There is this place that I know, a place where I spent a great deal of time when I was a youth, a place that if I were to return to now would usher in a flood of memories…none of them bad. Not many of us have a place that holds for us what seems like a lifetime of memories. The place I know goes by the official name White River Canyon, to me however it’s just known as the place…that certain place. In High School my buddies and I would spend our holidays and long weekends at that place. We would camp, fish, hunt rattle snakes and drive them old dirt roads just to see where they would lead us.
I loved going to that place, and even now I love to think about that place. What’s more is that as I have grown older I have realized that it wasn’t the place that I longed for or really loved at all. It was the experience of spending that time with friends…friends that I loved, friends that trusted me and I trusted back. Friends that would eventually go onto to join the military and make separate lives as I have. One friend in particular that would only begin his new life before his life was taken. A friend that never had the privilege of watching his daughter grow up…or even be born. A friend that even still I think about nearly every day of my life. A friend that I would come to name my middle son after. Aside from all that has changed however I have never forgotten that place…the smells, the sights, the laughter and the joy. I presume that as long as I live I never will.
Jesus it seems would often retreat to a similar place, whether it be the Mount of Olives or some other hill just outside of Jerusalem. In fact in Luke chapter 11 just before his disciples asked him how to pray, scripture tells us that Jesus was in a certain place.
One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
At first glance this may seem insignificant and often times we encourage others to follow that pattern and find for themselves a certain place…a special place…a place that is known between only them and God. I don’t disagree at all with this advice, however after doing a little reading yesterday I happened across this verse and the spirit within me spoke another message from the same verse. Here is what it said…
One day Jesus was praying in a place of certainty. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
I am not sure whether you caught the subtle difference and in no way am I attempting to take the scripture out of context, but only to add another dimension of truth to what the scripture has already said. Jesus always prayed from a place of certainty, Jesus was always in the fathers will and doing the fathers business. Jesus always had a holy motivation to do for the father and ask of the father only what the father willed. Scripture tells us that many times we ask but do not have because we ask with wrong motives…selfish motives.
The truth is that even the disciples recognized this in the ministry of Jesus Christ, so much so that they begged him for this teaching…”teach us how to pray.” It’s not that they didn’t know how to talk to God and surely all of us likewise know how to talk to God, but do we really know how to pray.
The effectiveness of the private ministry Jesus had with his father was evidenced in his public ministry to the lost. In his private ministry Jesus would come to know fully the fathers will and do exactly as he asked…though his flesh be opposed Jesus would always subdue his flesh by his spirit so as to be perfectly aligned with the will of God.
So here we are asking the question, what effect, if any at all, is my private ministry with the father having on my public ministry in the world? Understand that location has absolutely nothing to do with praying from a certain place, there is a way we can pray with certainty. We must confess our sins to God and in doing so he is faithful and just to forgive our sins, we must check our motivation and ask of ourselves is there any degree of selfishness in my prayer, and finally we must spend however long it takes prostrated before God waiting for the command that will compel us to act. We shall not move from that place of certainty until we have wrestled the blessing from his hands.