; and even to look searchingly for the answers which we know must come because he has promised to hear and act when we pray. Does that seem plausible?
A prayer for each week
Heavenly Father, as the man said, “I believe; but help my unbelief.” Please give me faith to pray confidently about all difficulties facing me. Amen.
Heavenly Father, please boost my faith in your power to cope with the problems I want to bring before you, and in your love as you answer. Amen.
Heavenly Father, waiting for late buses is hard. Please give us the faith that your answers always come, even if we don’t know the timetables. Amen.
Heavenly Father, you love to surprise us in ways we don’t expect or can’t imagine, so please help us search confidently for answers to our prayers. Amen.