Simple Prayers

"On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee.  Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.  When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, 'They have no more wine.'"  (John 2:1-3)

As a mother of three sons, Mary's relationship with Jesus intrigues me.  There are not a lot of details of his growing up years.  There's his birth, his dedication, his foray into the temple.  And then there's this simple, yet world-changing story of attending a village wedding with his mom.

I love to imagine him there.  Eating the wedding feast.  Singing the songs of blessing over the couple.  Dancing to the music of celebration.  Toasting the new family's prosperity.

And then, this interruption.  The moment his mother comes to him and quietly whispers her prayer.

Because that's what it was.  A request for him to move, to act, to intervene in the natural unfolding of events with the force of the supernatural.  And I love that what moved Mary's heart to seek out Jesus wasn't to save the life of someone choking on a lamb bone, but rather to save a neighbor family from embarrassment.  She knew that running out of wine would mark the family with shame in front of the entire village, and being sensitive to those who live in shame, she simply caught Jesus' attention and said five words.

That's it.  One simple phrase.  "They have no more wine." 

There wasn't a long drawn out explanation or a detailed description of what she wanted him to do. 

Just a sentence that defined the need and communicated the complete trust she had in him to make any decision that needed to be made.

And I 've come to believe that is the exact way my own prayers work best.  My prayers seem to be the most effective when I refrain from telling Jesus exactly how He should meet my needs or giving Him all the reasons why I have the need in the first place.  They seem to produce the most fruit when I simply catch his attention and whisper the equivalent to, "I have no more wine." 

My simplest statements  are the ones that speak of complete dependence on who He is and my complete trust that His decisions are enough.  It's when I feel the need to explain, to beg, to tally up the words like points on a scoreboard that I find my faith in both His goodness and sovereignty is wavering.

So, again Mary becomes a role model.  An example of presenting the need and trusting that He hears.  But, she also does one more thing.

"'Woman, why do you involve me?' Jesus replied. 'My hour has not yet come.'   His mother said to the servants, 'Do whatever he tells you.'" (John 2:4-5)

She not only brought the need to His attention.  She readied the environment around Him for obedience.

 She prepared the way for Him to move by aligning herself and those she had influence over in agreement with whatever command He might give after her one sentence prayer.  She prayed and she obeyed.  And it made all the difference.

"Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.  Jesus said to the servants, 'Fill the jars with water'; so they filled them to the brim.  Then he told them, 'Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.'  They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine.  He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, 'Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.'"  (John 2:6-10)