October 21st, 2001 A.D.
of the Year Lk18/1-8
One might retell this story in terms of
someone seeking a favor from a politician, say a precinct captain or a ward committee
person. Such people sometimes figure that they will lose votes only if they turn down
someone who really wants what they're seeking. If you ignore they're request a couple of
times and they keep coming back, you'd better take care of them or you'll lose their votes
and maybe the votes of their family and friends. So the one seeking the favor becomes ever
more insistent in demands. God, Jesus, suggests doesn't need our vote and loves as no
politician possibly could. Therefore we should keep after God, reminding him all the time
that we need his help. God doesn't need to hear us, but we need to ask for that help.
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(This is a
true story about the power of prayer. No explanation is offered)
Once upon a time an anthropologist, one of Margaret Mead's many husbands, noted that the
natives on his little South Pacific Island prayed fervently over their yam gardens after
they had planted them. Very interesting, he thought. Poor superstitious people. They think
that prayer can actually improve the fruitfulness of their gardens. So he chuckled to
himself about their naivete and credulity. Then he remembered that he was a scientist and
that in principle he ought to attempt some kind of controlled experiment before he
dismissed the natives as ignorant savages. So he decided that he would plant his own yam
gardens in two spots that seemed exactly similar in style and sunlight. He also resolved
to tend each of the gardens with equal care. Then he would pray over one and not the
other. Unfortunately he didn't know any prayers. But he did have a Hebrew bible with him.
He didn't understand Hebrew, but he could pronounce the words from after-school class of
his youth. So he read a couple of passages each day from the bible over one of the
gardens. He later admitted that he probably cultivated the garden over which he did not
pray with more care, because he really did not want the prayer to work. But it did. He had
no idea what to make of the outcome of his experiment and repeated it several times. Each
time prayer worked. What does one make of the story? Maybe that God is a comedian!
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