In prayer, adoration isn’t an abstract thing we do, it is a relationship we are cultivating with Christ.As we follow a path for prayer through ACTS, we begin with Adoration. Let’s just pause right here for a few moments. How many of us truly begin with adoration, praise, honor, worship before we begin sharing from our “prayer list” of needs and wants? Adoration is a matter of the heart. We worship, we adore what has our heart. We worship and adore what we truly love and in most instances this is revealed by what we do with our time and resources.
One of the most beautiful stories from the Gospels that allows us to see this lived, begins in Luke 10. The story opens with Jesus as an invited guest in the home of Martha. Each time I engage with this passage, I am struck by how Martha is the one who invited Jesus in, yet it is Martha who leaves Jesus and becomes distracted by what is “needing to be done.” How often do we miss opportunities to simply be with Jesus in prayer, listening and adoring, because we are distracted by our list of things that “needed” to be prayed for?
Mary is in contrast to Martha. Mary sat at the feet of Jesus listening, worshiping, adoring.
Have you ever noticed how each time we find Mary in the Gospels she is in this same place? At the feet of Jesus. Following Mary through Luke 10, to John 11, to John 12 we witness Mary’s formation and growing relationship with Jesus.
She listens. She grows. She expresses.
She receives. She reflects. She responds.
In John 11, we hear how Mary is growing in her faith and trust of Jesus, “Lord, if you would have been here my brother would not have died.” John 12 continues the journey forward with an intimate, expressive, and costly demonstration of adoration as Mary anoints the very feet of Jesus.
If we have experienced this story before, we were immediately unsettled by the cost of the perfume – a year’s wages! If this is your first time realizing this, just let that settle in – a year’s wages. A year’s wages poured out at the feet of Jesus in love and adoration. Notice the only one on scene who commented on this was Judas and we find out through John’s details that it is only because Judas liked to help himself to the group’s funds for a little extra this and that.
What we usually miss the significance of, is what the people on the scene would have been most unsettled by – the cultural scandal Mary is causing at this moment, as she publicly demonstrates her devotion and love for Jesus. For a woman to be touching a man – an esteemed man the way she is publicly – was simply taboo. The best equivalent to get us in the realm of understanding would be to consider if your spouse or best friend came to your place of employment and began to wash your feet? What would you do? How would you feel? What would your coworkers say? Not perfect equivalent but you feel the uncomfortableness of the scene now, right? Yet, this doesn’t stop Mary from expressing her love and adoration to Christ.
So, that’s Mary, at the feet of Jesus.
Listening. Growing. Loving. Worshipping.
That’s adoration. That’s a beautiful picture of prayer.