Monday, November 24, 2008

The Bottom Line

Kaleo just finished a 24/7 Week of Prayer, which was wonderful. The evidence of God at work through our prayers was tangible - you could almost taste it in the room as we met for chapels each day. Why is prayer possible, and why is it so wonderful?

Paul, speaking of God's eternal purposes accomplished in Jesus, writes this: "In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence." Hmmm. Imagine that God is a bank manager, and we find him rather intimidating. However, we really, really want to buy one of these babies:

It's a Lamborghini LP640 Coupe, and it sells for a mere $1.5 million if we don't go for too many extras. The problem is, our wallet contains only $1.34 and an expired bus transfer. Thus the need for the visit to the bank manager.

He listens politely to our reasons for needing a loan for $1,499,996.66 dollars, asks a few pointed questions, and then begins to laugh. Quietly at first, just a friendly chuckle, but as we just stand there expectantly his laughter becomes unpleasant, loud and shared by all his fellow bank managers. As he prepares to shoo us out of his office, we grab his attention long enough to say, "By the way, failed to introduce myself. The name's Gates, Bill Junior, and my dad is on his way to co-sign the loan this afternoon."

The laughter dies, identification is demanded, and suddenly attitudes change. We find ourselves back in his office, cappuccino at our elbow and pastries on a side table. The loan is approved, dad signs the bottom line, and we are burning up the Malahat by 3:00 PM in our brand new Lamborghini LP640 Coupe. (Don't ask me why Bill Gates' son would need a loan - it messes up my analogy.)

The point is, how did that happen? Were they impressed by the photo on our driver's license? Decided that we weren't such a bad guy? Decided to trust us in spite of our wallet's poverty? No, Dad signed the bottom line. His name, not ours, is the reason we got the loan.

When we pray in Jesus' name, it is like he signs the bottom line.

Think for a moment what this means. First, the sky is too small a limit. When God was creating the world we live in, he did it with words. "Let there be light!" and there was light. Stars detonated and galaxies swirled at the sound of his voice. He spoke things into being.

So can we, in Jesus' name. Things that would not be, are - because my mother prayed and spoke my character, my choices, my direction in life into being. In Jesus' name. I dare not think of where I would be right now apart from that. What an astounding lot of power God places in our hands!

Second, we can be sure that we will receive what we ask, because we cannot ask outside the will of God when we genuinely ask in Jesus' name. Let's say that instead of the Lamborghini we want to borrow $1.5 million to develop biological weapons to feed to our neighbor's cat, which drives us crazy with its caterwauling every night. Dad is going to raise some tough questions and in the end he simply won't sign. If we know him well, we aren't even going to ask for things like that. His name represents his nature, his values, his truth. Everything we ask for in Jesus' name must line up with who he is.

Finally, we are assured that God's answer to our prayers can be trusted. Bill knows that in spite of your Lamborghini fetish, what you really need is the Koenigsegg CCXR. Which, of course, is what you will get, and find that he is perfectly right. In Jesus' name is found that perfect peace that transcends our understanding and guards our hearts and minds. It is that secret of contentment by which Paul said he could do all things. It is wonderful beyond words.

Bring on the cappuccino and pastries.


Traci Wright said...

Oh Jim! You make me smile. I cant count how many times I have heard you use this analogy but every time it reaffirms the importance of prayer and asking out of faith. Thanks!

Holly said...

I remember this from CIT! thanks for reminding me!