March 29 Lesson The Loving Pray-er
John 17: 1-21
Again I am at home having solitary Sunday School. I miss being there—the youngest in my class of fellow followers. I miss the opening with prayer requests. The joining with others praying for their concerns and praising God for the week's blessings. But I'm an introvert, and if I am candid with myself, THIS is where I most love to be.
Alone with God. Reading His word. Praying and listening to His Spirit speak to my heart.
For this reason, I find it challenging to argue with the "I don't have to go to church to believe in God." defense for those who choose not to attend. Because I know that it's TRUE -- It is not necessary to be within the walls of a church to believe in, or pray to, or worship God.
If I never stepped inside my church again, I could remain in fellowship with Him. I would be satisfied to pray and read all day, just like the monks. But God calls us to fellowship with other believers so that we can gain strength in Him through the faith of others. He doesn't tell us, "Everybody has the right to believe what they want." (Of course they do. He never removes our free will.) - He calls us to GO and to TELL others so they may believe too, knowing the world would hate us for it, just as they hated Jesus.
He prays in John 17:14-18 for our protection because He has sent us into the same world that rejected Him. He prays that we are sanctified by His Word - the Truth.
I can live as the content introvert, happy to enjoy His presence at home during this quarantine. Pray in my devotions room. Study my lesson in my living room. Type messages on the computer at my desk and reading His Word in bed before rising in the morning or falling asleep at night.
I could say, "Cool God. Now, THIS is something I could get used to." But this is not what He wants. This time is a gift of time, time to rest, rejuvenate, and reacquaint ourselves with Him. It is a gift to those who choose to see it as such. But it is not permanent and is not how He wants us to live - isolated (though with the internet, we're not.)
He wants believers engaged in the world because He wants all to know Him. He wants His believers to deliver the message that we received to others so that they may believe as well.
In Gethsemene, Jesus prayed for those who believed - and He prayed for unbelievers, that they may believe and be saved as well.
Key Verses: John 17:20-21 (TLB)
20 “I am not praying for these alone but also for the future believers who will come to me because of the testimony of these. 21 My prayer for all of them is that they will be of one heart and mind, just as you and I are, Father—that just as you are in me and I am in you, so they will be in us, and the world will believe you sent me."