We had just left Switzerland
and were driving towards S. Maria Maggiore in Italy. Strangely enough, the roads
seemed to become narrower by the kilometer. In addition they became tortuous,
snaking through the mountains, increasing our nausea.
It wasn't long before the road was no wider than one lane by North American standards. Only one important difference: It was a two-lane road, used not only by cars like ours, but busses and semi trucks as well! And they didn't exactly drive slowly!
Our eyes were popping out of our heads as we wondered aloud if it was even possible to continue on this road. But making a u-turn seemed even more dangerous than going on, so we did what anyone would do when facing such impossible odds: We prayed! And we prayed some more as we slowed to a snail's pace. The cars behind us weren't very happy, but at least we felt safer!
Does prayer work? It sure did. We eventually crossed the border into Switzerland, back to civilization and wider roads, and when we did, we jumped out of the car and kissed the ground.
Well, not really, but we were rejoicing and thanking God for His protection.
No wonder the apostle Paul added prayer as one of the important parts of our spiritual armory: "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." (Eph 6:18 NIV)
Do you think, perhaps, he tried to drive the roads of Italy???
Jesus also encourages us to pray, especially when temptation rears its ugly head and becomes more tortuous than the mountain roads in Northern Italy!
"Pray that you will not fall into temptation." (Luke 22:40-41 NIV)
"And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." (Matt 6:13 NIV)
To Jesus, praying was as automatic as breathing. It was His only way of communication with His Heavenly Father, and boy what a difference He made on our planet!
"After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray." (Matt 14:23 NIV)
What should we do if we don't know how to pray?
We ask God's Spirit for His help! "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will." (Rom 8:26-27 NIV)
If we survived those one lane-width, two-way Italian mountain roads through prayer, we can be assured that we will victoriously overcome these vicious attempts to corruption through prayer as well.
So what are we waiting for? "We don't have a priest (Jesus) who is out of touch with our reality. He's been through weakness and testing, experienced it all - all but the sin. So let's walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help." (Heb 4:15-16 The Message)
"Do we really have to go back through Italy?"
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