Pray the WAY: Preparation for Prayer (Lenten Prayer Journey Week 2)

Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom.  After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it.  Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends.  When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.  When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”   “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them. Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.  And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
Luke 2:41-52
I almost skipped this part of Jesus’ story for three reasons, it doesn’t exactly mention prayer, I wanted to stay on the topic of prayer, and there are two GREAT examples of prayer coming up in Luke’s gospel specifically relating to our topic of prayer.  However, the more I looked at this passage, I realized that in it is a perfect example of what must occur in order for us to have an active and meaningful prayer life- practice and preparation. 

Here we see Jesus coming close to God in the temple.  Remember, that to the Jewish people, the temple is the house of the Lord.  Like we seek to draw near to God in prayer, so, too, did they seek to draw near by going to the House of God.  We know that his earthly parents brought him there for Holy Days and festivals- times of celebration but also times of worship…and prayer.  This practice of going to God set the stage for what Jesus would do next..prepare through study.

Of course we know that Jesus needed neither to draw closer to God nor prepare to pray, yet as a human, he demonstrates for us the obedience and preparation necessary for us to come closer to the God we serve.  I wonder if as he came to the temple on those special occasions he actually felt more at home than in Joseph’s home in Nazareth.  Did he struggle with whether to stay with his Father in the Temple or travel with his family back to his childhood home?  Or, perhaps, was he so connected with God that he did not even notice his family had left…He was with God, what more did he need?

Jesus, drawn near, drawing nearer.

Jesus, full of wisdom, growing still in wisdom.

Jesus, connected more than any of us will be in this life, still seeking the deeper connection.  Showing us the way.

What is the WAY to this nearness?  What can we learn from Jesus’ own journey?

Drawing near to God involves practice and preparation.  WE must pray for wisdom to be revealed, for understanding of God’s Word.  At the same time, we learn to pray this very Word back to the author of all words, the Father of The Word-Jesus Christ.

As we draw near to God in prayer and study, the Word begins to dwell in us.  God with us-Immanuel.

Like Jesus, we go to God.  We study, we pray, and then we must go into the world…God with us, in us.  Like Jesus, we are prepared for what lies ahead.  Like Jesus, we can use God’s gift of wisdom and connection through scripture and Spirit, to stand up for Truth against the trials of this world.

Father, thank you for the gift of prayer, the blessing of connection through your Holy Spirit and your word.  Continue to draw us close, to bind us to you.  May we feel at home with you and may your Holy Spirit rest, at home, in us.  Give us wisdom and understanding as we seek to find you, to draw nearer to you, by following the Way–your Son, Jesus.

In His name we pray, Amen

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