Friday, November 15, 2013

Calling 911!

The picture on the right is  an old antique wall phone.  Those were even before there was such a thing as 911.  It was thinking about 911 that brought that old phone to mind.

When we think of 911, we have contact with the operator and the emergency service representative that shows up at our door. We realize how smoothly it normally works, but we never consider that there's a lot  more behind it all.

There are the equipment manufacturers and their service people to install and repair the complex electronics that make it all happen. And, of course the operators and other staff manning the 911 center.  Plus all the emergency services personnel.  Even in a small rural locale, it's a large undertaking.

Because we know how well it works, we have no problem calling 911 when there's a need.  And that old phone represents a contrast to that.  The antique phone picture is creative commons licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by ajmexico: http://flickr.com/photos/ajmexico/7565309158/.    The contrast is important in our lives and we'll discuss it right after the break.

When we look at that old phone, we realize it wasn't just dialing a number and being instantly connected.  The handset holder was also the on/off switch.  The caller would jiggle that to get the operator's attention.  In smaller communities, everyone knew her by name.  The caller would give her the number they wanted and she'd put the call through, using patch cords.  If it was an emergency call, the operator might make the call for us, while we dealt with the emergency.  And, in a small town, she might know where to find the doctor when he wasn't home or in his office.  When I was a young boy, I visited a small farm town in Nova Scotia that still had those phones.  My second summer there, they were replaced by a more modern phone system.

We've gone from a way of communicating that was slow and tedious to instant connection.  We're used to being instantly in touch as if that were a natural thing and it's always been that way.  We dial up landlords, doctors, friends, etc. without a thought about the process.  And without any qualms.  Yet, we tend to only sparingly use the most instantaneous form of communication of all ... prayer.

That was the contrast that hit me right between the eyes!  Our prayer life can sometimes be like that old phone.  It takes a bit to get the call placed, at least in our mental imaging.  We can seem to think we still need that intermediary between us and "The Big Guy".  And, like someone above us at work or in society, we're a little afraid to bother God.

Consider that God created prayer as the original, instant on, instant connect, always connecting communication system.  God's like 911 in that.  But, like the old time phone operators, He wants a little conversation, too.  Not just emergency calls.  And He wants us to be unafraid to come to Him. Unlike a boss, God doesn't have limitations on how many conversations or needs are sent His way. He doesn't need a secretary to screen His calls -- they're all important and He wants them all.  God says so.

Matthew 11:28 (KJV)  Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 

John 7:37 (KJV)  In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 

Mark 10:14 (KJV)  But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. 

Hebrews 4:16 (KJV)  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. 

James 5:13 (KJV)  Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. 

1 Timothy 2:8 (KJV)  I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. 

Psalm 55:16-18 (KJV)  As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me.  Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.  He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for there were many with me.  

There's a whole lesson on prayer in Matthew 6:5-15.

James 4:3 (KJV)  Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

When we consider that we are God's children, we see an interesting picture.  Children who understand a parent's affection for them are unafraid to go to that parent -- no matter whether it's a need, a desire for something, or just to share their day.  We have to remember how much God loves us.  That alone should make prayer a priority.  James 4:3 isn't God rejecting the person or the prayer.  It's God saying, "You ask for the wrong thing or for the wrong reasons, My answer will be different from what you requested."

I don't want to say too much on this.  The Word does very well with directing our thoughts.  So, I'm going to suggest meditating on the verses we've shared.  What is God telling you about prayer, today?

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