In the novel,One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, the main character endures all the horrors of a Soviet prison camp. One morning he is praying with his eyes closed when a fellow prisoner notices him and says with ridicule, “Prayers won’t help you get out of here any faster.” Opening his eyes, Ivan says, “I do not pray to get out of prison but to do the will of God.”
The attitude of Ivan is the same resolve that we, as God’s followers, need to embody when we prayerfully attempt to persevere through our difficult moments. Basically, God never promised us that it was going to be easy as we accept the Lord’s example. Even as their teacher sent the disciples out (Luke 10:3), he reminded them: “Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.”
Jesus was telling them that it was not going to be easy. That is, they would more often be received in a negative manner than by lovingly open arms. The Lord was telling them to expect this response and continue to grasp a perspective that was much deeper than just them.
“He who listens to you listens to Me; he who rejects you rejects Me; but he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.” Luke 10:16
In the following chapter (Luke 11), Jesus is found in a familiar spot doing something He did on a regular basis. For it is evident early on from Luke’sgospel (3:21; 5:16; 6:12; 9:18 and 9:28) that our Savior was in constant contact with His Heavenly Father.
“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When He finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray’…”
His disciples had no doubt noticed His prayerfulness and thus asked Him to teach them how to pray. And even though Jesus had already given them these instructions (Matthew 6), He again reiterates many of the same words that we now call The Lord’s Prayer. Within these phrases, we find the title of this article. I believe that Erik Raymond does an eloquent job describing the anticipation of what Jesus means when He says, “Thy Kingdom Come:”
“…through our prayers, it’s as if the Holy Spirit lifts our chins above our earthly horizon to see the fleet of God’s coming kingdom advancing on the open sea. And we cry, ‘Make haste!Come, O King and Kingdom!’’’
So, as we continue to Smile at the Storm that is all around us, let us also enact Paul’s instructions to the Church of Thessalonica:
“Rejoice at all times. PRAY WITHOUT CEASING. Give thanks in every circumstance,for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)