Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple


Wheeler-Dealer God iv: Poker with Jesus

posted by Mark Herringshaw

I believe God does bargain, but his terms are high stakes. Most of the time I don’t have courage to stay in the game. I fold my hand before the bidding starts. Here’s another clip from Six Prayers God Always Answers - a dare to play poker with Jesus!

Martin Luther had a quick wit and a quicker tongue, and throughout his life said things he had good reason to later regret. Luther had already received a Master’s degree, when in 1505, at his father’s urging, he enrolled in law school. One day as he walked near the university a lightning bolt struck so near him that in panic he cried out, “Help, St. Anne! I’ll become a monk!” The storm passed. His life was spared.

He regretted his words. Yet, Luther kept his promise. Against his father’s wishes, Luther dropped law school and entered an Augustinian monastery where he applied himself fully to the meritorious systems of Medieval Catholicism.

A monk’s life encompassed bargain after bargain. Luther, like the pre-Christian Saul of Tarsus, excelled in cutting good-works deals with his Creator. He fasted, repented, served the poor, and vigorously studied both ancient and contemporary scholastic theologians. In 1510, Luther even walked 850 miles to Rome, crawling up the steps of St. Peter’s Cathedral to prove he deserved a hearing before God. 

But ten years of such rigor moved him no closer to God. His bargains all felt one-sided. The harder he pressed, the deeper the silence. God eluded him. His prayers were not answered.

Then one day in 1514, Luther was locked away in his study, on the second floor of a tower attached to the seminary where he taught. He was reading Paul’s Letter to the Romans. Suddenly another lightning bolt struck. Though it was only metaphoric, this one didn’t miss.

Luther was working his way through the first chapter when he came to the words, “righteousness that is by faith… ” Suddenly, his whole world tilted 180 degrees.

Negotiations with God were closed. The deal had been sealed 1,500 years earlier when Jesus had exchanged his perfection for our brokenness. In a flash, Luther realized his monkish pandering was all nonsense. To bargain with God was to presume the parties hold currencies of equal value. The reality, Luther realized was that we hold nothing of substance at all.

To offer God compensation for his favors is insulting, like offering to pay the host of an extravagant feast with the change in our pocket. The very currency we offer to pay our debt–obedience, good works, faithfulness–is the very stuff of which heaven is made. Like the rich man with the suitcase of gold bricks, we’re proudly pouring out pieces of asphalt and chunks of cement. And God is just smiling at the pathetic mess we’re making.

We have nothing of worth to offer him. Our currency holds no value in his kingdom. And even if there were a way for us to exchange our currency for his, he is far too generous to ever be fairly compensated. Instead, all we need do is accept the gift as given. But in asking to receive that gift we are in essence exchanging our life–for his Son’s.

What is the currency of heaven?

Life.

Our life is the only cash God will accept.

What are the rules of commerce?

Ask.

Receive.

Get more than you bargained for.

I’m getting in the game. You?



  • Juana

    I’m reminded of the scripture in Isaiah that our righteous acts are noting more than filty rags. Yes, you are right, “we have nothing of worth to offer. . .”

  • Your Name

    I’m ALL IN! Nothing to lose and everything to gain!

  • L.Taylor

    The only thing Christ asks of us, is TOTAL COMMITMENT. Too often we mistake our thinking for his. He made a Commitment to us when he went to the cross. His commitment was to become like us, so that we could become like Him. Look at all the conversations He had in the bible, Everything boils down to you making a commitment to Him. That is the price he asks. It is hard to do, but what else do we have to offer? Our will combined with God’s will. Total obedience. “If you love me, keep my commandments.” How many today are disobeying by keeping the commandments of men instead of God? Repent, turn your thinking from yourself to God. x688hf

  • DeborahJohnson

    I love jesus and what he has done and continues to do for me and everyone around me and i will continue to strive to be one with him.

  • kay smith

    He is the only one who will never forsake us or turn his back on us.

  • Lisa

    Believe in Him…Trust Him..Surrender to Him. He will never let you down!!

  • Lissa Kropfli

    DO U NEED ANY LOAN
    Hello every one please i quickly want to use this medium to shear a testimony on how God directed me to a Legit and real loan lender who have transformed my life from grass to grace, from being poor to a rich woman who can now boast of a healthy and wealthy life without stress or financial difficulties. After so many months of trying to get a loan on the internet and was scammed the sum of $2,700 i became so desperate in getting a loan from a legit loan lender online who will not add to my pains,then i decided to contact a friend of mine who recently got a loan online, we discussed about the issue and to our conclusion she told me about a Woman called Mrs Veronica Phillips who is the CEO ROYAL LOAN INTERNATIONAL So i applied for a loan sum of ($120,000.00) with low interest rate so the loan was approved easily without stress and all the preparations where made concerning the loan transfer and in less than three(3) days the loan was deposited into my bank. Contact her via email: maysusfinancialservices@gmail.com for your loan today.

Previous Posts

Freedom From Boredom, Addiction, Depression
Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31,32 Being faithful to the teachings of Jesus is the key to knowing the truth. That truth is the key to our f

posted 11:22:50am Oct. 21, 2014 | read full post »

A Prayer For Our Kids Today
If you speak good words rather than worthless ones, you will be my spokesman. You must influence them; do not let them influence you! Jeremiah 15:19b We utter hundreds of words a day. How many of them are constructive? Oh that we would be obedient to the countless commands in Scripture to guar

posted 11:20:50am Oct. 20, 2014 | read full post »

My Unruly, Devastating Tongue. I Repent.
If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. James 1:26 We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot choose

posted 11:38:48am Oct. 16, 2014 | read full post »

The Shortest Prayer Can Be the Most Powerful
A friend of mine told me recently the story of a two-word prayer that she prayed that changed her life forever. Moments earlier she had given birth – an emergency C-section – to her firstborn, a son. In the midst of fear and elation, she suddenly realized that she wasn't up for the job. She coul

posted 11:11:14am Oct. 15, 2014 | read full post »

Dwelling on the Good Stuff
...That the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. Philemon 1:6 NKJV The Scriptures admonish us to take inventory of the good things we possess as a result of our salvation through Jesus. If we don't watch ourselves, we

posted 10:19:44am Oct. 14, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.