Ask, Seek, Knock

Each generation has its favorite TV shows, for some it was Cheers or Friends or The Office or Parks and Rec or some Netflix series. This will date me but back in my day it was MASH. I saw every episode many times. The setting was an army hospital in South Korea during the Korean war. One of the characters was a Catholic priest, Father Mulcahy. He wasn’t a surgeon or a nurse, so whenever he would ask if there was anything he could do to help they would tell him just to pray and he would respond, “Darn, that’s all they ever let me do.” That line betrays an attitude that many people have about prayer. It reminds me again of the quote of Winston Churchill that I have paraphrased. Winston Churchill once said, “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else.” We could also say, “You can always count on Christians to pray – after they’ve tried everything else.” The truth of the matter is, in the spiritual realm prayer is actually the greatest and most powerful thing anyone can ever do. As someone has said, when we work, we work. When we pray, God works and there is no greater power than that. But too often it is thought of the way the MASH script writers thought of it. Where is the power in our world? Where does our help come from? Where do we turn, where do we look? Now days Google is god, the all wise dispenser of wisdom and help. I went to Google on Friday and typed in the healing power of …, and got an astonishing list of places to turn for power for healing and help. The healing powers of tea, herbs, ginger, vinegar, honey, lavender, crystals, essential oils, aroma therapy, feng shui, music, laughter, yoga, nature, the sun, the waters of the Ganges River, baking soda, drums, sand, mushrooms, sugar, cats purrs, and the positive thinking. I scrolled through a dozen pages of the 300 million search results and prayer was mentioned exactly once. Today when we hear the words of Psalm 121:1 “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?” the answer is not “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” We seek wisdom and power and help and healing in knowledge, technology, fashions and fads, in everything in creation, but not from the Creator. What God has created is good and useful, but it was never meant to be primary and replace God and prayer. “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Who is from everlasting to everlasting the same.