STAYING CONNECTED IN A TIME OF ISOLATION, Day 55

Practicing our faith through the times of the Coronavirus

Each day our Pastor will post a message to keep us connected while the Church is closed.

Day 55, May 7, 2020
“Prayer”

Today is the National Day of Prayer. Wikipedia gives this as background for the National Day of Prayer; “The National Day of Prayer is an annual day of observance held on the first Thursday of May, designated by the United States Congress, when people are asked ‘to turn to God in prayer and meditation.’” What is prayer? Among the numerous definitions, most which are very theologically grounded, I happen to like one that on first hearing sounds sort of silly. After email grew in popularity, someone was quick to borrow on email to label prayer as “Knee mail.” I like that.

On our National Day of Prayer, I hope you will take some time to send God a “Knee mail.” The bible has 367 occurrences of the word pray, while prayer appears 154 times. The patriarchs prayed for basic things. Abraham’s servant prayed he would find just the right wife for Abraham’s son Isaac, Isaac prayed that his wife Rebekah would be able to bear a child, and Jacob prayed for reconciliation when he faced his brother Esau after their bitter breakup.

Psalms is known as the book of prayer, and the sheer number of references validates that central place for the psalms, with prayer being mentioned 29 times and pray another 34. Prayer in the Psalms can be as peaceful as the green pastures and still waters of Psalm 23 and as dramatic as the gripping prayer that comes right before the 23rd Psalm, a prayer Jesus prayed on the cross, in his moment of greatest need. Psalm 22 begins with his heartfelt cry, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” Prayer can be praise. “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” Prayer can be lament. “How long, O Lord, how long?” Prayer can be with hands lifted up or with heads bowed down.

Prayer can be long, as we are told sometimes Jesus would spend the whole night in prayer. And prayer can be brief and succinct, as when Peter began to sink when the waves of doubt caused his faith to fade. Peter’s prayer, so brief and succinct as he began to sink was this. “Lord, save me!” You can make prayer even briefer and more succinct by simply saying to God, “Help!”

There is a rather long history about the invention of email. Bill Gates appeared on the Today show sometime in the early 90’s and made an announcement that there was this dramatic new invention that would transform the way we communicate. It is funny to watch that old interview and see everyone’s jaw drop as he announced email. What a revolutionary concept. It turns out email had been around since the early 70s, but it did not burst forth in use by the masses until the 90s, even providing the title for a sweet romantic movie, “You’ve Got Mail.”

I don’t know who coined the phrase, “Knee mail” as a play on the word email, but I think you could make a case for linking the original popularity of “Knee mail” to the Apostle Paul. We know Paul used letters to his great advantage in sharing the gospel. His letters were most likely written on papyrus and references are made to “parchments”. Whatever he used it took time to write out the letters, time for the letters to travel from one place to the next, whether by foot or by boat, and time to be read and passed around, to say nothing of the time it would take for a reply to be written and sent back. Sending and receiving mail was a slow process, to say the least.

Can you imagine how revolutionary it must have been when this firebrand Apostle would show up in places like Athens, Ephesus, Berea, and Corinth, places very familiar with papyrus and parchments, and proclaim to all these people who had never heard of having a personal relationship with God Almighty, the creator of the heavens and the earth, that there was this marvelous and amazing form of communication called, “Knee mail.” Paul had the great honor and privilege of telling new believers they could pray to God, directly, through Jesus Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit. You just take your requests directly God, and God immediately receives your “Knee mail.” God hears your prayers.

God hears our prayers. Friends, in these difficult days, please remember God hears our prayers. God receives our “Knee mails.” On this National Day of Prayer, I hope you will take some time to send God a “Knee mail.” I am thinking of “Knee mail” because when Paul offers his beautiful and soaring prayer about God’s love at the end of Ephesians 3, he begins by telling us it is a “Knee mail.” Paul writes, “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations! Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-20) When we send a “Knee mail”, Paul wants us to remember that God is strong and mighty and able, able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine. And Paul wants us to remember, Paul wants us to grasp how wide and long and high and deep God’s love is for us, the love that comes to us in Jesus Christ. Remembering God’s power, and remembering God’s love, I hope you will take some time today to send God a “Knee mail.” Like any good parent, our God likes to hear from his children.

With the love of Christ,
Wayne