No shilly-shallying…

… when it comes to prayer.

According to Dictionary.com, to shilly-shally is:

1. to show indecision or hesitation; be irresolute; vacillate.
2. to waste time; dawdle.

Over the course of the last month I have taken my time getting through the book of Mark.  This morning I have completed that journey.  I know I will return to travel through the words found on these pages in the days ahead.  As I read this morning, I focused on the various times praying came up. 

Just after Jesus walked up to a fig tree and cursed it Jesus responds to Peter’s remark at the now shriveled up tree:

Jesus was matter-of-fact:  “Embrace this God-life.  Really embrace it, and nothing will be too much for you.  This mountain, for instance: Just say, ‘Go jump in the lake’ – no shuffling or shilly-shallying – and it’s as good as done.  That’s why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large.  Include everything as you embrace this God-life, and you’ll get God’s everything.  And when you assume the posture of prayer, remember that it’s not all asking.  If you have anything against someone, forgive – only then will your heavenly Father be inclined to also wipe your slate clean of sins.” (Mark 11:22-25, The Message).

I guess the most striking moment for me was Peter, James, and John falling asleep as Jesus was agonizing in the garden.  Jesus comes to them and addresses Peter:

Simon, you went to sleep on me?  Can’t you stick it out with me a single hour?  Stay alert, be in prayer, so you don’t enter the danger zone without even knowing it.  Don’t be naive.  Part of you is eager, ready for anything in God; but another part is as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire. (Mark 14:37-38, The Message).

My take away here is this: 

  1. Stay alert
  2. Do not hesitate to pray
  3. Pray with faith – believing
  4. Pray about everything (there is nothing too small and it’s all important to God)
  5. Prayer is not all about asking 
  6. Prayer is getting things right with others and forgiveness of sins.

The need to pray about everything is very important.  To act without praying would be to take that “one thing” into your own hands… as if to live in ones own power. 

For me, the need to stay alert is crucial.  By living life alert in prayer allows the spirit man to be ready for anything.  As I’ve thought about this, I’ve considered the many times I have gone to the Lord in prayer with anxious – worried thoughts.  The day in and day out moments caught up in worry.  It would be real easy for Jesus to approach me as he did Peter and question, “Roye, you went to sleep on me? Stay alert!”

James compares those who “worry their prayers” to the waves of the sea.  “If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father.  He loves to help.  You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it.  Ask boldly, believing, without a second thought.”  (James 1:5-6a, The Message).

Oswald Chambers in today’s Utmost speaks up on this subject as well,

Have you been propping up that foolish soul of yours with the idea that your circumstances are too much for God to handle? Set all your opinions and speculations aside and “abide under the shadow of the Almighty” ( Psalm 91:1  ). Deliberately tell God that you will not fret about whatever concerns you. All our fretting and worrying is caused by planning without God.

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