To give you a sense of how things have changed since Mom and I were teenagers, here’s a part of the lyrics to a hit song by Anne Murray. All the Top 10 radio stations played it, and other artists such as Loretta Lynn, Joan Baez, and Elvis Presley put out their song versions. You can hear the song here on YouTube (https://youtu.be/SY-2XHqKGuw) or just read the chorus and one of the verses.
Put Your Hand In The Hand (1970)
Put your hand in the hand of the man who stilled the water;
Put your hand in the hand of the man who calmed the sea.
Take a look at yourself and you can look at others differently,
By putting your hand in the hand of the man from Galilee.
Every Time I look into the holy book I wanna tremble
When I read about the part where the carpenter cleared the temple
For the buyers and the sellers were no different fellers than what I profess to be,
And it causes me shame to know I’m not the gal that I should be.
Things sure have changed since then. One of the most significant shifts in Western culture is the shift away from focusing on personal character (e.g., a handshake was as valid as a contract) and daily seeking Jesus, so let’s go back, way back. Let’s go back before Elvis, before the dominance of Western culture, all the way back to one of the earliest Christian handbooks, circa 60 AD, – the Didache (it is not to be considered equal to Scripture). Here’s what it says in passages 8.2 and 8.3:
8.2 – And do not pray like the hypocrites, but rather as the Lord commanded in the gospel: Our Father in heaven, holy be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us enough bread day-by-day. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.
8:3 Pray this three times each day.
When these Christians prayed, they stood with outstretched arms, palms turned upward, and their heads lifted towards heaven. I think these Didache-era Christians knew their physical posture was prophetic. As a Christian, I know that there’s more going on in this world than what I see. Christianity is supernatural for Christians are born of the spirit. In Jesus, we are beyond the natural.
Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’John 3:5-7
So, when I pray, as the early Christians prayed, I am confident that I’m reaching out to other Christians worldwide. I know this because “The Lord’s Prayer” says “us.” I can’t speak the words of Jesus and be alone. As I pray, I am holding your hands and hands of Christians in Peru, Russia, and Ghana; all around the world, together we speak the words Jesus said, honoring God the Father, in the presence of Jesus (Matthew 18:20), spiritually bonded by the Holy Spirit. It is a prayer from, with, and to the Triune God (i.e., Father, Son, Holy Spirit). It is miraculous, and it is real.
Spiritually connecting with Christians around the world is meaningful. I’m alive with His very words, in me, through me, and with others, as we commune with the Father. We quickly see this value within communal singing, prayers, and liturgy. I’ve discovered that while I’m praying, God often speaks the name of a person to me for which I need to pray. It’s His will, so I have confidence that He will answer. It is a ministry in the Body of Christ.
Sometimes we pray in solitude, perhaps in a closet (Matthew 6:5-6). However, other times are available to us when we can join the 2.3 billion Christians on earth and pray together.
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