Life Altering Prayer

Jesus Calms a Storm

22 One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they put out, 23 and while they were sailing he fell asleep. A windstorm swept down on the lake, and the boat was filling with water, and they were in danger. 24 They went to him and woke him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he woke up and rebuked the wind and the raging waves; they ceased, and there was a calm. 25 He said to them, “Where is your faith?” They were afraid and amazed, and said to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him?”

The Sea of Galilee

To try to sum up this story in my own words: Jesus and his disciples were on a boat crossing to the other side of the lake. While they were on the boat, Jesus fell asleep. While Jesus was asleep, a strong wind came up and endangered the disciples.They awoke Jesus and he calmed the winds. He then questioned the disciples’ faith. The disciples were astounded and bewildered by Jesus’ power.

When I read this text I have several questions that come to my mind. What did the disciples want Jesus to do when they woke him up? Why does Jesus question their faith? How can the disciples be so afraid of a storm in such a small body of water?

I often try to imagine myself on that boat. What would I have wanted from Jesus when I woke him up? I probably would have wanted his help to man the ship. “Jesus, come on, we’re dying up here!” I wouldn’t have expected him to just end the storm. That would have blown me away too!

But why is this a matter of the disciples’ faith? When they are in the midst of a storm that is endangering them, aren’t they allowed to be afraid? But Jesus asks them, “Where is your faith?”

The sea of Galilee is more of a lake than a sea. It is 8 miles across and about 13 miles long. If you were on a boat in the middle of it, you could see land in every direction (though north and south sides might look a bit distant). It is hard to imagine a storm being so heavy over this lake that it would worry the disciples as much as this storm did.

But maybe that’s the thing: even today we do this regularly. How often do we find ourselves somewhere in the middle of a storm crying out to God to save us? When after the storm calms, we realize that we can actually see the shores and everything is going to be okay? We can’t see above the storm or through the storm enough to know that the shores of safety aren’t actually that far after all. We cry out and “wake God up” in order to come and help, but do we really expect him to stop the storm? God sees through our fear and knows that our faith in him to actually save us wasn’t really there. How often do we find ourselves praying for God’s help, healing, presence, or anything but not actually expecting that it will come? Not actually expecting that he will command the storm to cease? And when it does, we find ourselves astonished and awestruck at his power. “Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him?”

How much more powerful could our pray life be if we fully expected God to answer then and intervene? Isn’t that the nature of prayer after all? We are calling on God to come and intervene in whatever storm is at hand. We ask him to heal the sick, cure the blind, calm the storm. But because sometimes his answer is different than we expect, and our father isn’t cured and the blind don’t receive sight and the storm keeps raging, we think he doesn’t answer. God answers, and maybe we just aren’t looking hard enough because the answer wasn’t what we wanted. Then, after a while, we start praying without the actual hope that God will come. But knowing that God will answer is the power of prayer! How much more intimate could we be with the Lord and how much more would we see answered if we expected an answer and actively sought to be in tune with what the spirit was doing. Maybe then would we be able to see tangible, audible answers to our prayers through things like healings and prophesies!

How life altering could our prayers be if we actually expected God to show up?

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