“What a Friend We Have in Jesus” was my mother’s favorite hymn. We sang it at her funeral:
What a friend we have in Jesus,
all our sins and grief to bear!
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer.”
She believed in the power of prayer. So did Jesus. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up … and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (Mk 1:35). As we continue “Looking to Jesus,” he is our top model for prayer. Sometimes we doubt the reality of prayer. Does God really listen? Look to Jesus again and follow him by continuing to pray.
An obscure but impressive illustration of the power of prayer is found in 1 Chronicles 4:10. After outlining the names of ancestors from Adam to Abraham, the name of Jabez appears like a new act after a boring one: “Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, ‘Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.’ And God granted his request.”
Father, teach us to bring our burdens to you in prayer. Amen.