August 30, 2013
Take Your Need to God
Jennifer Kennedy Dean
We hope you are enjoying the Girlfriends in God daily devotions. We (Mary, Sharon, and Gwen) would like to introduce you to some of our special friends. From time-to-time, the Friday devotions will be written by one of our friends in ministry. We call them our "Friday Friends." So grab your Bible and a fresh cup of coffee and drink in the words from our "Friday Friend," Jennifer Kennedy Dean.
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (James 5:16b, NIV).
Friend to Friend
Prayer is neither complicated nor difficult. It is so simple that any child of God can lay hold of all God’s power and provision through His designated strategy we call prayer.
Decades ago God began to redefine prayer for me. I came to understand it as a continual interaction between the spiritual realm and the material realm. An unceasing flow from His heart to mine. I quit thinking about how to say prayers, and began to live a praying life.
The Holy Spirit can make direct deposits from His heart to mine and awaken His desires that define the content of my praying. In these years of learning how to live a praying life, I have come to realize that if God designed prayer to work, not to fail, then He surely designed it to be accessible and simple.
I think we see this pictured clearly in a story John records. He tells the story of a wedding at which Jesus was a guest, and His mother seemed to be in charge behind the scenes.
When the wine ran out, apparently the servants turned to Mary with their problem. I’m imagining the scene when a servant came running to Mary, concern apparent in his demeanor and his inflections. “Mary! They have no wine!” He puts the whole burden on her. Their wine less state has now become her responsibility. She has to come through.
I think she says something like, “Don’t worry. I’ve got it covered.”
She turns to Jesus and says, “Jesus, they have no wine.” (See John 2:3)
He makes a response to her that our 21st century, perhaps Gentile, ears hear as a rebuke. But let’s hear it again: “Woman!” He says. A word of endearment. The same word He used from the cross to say, “Woman, behold your son.” Addressing her gently. Then He uses a Hebrew idiom that His contemporaries would have heard as, “[What do we have in common? Leave it to Me.]” John 2:4 (AMP). Finally, He said that His time had not yet come.
Did He violate His sense of timing to please or appease His mother? No. He was warning her that the time to reveal His actions publicly had not come. She had to let someone else get all the credit for what her son had done. The master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”
Notice that the response did not deter Mary. She didn’t slink away as if scolded. She turned to the servants and said, “Do whatever He tells you” (John 2:5). She knew Jesus, so she knew there would be action. She didn’t know what that action would look like, but she had learned that Jesus would know what to do. She didn’t know what He would do, but she knew that He would do.
Do you see how simple her request was? She knew that when she took the burden that sat on her shoulders and handed it over to Jesus, He would know what to do and how to do it. She knew that the secret to powerful praying is to take God the need, not the answer.
Sometimes the most powerful prayer sounds something like this: Jesus, they have no wine.
Dear Lord, I realize that I often think my prayer needs to tell You the answer and instruct You in how to accomplish it. I embrace the release of knowing that when I bring You the need, You have the answer. I confess that I am empty unless You fill me. I am weak unless You strengthen me. I am helpless unless You come to my rescue. I have no wine. In Jesus’s name, amen.
Now Its Your Turn
Are there times when you feel responsible for coming up with the answer for God?
What is burdening your heart right now?
Share your “they have no wine” prayer.
More from the Girlfriends
I find myself on a never-ending adventure as I learn daily how to live a praying life. I was a 20-year-old college student when the Lord first spoke that phrase to my heart. For some forty years I have been learning something new, or something old at a deeper level. The journey never ends.
Recently I had the privilege of releasing Live a Praying Life in an anniversary edition. I added what I had learned about the concepts since losing my husband to brain cancer in 2005. I learned that when the rubber meets the road, truth holds. The truths I’ve been teaching all these years are road-tested and proven.
It’s finally here! Sharon, Gwen and Mary’s new book, Knowing God by Name, is now available. This is the perfect book for individual study or for gathering a group of friends in what we call GiG Groups. With impactful devotions, study questions, journal pages, and free on-line video intros, this book is a resource you’ll refer to time-and-time again.
Originally published Friday, 30 August 2013.