Tuesday, June 30, 2009

1 Kings 17, 2 Kings 4; Matthew 14, 15

52 Weeks at the Table - Week 26

When a drought caused Elijah's brook to dry up and he had to move on from where ravens fed him, the Lord sent him to the house of a widow in Zarephath and her son. God provided for them through containers of flour and oil that were always, miraculously, full. When the boy died, Elijah's prayer restored his life (1 Kings 17). Similarly, following Elisha's instructions, a prophet's widow and two sons found relief from debt through a vessel of oil that did not cease pouring until there were no more vessels to pour into. And Elisha was hosted in Shunem by a woman whose husband was old - yet Elisha's prophecy of a baby in her arms came true. And when the boy later died, Elisha did as his master had done with the widow's son - and the child revived. Not much later, he fed a hundred with a mere twenty loaves of barley bread (2 Kings 4).

Jesus, known as a prophet during His incarnation, also fed bread to five thousand (Matthew 14) and four thousand (15) and, shortly after healing the illness of a centurion's servant, raised a widow's son to life (Luke 7) as well as His dear friend Lazarus (John 11). In the end, His compassion led to His demise, for there John records: "Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. 'What are we accomplishing?' they asked. 'Here is this man performing many miraculous signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.' " Then, Matthew adds: "So from that day on they plotted to take his life."

Undiminishable Father God, we praise You because Your mercy toward us has no end, pouring forth like the oil and flour that made bread for Elijah, the widow and her son. In our spiritual poverty, You have provided Your Son through Your limitless compassion, to let Him be consumed like bread. Through Him, You give us the strength of His righteousness and we are filled. Bless now this bread we pray in the name of Jesus: Amen.


Holy, Unchanging One, there is perhaps no miracle more powerful than the way the blood of Your Son changes us; transforms us into Your likeness with ever-increasing glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). Through Him, we cross over from death to life (John 5:24). For this incomparable miracle - the ongoing resurrection of our lives from dead pursuits to eternal glory; for this incomparable blood and the cup it fills, we thank in Jesus' name: Amen.

6 comments:

laymond said...

Keith, I believe I have written on another blog just how I feel about you and your mission, and I know you have read those thoughts. They are all positive.
I don't know how to say what I feel I need to say without hurting someones feelings, except to just come out and say it. You write a good lesson, and PUBLIC prayer at the end, are you sure that is the right thing to do?


Mt:6:5: And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

Mt:6:6: But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

sorry, Keith.

Keith Brenton said...

laymond, I've been unable to keep up with our mutually favorite blogs for some time, but I appreciate your kind words wherever and whenever they appeared.

Should I share a prayer in public? Followers of Christ do so in many parts of the world, sometimes more often than on the first day of the week. Jesus led His closest friends in a long prayer at their last Passover before His crucifixion. At their request, He taught them how to pray. Paul shared deep, heartfelt prayers with his brothers and sisters in Christ throughout his epistles. The Revelation to John closes with a prayer of the Spirit and the Bride (the Church) to "come."

I don't suppose I'm any more impressed with folks who heap empty phrases together in their public prayers than you are - or than Jesus is. Nor do I approve of those who pray in public "that they may be seen of men."

I just want to call folks to a deeper, more thoughtful level of prayer - hopefully with their own words. My words are no better than anyone else's.

In fact, I e-mailed some friends today, asking them to pray for someone I care about; someone whose condition in life they understand and can identify with. I think I said in my e-mail, "It's not because I think your words in prayer are any better than anyone else's, but because I think your hearts cry out for someone who hurts this and am convinced that God hears them."

I hope these prayers don't offend you, bro - there are lots of shared prayers in scripture!

laymond said...

Keith, No prayer offends me just wondering what you think about public prayer, and the scripture I quoted, I am touched by your prayers and always give them a hearty amen.

mmlace said...

Laymond, in the verse that you quoted, the problem with the hypocrites is not so much what they are saying, or even where they are saying it...it's their attitude, and the REASON that they are standing on the corner, praying lengthy prayers...to be heard by men.

I think that sharing prayers, in and of itself, can be an INCREDIBLE blessing for us as Christians. I can talk to God alone any time I want, about anything that I want, and He is there to listen.

But being able to go before Him with brothers and sisters is a blessing, as we are able to share our hearts with each other and with Him at the same time.

As Christians sharing public prayers, one of the blessings for me is, like Keith said, to be called to a deeper, more thoughtful level of prayer. He states that his words are no better than anyone else's. This is true...but at the same time, one person can have a prayerful thought that just speaks to someone else...perhaps something they were feeling but didn't quite have the words to express.

There is at least one short little prayer that I've found on here like that...not necessarily from the series now, but from about a year and a half ago...a little, one-liner prayer that Keith put at the end of a post that has stayed with me...cause when I read it, i just thought "Yeah. I understand that. Amen!" It applies in so many situations that I find myself in, and I find myself praying it often.

As far as what was written about sharing prayer requests, Keith, I love what you wrote about someone's heart crying out to our Father for the pain of another. Again, all a part of the blessing of sharing our hearts with each other as well as with God.

At least once or twice I've asked for your prayers...only because as much as I can tell from this blog, you are a man of prayer.

Likewise, I deeply desire to pray for you. Usually, I don't know what to pray for specifically. But please know that on a somewhat regular basis, I lift you and your family up to Him, asking His blessings to fall upon you.

preacherman said...

Keith,
I enjoy and pray your prayers at the end of your posts. Keep it up. I know that they have encourage me and my life in a huge way.

I wish I could hear you pray publicly.

I wish I could hear you speak regularly as well.

I know that you have been a blessing to my life brother. So God bless you in all aspects of your life.

mmlace said...

Kinney, I have been privileged enough to hear our brother Keith pray publicly. I appreciate that opporunity as well, because of the blessing he's been in my own life. After helping me to become more consistent in my own private relationship with our God, it's very meaningful to have him lead me, along with our church family, into our Father's throneroom.

Like you, I still wish that I could hear him speak/teach on a regular basis.