Name and Claim it Without Complaining

Ed, my old neighbor from Saskatchewan, had an envelope returned to him last week. He threw a storm of lightning and thundering irritation and grumbling over his ‘return to sender,’ letter. It was due to a mistake on his part, but he blamed Canada Post that his letter came back and that he had to send it out again. Ed had filled out the address by memory. He had written on the envelope a wrong postal code. “The postal code was not off by much,” Ed told me in disgust. I didn’t comment as I knew it would be six months to a year before the storm clouds disappeared over his returned letter.

Many of us repeatedly chew on little and big grievance like a dog on a bone. Offenses and sins committed against us are not easy to forget or forgive. The more we chew on them, the bigger they grow. God sent Jesus his Son into our world as an eternal answer to endless prayers concerning the devastation of sin and death troubling us.

A sizable number of folks hold prayer as a useless exercise. Do prayers return to the person who sent the prayer, as if, their concern never reached God? If God did receive the prayer, did God ignore what the person prayed to receive? Prayer is communication with God but was God out of the prayer office in heaven? If you are going to phone someone, you have to call the correct number to reach that person. Letters need the exact name and address to get delivered to the right recipient. Christians pray to their one true God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Before his crucifixion, Jesus prepared his disciples for his death and resurrection to come in short order. Jesus said plainly, “I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.” It was a return to sender matter. God the Father sent the Son to earth but only for a brief time. The son would return to the Father in heaven after his death and resurrection.

Jesus also said to his disciples, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. The Father himself loves you, because you have loved me, and have believed that I came from God.” Jesus knew that his disciples would have lots of concerns on Earth after he was gone. He promised them the Holy Spirit would be given to them to teach, comfort and help them pray in his name.

The power of prayer is not in the one who prays, but in God, who answers prayers according to his loving will for all. When we pray, we do so in faith in Jesus as God’s Son. God will answer our prayers, yes, or no as He knows what’s best for us and others. Paul prayed three times that God would take a tribulation from him. Never the less, Paul’s affliction continued for God could work his power best in Paul’s weakness. Prayer is trusting God no matter how he answers our prayers.

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Raymond Maher
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