Emergency 911, Is You Order for Pick Up or Delivery?

Rev. Steven D. Hofmeister
Rev. Steven D. HofmeisterFounder, Senior Pastor, & President
Diakonos Independent Ministries of Maryland

I have been doing a lot of contemplation on prayer lately. I get a lot of my inspiration for my blog articles and Quick Points w/ Pastor Steve episodes from questions asked on social media groups. This one was inspired by the question about “What is the right way to pray?” there was a follow-up question as well, “Why are my prayers not being answered?” I’ve written about unanswered prayers before, but let’s look at it from the perspective of making a phone call.

Prayer is supposed to be organic, but in that organic nature, Jesus taught us a blueprint for prayer. We will come back to the blueprint but let’s look at how prayer is like a phone call. We pick up the phone and dial a number. We do this to communicate, exchange information, or fill a need. The same goes with prayer, but just like making a phone call, one has to consider who they are calling and what is needed.

Many people today have become accustomed to prayer; in the same manner, one would call and order takeout food. We dial and place the order, and that’s that. Then they get discouraged when their order does not show up when they expect it. We have to remember that we did not pay for that ability to dial that phone or take out order; Jesus did.

So knowing this now, let’s look at it from another perspective. Prayer is not a call to order a cheesesteak sub for delivery. Prayer is more like an Emergency 911 call. When you dial 911, you get connected with a trained operator who listens to the need and then sends the most appropriate resources to help. Sometimes, what we think is an emergency does not fit the qualification for an emergent response. We might not like what we hear from the operator and be just as upset, if not more so as not receiving our cheesesteak sub. The difference here in comparison to the takeout order is Jesus is that 911 operator.

Jesus takes those prayers as prioritized by God’s divine plan and brings them before God the Father, and they get dispatched as necessary through the Holy Spirit. Just because we feel the urgent need for God’s help does not mean we always get an urgent response. It’s not that the call didn’t go through, or no one answered; the timing may be off on more significant things to come.

A personal aspect if you will indulge me for a few moments to illustrate this. Several years ago, before the Lord called me back to the ministry, I went through a difficult divorce. I prayed and prayed, wanting to know what I did to deserve all the pain. I made some rough choices at that time and even burned a few bridges in my search to regain myself. I felt abandoned though many came to be a shoulder to lean on. My painfilled pleas of prayer went silently unresponded. As I learned to metaphorically walk again, after getting to the lowest of lows I had ever been, It came to me that I was knocked down to be rebuilt back up. God didn’t send me the ambulance I wanted and cried out to patch my wounds or a fire engine to quench the flames of my heartache and pain. God sent a renovation team to strip me down and rebuild me to be a better asset to humanity and his Kingdom. Yes, it took a few years on the renovation, and the response was not immediate, but the best came from it. I am a stronger person because of it, and I use those experiences to help others.

Now that we have this phone call comparison in mind emphasized by my example let’s look at Jesus’s lesson on how we should pray in Matthew Chapter 6, Verse 9-13.

Here Jesus lays out a blueprint example for prayer. Most of us know this in various translative forms by memory, likely because we may have learned to recite it. It’s not just a prayer; it’s a lesson.

9 Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
10 May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today the food we need,
12 and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
13 And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.

– Matthew 6:9-13 (NLT)

Now that we have read it as a whole let’s break it down

GLORIFY THE LORD

Our Father in heaven, – We dial the number.

may your name be kept holy. We respect you and acknowledge your divine power.

May your Kingdom come soon. – We look forward to Jesus’ return.

May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. – We acknowledge your guiding force on the world and our lives.

THE NEED

Give us today the food we need, – we ask you now for the need we have.

THE FORGIVENESS

12 and forgive us our sins, – we acknowledge our shortcomings and ask for your forgiveness

as we have forgiven those who sin against us. – we acknowledge the shortcomings of others and recognize our need to forgive them now.

13 And don’t let us yield to temptation,

but rescue us from the evil one. – May you always intercede in the things that trip us up and be there to catch us when we fall short of being who you want us to be. (In essence, acknowledge that we are dependent on God in all aspects of our lives.

THE END OF THE CALL:

This particular translation does not have the last line, as shown in the New King James Translation, and I encourage everyone in serious study of God’s word to explore all the translations they can. The addition or deletion does not make one translation better than another. Still, the analysis across multiple translations can expand the understanding and clarify those little questions we develop while interpreting what is said verses what print reads on the page.

For Yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

Matthew 6:13 (NKJV)

For the interest of completeness let’s consider this scripture from the New King James Translation.

For Yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

It really closes on the acknowledgment that everything is God, by God, for the Glory of God and not ourselves. Think of it as the thank you before you hang up. It’s not the only way to do it, but when we think of it this way it helps us remember to be thankful.

Amen. What does amen mean?

Smith’s Bible Dictionary defines it as:

Amen

(truth)

Hebrew word, usually translated “verily”; or at the end of sentences not translated, but meaning “so be it.” In Rev. 3:14 it is used as a name of the Lord “the Amen, the faithful and true witness.” It is used as a word of confirmation, binding a saying, or an oath (Num. 5:22; Deut. 27:15; Neh. 5:13; Ps. 106:48), and as a response or closing of a prayer (Matt. 6:13; Rom. 11:36).

– (Smith’s Bible Dictionary)

Do we always have to close with amen? Well, no. But, after you understand the definition above, it makes a little more sense to do so.

Do all my prayers have to sound like this? No, but it is a framework or blueprint, as I said to format your prayers as Jesus himself instructed.

So quickly recapping, prayer is supposed to be organic and not canned. It is supposed to be personal and not for show, as your further reading in and around these scriptures will show you. We should glorify God when we pray and remember that we can’t ask for anything, especially if we don’t forgive others and ask for forgiveness ourselves. We don’t always get what we ask for when we pray, and this is not because we don’t deserve the attention or the need is not worthy. Sometimes that need goes unresponded because the timing is contrary to a larger plan God has in store for us.

– All images within this post are Public Domain