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Friday, September 14, 2007

Praying Friendship

This week we've been to a friend's funeral. It was what I would call a good funeral. The natural grief that follows the death of someone who has been a valued part of our lives was tempered by a celebration of his life and the comfort of knowing we will see him again in glory.

What particularly struck me was the number of people who claimed Doug as their best friend. It is a remarkable personal quality to be able to make so many people feel that special. For Doug's special friends his company and comradeship were important to them. They loved their opportunities to spend time with him.

Friendship With Jesus
To me that is a great illustration of what our relationship with the Lord Jesus should be. We should be passionate about the friendship we are privileged to share with Christ and should want to spend time both working in the world with Him and being alone in prayer. He is, after all, the best friend we can have.

The question is, is Jesus your best friend? The level of your desire for meeting Him in prayer could well be an indicator of the extent to which you regard Jesus as your friend.

If Jesus is the most important person in our lives we will want to give him the best part of our day. Our prayer time can be as much a time of fellowship as a time spent with any other beloved friend.

Personal Significance
But Jesus is not simply a special friend. He is the Lord of glory and being the friend of God is an awesome position to be in. Some people like to associate with powerful or influential men and women in the hope that they will somehow gain some significance or more credibility. They don't believe they have status in their own right so they seek the reflected glory of others.

But prayer and fellowship with Jesus give us an awesome significance. We don't just hang around Him hoping that we might get noticed because we're in His company. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit. God has come to live on the inside of us. We are intimately and inseparably united with the Lord and consequently prayer enables us to participate in God's action plan for the world. We become history makers, not mere observers or subjects. We are involved in the most important events not just in time but in eternity.

Making A Difference
"There is a lot going on all around us, with very little of the real action reported by newspaper or television," says Eugene Peterson in the forward to Stanley Grenz's book "Prayer: The Cry For The Kingdom".

For some reason God chooses to make us His friends and partners in the building of His kingdom. One day we will understand, in a way we cannot now comprehend, just how insignificant all the concerns of the world have been and how vital our activity of prayer was to God's purposes.

Prayer College Assignment
As we stood round Doug's grave we sang the old hymn, "When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder." It begins, "When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound and time shall be no more." The last verse of that hymn exhorts us to "labour for the Master from the dawn to setting sun". It seems appropriate as Jews all over the world are celebrating Rosh Hashanah (New Year or the Feast of Trumpets) and looking forward to the coming of their Messiah that we take the challenge to recommit ourselves to spending time with our Best Friend and labouring with Him in prayer for His kingdom to come.

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