Friday, July 11, 2014

Prayer: An Expression of Servanthood from God to Us

"No servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him."  

These words of Jesus Christ, found in John 13: 16, come on the heels of a humbling (perhaps even humiliating) experience when Jesus bowed the knee and washed the dusty, well-traveled feet of his disciples.  Wait a minute; something is a bit backwards here, a bit off kilter.  Who is the master in this situation? Who really ought to be the one getting his feet scrubbed?  
The disciples ought to be the ones performing the duties of a slave, but as usual, Christ is in the business of role reversal, of turning things upside down.  Here he sets an example follow: to attend to the needs of others, to consider others above yourself, to detach yourself from the addiction to status, prestige, and self-importance.

Throughout the course of any given day I find myself calling on the Lord for help in all kinds of situations, whether big or small.  As I breathed a prayer for assistance with a simple decision one day, Christ's words came back to me like a boomerang, "A servant is not above his master." 

"That's right", I thought. A servant doesn't tell the master what to do.  A student doesn't bark orders at the teacher.  A child doesn't make demands of a parent.  It's supposed to the other way around, isn't it?  Only the one in authority has the right to make requests of his/her subordinate.
This is where prayer becomes an act of service from God to us.  He is the One of high and lofty position and we are the servants.  Who are we to ask him for anything?! What right have we to make demands of him and bring to him our needs and requests?  We ought to be the ones at his beckon call, awaiting our marching orders, ready to say "how high" when he says "jump." There is no logical reason on earth why we as slaves should be given permission to petition the Master (God) for anything.

A servant is not above his master.

AND YET. .. God serves us by allowing us to do that which ought not to be: to make requests of him and ask for help.   What is even more mind-boggling is that God would stoop so low as to serve us by answering our prayers. Do you see now?  This is the stuff of grace.  Prayer is yet another expression of servanthood; God's service to us who don't deserve.

How kind of God.  How merciful of God.  How good of God.

It is because of this kindness of God that I benefit from the prayers of others.  This week I have been blessed to reunite with many who have prayed for me, who have battled behind the scenes on my behalf while I am half a world away in New Zealand.

These are precious people to me and I am forever grateful  for the great role reversal that God has initiated. Enjoy the photos.

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