Friday, December 16, 2011

How did Mary Pray?

In the Christmas Story, Mary shows us how to respond to God.

Annunciation by Carl Heinrich Block

Mary presented herself as a well liked young woman in her village, attractive, smart, wise. She has a great devotion to God. She's a tremendous caregiver and servant. She's gentle and appreciates gentleness in return. She's engaged to a worthy young carpenter.
Then her life changed. The Angel Gabriel came unexpectedly to speak with her.
v28 “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”
Mary was troubled, the Angel reassured her.
v30 “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
Being a virgin, she was most concerned by his words.

v34 “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”

Gabriel gently explained.
v35 “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. The Angel presented her with evidence of this Truth.
v36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible.”
Mary humbled herself before God and consented.

v38 “Behold the maidservant of the Lord!
Let it be to me according to your word.”

And the angel departed from her.
Mary traveled to visit her favored cousin Elizabeth who experienced a miraculous intervention and spoke through the gift of knowledge.
v41 And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, 

Blessed are you among women, and 
blessed is the fruit of your womb!

v43 But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 45 Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”
Mary responded with her own great prophetic word, first humbling herself before God. 
My soul magnifies the Lord, 
v47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. 48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. 49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name.
With supernatural perception, seeing the significance of God's works for her nation, she glorified Him.
v50 And His mercy is on those who fear Him From generation to generation. 51 He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly.
She could see that God in bringing the Messiah exalted the common man, the poor of Israel.
v53 He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty. 54 He has helped His servant Israel, In remembrance of His mercy, 55 As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and to his seed forever” (Luke 1:28-55 NKJV).
Mary spoke with unabashed sincerity, humbling herself and yielding to God. She believed and manifested her faith with obedience. She perceived the significance of this message of the Messiah to her nation, and she spoke wisdom through her heartfelt perception, glorifying God. Should we not follow her example in prayer?

Christmas Blessings to You!
    Bill Hunt

The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make his face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift his countenance upon you,
And give you peace” (Num 6:24-26).

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