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Prayer, Plain and Simple

By Claudia Mair Burney

Monday, the first week of Advent

“In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you. But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will call him Jesus.” Luke 1:26-21, NRSV

Many Evangelical Christians are fond of saying they’ve accepted Jesus as their personal Savior. The words are often said fearlessly, and sometimes even proudly. How disconnected we can be from Mary’s awe. We can take a few clues from Jesus’ first disciple. She pondered Gabriel’s strange greeting perplexed, before she sat in amazement at his message. It was only then that she believed, even before she became Jesus’ mother. Without her exquisitely reverent hearing, believing, and then acting on God’s directive, Mary would have never conceived Him.

God of amazing grace, Am I really listening to you? And more than listening, am I pondering deeply what You’ve said? I don’t want to lose my reverence and devotion. Help me to know, always, that your indwelling presence is a gift. I did not, and could not earn it. Without Your enabling grace I could never have accepted Christ. Therefore, I must obey you. What good is a gift of such magnitude if I refuse to submit to your will? I pray that You’ll give me both the willingness, and the obedience of Mary, so that I may bear Christ faithfully, rather than abort His inner workings through my doubt and disobedience. “Come, Lord Jesus.”
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