Teach us to pray Part 4/4 Unheard and unseen. When God's answers seem to go unheard.
Updated: Jun 13
My dear friends, dear women of God,
I am just speculating about why you called this article. But it won't contain what you might think: the answers to your questions about why God didn't make sure....
No. Not this time, because it's not what's on my heart, and it's not what's really at issue-because God answers more than clearly, and it's we who mostly prefer not to want to hear His answers because they don't fit into our desires, ideas, concepts, little house god images.
The one who is most unheard and unseen - in all the requests, proclamations, declarations, in all the self-centered desires and the eternal rotation around oneself - is Jesus himself.
Often in the last months I have the image of Jesus sitting on the side of the road, on an inconspicuous rock, while everyone is running past him in his name.
Actually, the Gospel is such a simple thing that even uneducated, simple people can understand it, and Jesus' will for our lives has been more than clearly stated.
"Let me find you, accept my lordship over you, let the Holy Spirit fill you, and then ...go to those who are lost". Give them your time ( lay hands on them), talk to them, dwell with them, bring my grace. Feed those who have nothing to eat, clothe those who sit in rags before you, do not gather earthly treasures, hew out so that your treasure may be great in heaven. Tell them about me, tell them that I am the good shepherd who lays down his life for each and every sheep."
But-it is obviously not enough. Jesus is not enough.
It is not enough that he has given us his grace. It is not enough to believe that he was God on earth, that he spoke about setting captives free, about ending injustice, about respecting others more than oneself. It's not enough that he said we should be merciful, and that we shouldn't make such a fuss about people with money and fame and whatever.
It's not enough that he multiplied fish and bread instead of serving caviar and champagne, that he walked through the dust of Galilee instead of waiting in an air-conditioned five-star hotel for his followers, it's not enough that he made time for those no one wanted.
It is not enough that he said that the commandment to love one's neighbor applies to all, and that the one who truly loves is the one who is willing to throw his life, his time, his resources into the ring for his neighbor.
It is not enough that he said, "Clothe the naked, place yourselves protectively before the weak, bring dignity to lost places." It's not enough that he talked about loving one another and please let the other person deal with their own quirks because the beam in their own eye is big enough.
It is not enough that he said that he finds hypocrisy and pious show running terrible. And it is not enough that he resented that the one who blocks the way to the kingdom of heaven for any of the common people had better drown with a millstone around his neck.
It's not enough that he said we should follow his example, and that he wants us to care, to serve, to wash feet.
It's not enough that he said that he is the one who saves us because we can't do justice on our own-no: all of that is apparently not enough.
Jesus, his whole being, his wishes, his heart- obviously- He is not enough for the majority of His fans.
When I spend a day on Facebook, I am stunned in the evening.
Jesus- the filthy rich best-selling author in the Oxford leather chair, however a carpenter got in there.
"Do this study, and then follow the 5-step plan, and then realize yourself best this way!".
"If you are as you are, you are not saved! For that, you still have to...(Become holier, become more reflective, become healthier, become bigger, become more like I want you to be!")
Meanwhile, there are thousands out there who would be converted if the church would just live Jesus. If they knew that they should not be pressed into a uniform religion, but that they should continue to live exactly what they have already started:
Helping each other. To hold each other. Sharing with each other. To give and to be there. Not to run after money, but after hearts. Like knights without a king, they run through the world because the one they are presented as Jesus is completely different from the one many of them worship - if it weren't for the ground staff.
I am often sad these days.
There are supposed Christian leaders with millions of dollars in their accounts. Highly respected, celebrated, honored. What do they do with that money?
In the slums the children starve, unintentionally pregnant women cannot raise their child, sick people have no health insurance.
In emerging and third world countries people are starving.
Well-tempered private jets and latte macchiato with foamy tops.
I believe that Jesus is exposing a lot at the moment: embezzlement, abuse of office, abuse of power. I believe that at this time he is bringing much to our attention.
I believe it is Jesus of Nazareth also, thirsty and wearing a dusty robe, sitting on a boulder, almost unnoticed.
I believe much more that he is overlooked and overrun by the shouts of those who cry out, "Here he is!" " There is the Christ!" And above all, "I am a Christ myself!"
Is that all I have to offer today?
I don't want to let you go like that.
Doesn't Jesus hear your prayers?
Yes, he hears them all.
And he also answers.
But we, we often think that Jesus is a service hotline that calls back within 24 hours.
Sometimes he does- but sometimes- you ask for something, and then things happen in your life that you don't understand, and you don't even connect with your request anymore:
When you ask for and for your spouse, expect God to confront you in the time to come: with misconceptions, with old relationship patterns, with your fear of being loved, with your irresponsibility, with your inability to be close, with your fear of commitment. He will prepare you.
When you ask to finally come into your vocation, expect him to run with you, to give you absurd instructions, to confront you with everything that could bring you down later, to teach you perseverance and trust in him.
When you ask for knowledge of Bible passages, count on things happening in your life that explain them to you, that you find allegories until you understand what you have read.
If you ask to serve him, expect that he will challenge you to do so, and also expect that you will learn to be selfless.
And that's why the best advice I can give you in closing is:
Keep a prayer journal. Write down, specifically, what you asked for and when.
And then observe what God leads you into.
You will be overwhelmed by how reliably God answers you. Even when you yourself have long forgotten your question.
You are seen, sheep. And you hear his voice.
Now Jesus leads me to green meadows and to quiet waters - Zion's Daughter goes on summer break, and will be there for you again from 21.08.2023.
Until then - be blessed. And if you have the feeling that you are staring irritated at a lonely boulder at the roadside, while the rest is running with shouting and noise in another direction- then remember:
It's a narrow path. Not a...wide one on which many walk.
Until then, stay healthy!
Pray without ceasing!
And..enjoy the summer in gratitude.
With love, see you !!
Sibylle/Daughter of Zion