Read: Romans 12:12; Luke 17:11-19
Now we have reached the climax of Romans 12:12. Only one additional command remains for us to consider:
We are to be faithful in prayer.
My goodness, this command is far-reaching. When I considered how to write about it, my thoughts went in several directions. There is so much that might be written about prayer. So many paths on which we could travel. I needed to settle on one little facet of being faithful in prayer and picture it. I chose the simplicity of thankfulness. I reread the short account that we are given in Luke 17:11-19, where Jesus performed a beautiful miracle of healing on not one man but ten. Each was a leper. We don't know the severity of each case; however, there are a few facts from the story that we do know to be true.
First, these unnamed men called out to the Lord by name. They kept a distance between themselves and Jesus and referred to Him as Master. They were crying out for mercy and they were told to present themselves to the priest. This was because if any leper was healed, there was a ritual he needed to undergo in order to prove that cleansing and healing had occurred. Before the lepers saw any evidence of healing, they all headed out to see the priest at Jesus' command. Can you imagine what joy these men experienced as they realized that they had been healed? Imagine the amazement they felt as they watched the changes they saw in one another and in their own bodies. Even so, only one went back to thank Jesus. He praised God and fell on his face at Jesus feet to thank Him. Jesus asked aloud about the other nine. Although ten were miraculously touched, only this one man who was a Samaritan returned to give thanks. Were the others simply so ecstatic that they wanted to get on with their lives? We don't know, but surely, we know from this account that Jesus paid attention to this man's thankfulness.
Since that is true, may I express thanks to the Lord for some blessings that I have received this week? They are not nearly as game changing as what the lepers received, but they are no less gifts from the Lord.
1. Thank You lord for Your son Ron, who passed away this week. He is now safely at home with You, 2 Corinthians 5:6-8. Thank You that he could reach out to people I could never touch, having used Your gifts in ways according to Your specific workmanship in his life, Ephesians 2:10.
2. Thank You for the birds who appear to have renewed their singing, after having been quieter during the summer's heat. Their music is simply one more reminder of the beauty that is around us that can be enjoyed even by those who don't recognize that You are its Creator, Matthew 5:45.
3. Thank You Lord for the small bud on the Arctic Flame rosebush. We don't yet know if we will enjoy one last rose from the bush, but the bud reminds me that we might. Who knows what the Lord will do! What a reminder for us to keep looking for the Lord's work all around us. What a reminder to not become hardened when the "bud" of His work seems so small. Thank You Lord that You are awesome and can bring beauty out of the smallest beginning. Thank You, for example for Bethlehem, Micah 5:2 and all You began there.
4. Thank You Lord for the sermon from Isaiah that I read this week. It was written in the 1980s. Thank You for the encouragement of hearing about the list of scary events that were looming large at that time. There were frightening events that seemed to be on the horizon. Thank You Lord that You brought us through the events that came to fruition and those that never occurred back then. Perhaps You thwarted much evil, preventing the worst of it. Thank You that You are that same God, Hebrews 13:8. You are still our Helper as You were back then, Psalm 46:1, and You are still able to thwart the wicked plans of men, according to Your plan.
5. Thank You for all we can learn from Your servants whom we meet in scripture. Thank You specifically for Nehemiah and how he prayed and waited, Nehemiah 1:1-11. We live in such a fast-paced world where communication is instantaneous. Though Nehemiah's heart was grieved when he learned of how his people were suffering, he didn't act out of his emotions. Instead, he cried out to the Lord, and he waited for God's perfect timing. How hard would it have been to have waited four months before approaching the king? Yet, that is what this faithful man did, waiting for God to open the way for him. Thank You Lord that Nehemiah was no more of a superstar than we are. He like us, was a man who wanted to do a work for the Lord, and You made a way for him. At the right time, You gave him favor with the king. Thank You Lord that You can open doors for us too, Revelation 3:7-8.
6. Thank You that although we needed to renew our ID cards this week, there is never the need to present a card to enter Your presence. Thank You that we can come boldly to Your throne of grace to find help in any time of need, Hebrews 4:14-16. Thank You that You know much more about us than could ever be stored on a card, Luke 12:6-7. A reminder of Your care over the details of our lives. Lord, Thank You that You are the giver of every good and perfect gift, James 1:17.
Please help us to be faithful in giving thanks like the Samaritan did in Luke 17.