Encouragement for your daily walk with God
The tension is palpable. It’s the 4th quarter with only a few seconds left on the game clock. The goal line is too far away for a field goal, but you’ve got to get that football into the end zone someway. So you run all your receivers into the end zone and desperately throw the football at a large group of players - receivers and defenders - hoping against hope that one of your guys will come up with the ball to win the game. That play has been given a name used by Protestants, Catholics, and atheists alike: the “Hail Mary Pass.” The rationale behind it is clear, a pass thrown under such desperate circumstances requires divine intervention to be completed.
That’s the way a lot of people pray because prayer is something they generally associate with desperation. For the majority of time, they rely on their own resources, their humanly devised game plan, and other “teammates” to get by. Then a crisis comes and their human cleverness and mortal strength fail. And when all the earthly options have evaporated, they throw up the “Hail Mary” prayer.
Desperate people pray, and that’s OK because “Hail Mary” prayers have been the start of a spiritual life for some folks. But in and of themselves, “Hail Mary” prayers are not sufficient to sustain a strong spiritual life.
Christ followers have a different game plan. Rather than throwing up “Hail Mary” prayers, we:
- “Pray without ceasing” [1 Thessalonians 5.17].
- “… always pray, and not grow weary” of it [Luke 18.1].
- Pray about everything “by supplication and thanksgiving” [Philippians 4.6].
This kind of game plan reveals what we really think about prayer; in ordinary, and extraordinary times, prayer changes things.
One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. Luke 18.1