Fluent in the language of prayer

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22. 31f


"Covenant" is a biblical word with connotations of promise and commitment. God "covenants" with Abraham, Moses and David in the Old Testament and issues the 10 Commandments and the Temple Law as his people's appropriate response. Jesus fulfils that law in his blood on the cross and provides for a "new covenant", which is the meaning behind the New Testament, describing how this is achieved and its implication: our loving obedience in return for his setting us free from sin.


But this notion of "freedom through commitment" is alien to contemporary thinking, which (mis)interprets freedom as the "absence of restraint". However, as any addict will tell you, casting off restraint exposes the unwary victim to a yet more pernicious form of slavery - to alcohol, drugs, sex, or whatever... In contrast, breaking through the fluency barrier in language or on a keyboard or a surfboard requires hours of committed learning and practice. Yet, when it comes the freedom that is achieved through being able to speak a language, play gorgeous music, or surf the waves is surely worth it?


Sometimes its not the work involved that renders people nervous of commitment but the fear of failure. And this applies to a discipled devotional life as well. We can have great aspirations but what if we fail to live up to them? Well, at least we shall be in good company! Simon Peter infamously failed to live up to his brave boast of undying loyalty to Jesus. Yet the Lord gave him another chance. This is because God is for us, not against us. It's not as if the Eternal Judge is looking for reasons to condemn us; rather our Gracious Saviour is longing for the opportunity to bless us. Instead of putting it off, why not resolve now: to set aside a time and a place in your life which is reserved for holy communion with God. Build it into the rhythm of your day/ week, so that what is indisputable in its value may become indispensable to your way of life.

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