What I’m Thinking: Is it Worth While to Pray?

Jesus’ disciples asked him how to pray, and he told them. Then he answered the question they didn’t ask: Is it worth while?

Spoiler alert: He said it was.

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking about the eleventh chapter of Luke’s Gospel (Luke 11:1-13). It begins with some of Jesus’ followers asking him to teach them how to pray. It’s a natural enough question, or so I would think, when you are the follower of a major religious leader and teacher.

Jesus replies with what we have come to call “The Lord’s Prayer.” What I’m interested in, though, is not the prayer itself – all right, I am interested in it – but I’m more interested today in what follows, because Jesus starts to talk about how, if somebody asked you for a fish, would you give them a scorpion? Would you give them a snake? And if you, who are evil, know how to do things that are good, so much better for God.

In other words, Jesus is answering the question which Luke doesn’t record having been asked. The question is: Is it worth while to pray?

Those who think that this is a new question – one of the late twentieth or the the early twenty-first centuries – well, this is a question that is as old as the hills – and here on Hawai’i Island, some of the hills aren’t that old.

Is it worth while to pray?

It’s a question that’s come up over and over again across the millennia.

As some have pointed out, God is free. Ask God a question, and God may say, “No.” But Jesus insists that God is good, and that God’s response to prayer can be depended upon. Maybe it can’t be depended upon for exactly what we ask, but it can be depended upon for goodness, for righteousness, for truth, for love.

Is it worth while to pray?

Well, Jesus, who prayed from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” – that Jesus says, yes: It is worth while to pray.

So I’m going to ask you to pray for those of us on Hawai’i Island, in the midst of a conflict that is fracturing our community. It is not just that some would like to see a telescope built on a mountain, and others would not like it to be built. It’s so many different notions of what is right and good, so many notions of what is sacred and important: all these are coming into this conflicted space, and there is no one clear good and righteous way to make our way through it.

At least, there is no one good clear and righteous way that restores us as a community. We still need to live together.

And so I would ask you to pray for us here. Whatever decisions get made about the future of Mauna Kea, we still need to make choices on how to live together as the people of this island, this mokupuni, this ‘aina.

Please pray for us.

That’s what I’m thinking. I’m curious to hear what you’re thinking. Leave me your thoughts in the comment section below; I’d love to hear from you.

Categories What I'm Thinking | Tags: | Posted on July 21, 2019

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