Let’s say you are driving up route 1 and the alarm on your watch or phone goes off at 9:38 and you are there with your kid and you think, “I could pray to myself or I could pray out loud? My kid is here so it is a good opportunity to pray with them… but then they would hear me pray out loud and then they would know how embarrassed I am to pray.” You think about it, it turns to 9:39.. but now you are committed to pray and you don’t want to chicken out. You are really wishing you would have read the previous blog (part one), but now you are going to do it, so how should you pray.
Let’s try praying through the next verse:
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (Mat 9:36 NIV)
So, this verse helps us to see both the problems that Jesus sees and the source of the solution. In fact, it gives us a new way to see our problems and a new source for our solutions. Here is how to pray.
They were harassed and helpless: Pray for others who are hurting or are hurting others. Jesus’ sees all of the problems of the all of the people of the world boiled down to a crowd of people who are harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. As you pray, claim yourself and your town, West Chester, Glen Mills, wherever as a crowd and call out to God saying, “we are harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd.” The source of all of the problems of the world comes down to the way the prophet Isaiah described it, “we all, like sheep, have gone astray….” Name it and call on The Good Shepherd to come.
He had compassion on them: Look to Jesus as the source. The healing of our world is found when we and our friends find the love of God in the compassion of Jesus. Ask God to demonstrate his compassion and show His love to your friends, your family, your neighbors, teachers, Wawa associates. Jesus has compassion for you and each person. Ask Him to show it. Ask that he would shepherd your friends and family and community.
On a side note, this is one of those verses where we in faith, take solidarity with those who suffer and at the same time hold onto the God of love who is the end of suffering. I have always appreciated music that can tell the stories of the harassed and at the same time tell the stories of the hopeful. Here is a song by Bruce Springsteen that leans into that tradition.
Just a bonus for today: