Sunday, October 07, 2012



Out of all of the disciples or followers of Jesus at the time, Jesus chooses 12 to fill the role of apostles. Before choosing these men, Jesus thoroughly prepares Himself to make these choices. We get a glimpse of this scene in Luke 6:12-16. One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

After praying all night, Jesus chose 12 men out of the group of the many followers. He chose them to fill a certain role-to be apostles. An apostle literally means to be one who is sent. Jesus wanted a few-the 12-to serve as "sent ones" who would go out to spread the Good News of Jesus and the Kingdom. In my opinion, we don't have the "office" of apostle any longer. However, we do have today those who serve as apostles, those who are sent into new areas to introduce Jesus and the Kingdom there.

NOTE what Jesus did before selecting the 12. He prayed all night. Have you ever wondered what praying all night might be like? Do you think Jesus did all of the talking? My first thoughts have always been that I wouldn't be able to last, because my requests would run out. I've done lots of thinking about this and have come to realize through several of my friends that there are two dimensions to prayer. Naturally, there is the asking where you do all of the talking. This is legitimate and encouraged everywhere in the Scripture. This is by far the most common understanding and practice throughout the world.

However, there is a second dimension to praying that is not understood and commonly practiced. This is to listen! That's right, listen. After you have expressed your heart and desires before the Lord, it's important to spend some time quietly before God in order to hear from God. So, God has heard from you and then He wants you to hear Him.

Think of it this way. Suppose you go to your father and ask several questions, then as soon as you have finished expressing your question or questions, you split. "See you later, dad." Now, what's missing here? Well, you are asking questions and not waiting around for the answers. This is precisely what we do with God. We ask and plead and beg and ask some more, but we don't take the time wait for the answers. Then, after praying in this way, we wonder where God is and what He wants from us. You see, He really wants to give you His wisdom and His perspective on the matters you have brought before Him. He would love to give you some answers to your questions.

When I first prepared a message on prayer years ago, I discovered a great saying about prayer that has stuck with me. It is simply, "PRAYER DOESN'T NEED PROOF; IT NEEDS PRACTICE." Now, that says it all. It's so easy to cuss and discuss all we know and all our experiences with prayer. We can do so much that we end up in what is called analysis paralysis. Prayer is the missing link in our lives that without it, we can miss all that God is trying to say to us. If we only ask God for things and don't wait around to hear the answers, it's no wonder we're confused about God. It's no wonder we tend to doubt that He cares. It's no wonder we tend to think that God is too silent in our lives. It's no wonder we wonder if God is really there at all. If all you do is talk, you'll never hear His voice.