Prayer and Hope
Prayer and hope go hand-in-hand. Hope inspires prayer, and prayer strengthens hope. It doesn’t matter which one you begin with – jumping into the loop is all that matters.
Paul Miller says that one of the great obstacles to prayer – and therefore to hope – is cynicism. Cynics see half the picture – they recognize the evil in the world without grasping hold of the goodness and sovereignty of God. Jesus shows us how to see everything:
“While Jesus is hanging on the cross, the religious leaders cynically mock him for his childlike trust. ‘He saved others; he cannot save himself…He trusts in God; let God deliver him’ (Matthew 27:42-43) In effect they are saying, ‘Look what happens when you act like a child and trust your Father. He abandons you.’ They accuse Jesus of naivete, of acting foolishly because he believes in God’s goodness. Jesus does not answer his mockers because his ear is turned to his Father. Like a wise serpent, he says nothing. Like a harmless dove, he does nothing. Even as his Father turns his back on him, Jesus trusts. Faced with the storm of life, he tightens his grip on his Father. Jesus’ childlike faith delighted his Father, and on Easter morning his Father acted on Jesus’ dead body, bringing him to life. He trusted in God; God delivered him. Evil did not have the last word. Hope was born.”
This week, I want to write you about hope and prayer – and why it is foolish not to hope and pray. You may be burdened by your own sin, by sickness, by the unbelief of those you love, by the state of the world, or by all of the above. Whatever your burden, cynicism is not the answer – but hope that perseveres in prayer.
This year, I pray that our church will grow more and more into its name. We are a people with a new hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Let’s lean into that hope through prayer, and by praying, hope even more!