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John 17:1–5 ‘I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.’ (vv4–5)

Jesus tells His disciples that life presents problems (John 16:33), and then immediately turns to prayer. Our response to life’s disappointments and troubles is to start praying. Our heart rate may be pumping with anxiety, and our mind filled with catastrophic thoughts, but we are best to pray at such times. This means looking towards heaven as the source of our hope and true future. Jesus’ divinity is still veiled by His humanity yet, knowing His destiny, He asks God to glorify Him, and in doing so to demonstrate the authority of the Trinity. Even as He faces the challenge of Calvary, Jesus prays outward; first for His immediate disciples, then for all those who will subsequently find hope in Christ.

Life too easily directs our attention to spotlight our own troubles. There may be nothing we can do to ease our load, and narrowing our focus to our problem alone will only increase its weight on our shoulders. We are often diminished as a consequence. Prayer is the vehicle which can lift first our eyes, then our hearts, as we gaze into the face of the risen Jesus (no stranger to pain), who carries our suffering whilst easing our burden. This is no quick fix or magic mantra. It is the carefully crafted path along which we’re invited to walk to maintain faith before what appear impossible obstacles. Prayer is indeed a school, with difficult lessons, yet is always the path to deepening faith and friendship with God.

SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Matt. 11:25–30; Luke 22:24–38; Acts 7:54–60; Heb. 9:15–28.

AN ACTION TO TAKE: Are you enrolled in God’s school of prayer? What lessons do you find most difficult?

A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, may my prayers be the crumbs with which You create a meal to nurture and nourish my faith every day. Amen.’

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.