A devotion by Rik Danielsen, Leader Care Facilitator
But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” – Luke 10:40
At the beginning of the year I was preaching on the subject of spending time with Jesus and using the story of Jesus visiting in the home of Mary and Martha as my text. We all know the story: Jesus came into their home and sat down to teach. Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha, sat at his feet and listened to his teaching. Martha, on the other hand, chose to busy herself with being the best hostess she could possibly be. Suddenly she realized her sister was not helping at all. She turned to Jesus and asked if he didn’t realize how lazy Mary was being. Then she did something that should be unthinkable to us. She told Jesus, “…tell her to help me.” We all know that Jesus didn’t tell Mary to help her sister. In fact he rebuked Martha for not joining Mary in listening to his teaching.
In the middle of that sermon it occurred to me that too many of us are like Martha, but not in the way this passage is usually taught. Too often we tell God what to do when we pray. “Lord, you need to heal my dear friend.” “Lord, you need to make sure my candidate gets elected, because the world will end if he doesn’t get elected.” “Lord, I need that new job. Please, help me get it.” (We use the word “please” just to sound polite.)
I’m confident God can handle it when we try to tell him what to do, but it’s really not the best way to talk to the King of Kings, is it? How should we pray? We should follow Jesus example of praying for the Father’s will:
“And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.’” (Matthew 26:39, NAS)
We must always submit our prayers to the will of the Father. He can see beyond the moment we find ourselves in and knows what will be best for everyone involved and more than that, he knows what will bring him the most glory throughout the ages.
Jesus’ followers should not tell him which direction to go. We should submit ourselves to his will and submit our prayers to his will, too.