10/25/16 Surprising Prayers

READING: Luke 6-7

As Jesus prepared to select the Twelve apostles to follow Him in a more intimate role, He “spent the night praying to God” before He called them out (Luke 6:12).  This simple phrase about praying through the night tells us much. 

Jesus knew He would place on the shoulders of these men the work of the gospel. They would be His witnesses to the ends of the earth, so He sought the Father’s direction in selecting them. In what might seem surprising choices to us, the Father directed Jesus to men who didn’t always listen, who fought among themselves, who struggled trusting Him, who sometimes failed miserably in their tasks — and who still thought they were the greatest. It seems to me that they were hardly the men that most of us would readily choose if we were picking disciples. 

But, perhaps that’s the point of Jesus’ praying. I suspect that if we were to pick disciples on our own, we would pick followers who (1) are most like us; (2) who are the most enjoyable; and (3) who probably take the least effort. In so doing, though, we might well miss the very people in whom God wants us to invest. In our desire to pick those in whom we already see giftedness, we might walk past those whose gifts God intends to bring out later. Our choice thus becomes a choice by sight more than a choice by faith. 

Intentional, deep, listening prayer, on the other hand, might lead us to surprising people investments. Jesus was hardly surprised by the Twelve, but we likely would have been. I’m really grateful that some brothers in Christ looked past my foolishness and fickleness in my early Christian years to trust that God wanted to use me somehow. Their eyes of faith, I pray, have been affirmed.  


  • Take one evening this week, and ask God to direct you to someone in whom you might invest more.                
  • Take a step of faith based on this prayer. Challenge somebody — even a “surprising” somebody — to walk with Christ.           

PRAYER: “God, open my eyes to someone I might walk beside. Help me to be obedient even if that person is  a surprise to me.”