QUESTION: I am at a time in my life where it is difficult for me to leave my home. When I must go out, I am afraid. Is it wrong for me to invite Jesus to go with me by saying, “Okay, Dear Jesus, it is time to go?”
ANSWER: We need never be timid with prayer. There are many ways to pray. Prayer is talking with God. We may talk with Him in a formal way as we do in worship and the Lord’s Prayer or in a causal way as we might talk to a good friend over a cup of coffee. We may address Him in times of fear as St. Peter did when he began to sink into the sea. He prayed, “Lord, save me!” (Matthew 14:30).
And we may leave the safety of our homes with confidence even when we are afraid. Jesus commanded us to pray and promised to hear our prayer (Matthew 7:7-8, Psalm 50:15). The form of our prayer does not diminish God’s command and promise.
God’s good news is filled with His comforting promises. Through His servant Moses, God told His people, “And the Lord, He is the one who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:8). Before He left this world, Jesus promised His people, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Leave your home with confidence that your loving God is with you to watch over you and to protect you. You go together.
Of course, Satan sets his traps. Our consciences would make us doubt. God’s Word speaks to our doubts. Surely we do not deserve to be God’s children. We do not deserve to be God’s people. We are full of sin, but God gave us His Son as our Savior. The Christmastide epistle states, But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons (Galatians 4:4-5).
Satan would have us doubt. “You don’t deserve to be God’s child,” he whispers. Our faith responds, “Jesus is my Savior.” He earned for us the privilege of being God’s children. He lived the perfect life God demanded of us. He did it as our substitute. We don’t deserve God’s love, but Jesus did. He gives us the credit for what He did. When Satan tells us that we deserve to die, we look to Jesus’ cross, where He died for us. We do not deserve anything from God, but God is gracious. Jesus is our righteousness.
Should it seem that God is not with us, should we continue to be afraid, we remember the story of the Syrophoenician woman who prayed again and again. The Savior seemed to ignore her, to discourage her faith. She would not be deterred. She held Jesus to His promises and heard from Him the blessed words, “‘O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.’ And her daughter was healed from that very hour” (Matthew 15:28).
The Lord is our Shepherd. He goes with us even through the valley of the shadow of death. Thanks be to God.
Reverend Charles Keeler
Resurrection Lutheran Church
Winter Haven, FL