Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.” “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.” “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” “We can,” they answered. Mark 10, verses 35-39
Are you audacious, bold or even arrogant? Are you confident when you pray, or does it seem awkward? Are your prayers wishes or honest requests? Do you boldly ask for things or tackle questions and issues head-on? That’s what the Disciples were doing. In a way, these verses are some of the most brutally honest and realistic because James and John, the Sons of Thunder, were doing what you and I would do. In a way, I think they were more honest than you or I would be.
You see, we SHOULD ask Jesus for anything in prayer in audacity, boldness and confidence. Do we? Usually not. As I mentioned yesterday, my wife and I went to see “War Room.” Audacity, boldness and confidence in prayer are some of the big messages we took away from the movie. God wants us to talk with Him confidently, boldly and with an audacity of hope that even Mr. Obama couldn’t imagine. He wants us to talk with Him about things that matter to us, things we believe – and don’t believe – and he wants us to be genuine. Jesus wants our reality, our truth because He is reality and He is the only real truth. If you haven’t seen the movie, go see “War Room” and gird up for battle.
And life is a daily battle, isn’t it? Sometimes it is very much a battle to be true to principles throughout the day. I know that, for me, authenticity in my faith can be a real struggle. I really, truly believe in Jesus. I really, truly believe all He said He is, all that He did, and all the ways He is at work in the world today. Yet every day I really, truly struggle with coarse language, with ‘walking the walk’ as an honest believer. I’m judgmental. I’m shallow. I fail at gossiping, at patience and humility, at empathy for my brothers and sisters. My bold audacity is indeed arrogant sometimes. I’m a sinner and because I’m a sinner I desperately wage war against an unseen enemy every day.
If I were to say to Jesus what James and John did, I think He might react in a similar way. Or, perhaps, He might honestly tell me, “no.” I believe He would tell me that I really don’t know what I’m asking. And I also believe He would love me anyway, that (just as He does now) He would see that I’m placed where I need to be so as to best do my part in His work. Jesus doesn’t NEED me to do anything for Him, but He wants me to. And to do what He wants me to do, He asks that I audaciously, boldly and confidently share with Him all my innermost thoughts, hopes, dreams, and prayers.
Lord, I bring to You all my inmost thoughts. You know them anyway. Hear me as I pray, and reinforce me to boldly, audaciously pray with You, pray for others, and do Your work.
Read Mark 10, verses 35-45.