Man's Difficulty Concerning Prayer

—and not to faint.

— St. Luke 18:1

In all his miracles, Jesus did only in miniature what his Father does ever in the great—in far wider, more elaborate, and beautiful ways; and I will adduce from them an instance of answer to prayer from which we can learn much. 

Poor, indeed, was the making of the wine in earthen pots of stone, compared with its making in the lovely growth of the vine, the live roots gathering water from the earth; but what makes it precious to me is the regard of our Lord to a wish of his mother. She had suggested to him that here was an opportunity for appearing in his own greatness, the potent purveyor of wine for the failing feast. It was not in his plan, as we gather from his words: “What to me and thee, woman?” he said: “my hour is not yet come;” but from his look and tone she knew that her desire, scarce half-fashioned into request, was granted. What am I thence to conclude, but that, at the prayer of his mother, he made room in his plans for the things she desired? It was not his wish then to work a miracle, but if his mother wished it, he would! This was a case in which he could do so, for it would interfere nowise with the will of his Father. Was the perfect son to be the only son of man who needed do nothing to please his mother—nothing but what fell in with his plan for the hour? Not so could he be the root, the living heart of the great response of the children to the Father of all! The Son then could change his intent, and spoil nothing: so can the Father; for the Son does nothing but what he sees the Father do.


Essay and Artwork by Leah Morency

"In all his miracles..."

Miracles are indeed great and small. The connection between the father and his son, the love born in the mother for her child, the seeking and responding in the intimate places of our human soul with one another and with our Lord is the fashioning of prayer. It is placed in the midst of the grand working universe, the miracles of the cosmos.

We may seek and ask and move freely in the kingdom of God, resting in the knowledge that He is greater, as high as the heavens are above us...yet near and attentive to our small frame. And, His will is also such, that in it we can come into his arms and ask for our hearts desire, knowing he sees all, directs all for our good, from the farthest reaches of space to the innermost chambers of our hearts.
Truly, there is no need for fear but that we should stop trusting in His embrace. In his embrace is found the love of the son for the mother, the mother for her child, the father for his children, and the great goings on of the vast and wide expanse of our dwelling place in the flesh, this realm of crossing point of spirit and matter.

What relief we gain in this example from MacDonald's sermon, that we cannot spoil his intent. The widow pleaded again and again for justice, and did not consider the material world and the resistance of the evil there, beyond the power of the will of God. The unrighteous judge could not stop the will of God. The mother of Jesus could not harm his good plan. Even more, the widow of Christ's parable in Luke 18 was rewarded for the persistence in the face of the resistance of  this world to the will of God.
In Christ is modeled that incredible confidence and strength of security.

Pray in that place, be in that place with the Father.