So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding. – 1 Corinthians 14:15
Sitting home tonight watching the 25th anniversary concert of Les Miserables on PBS has my mind working in overdrive. As I have mentioned in the previously posted, “I Dreamed a Dream,” Les Mis is my favorite musical. If you were to ask me which of the songs are my favorite, I would be hard pressed to provide you with a clear cut answer. However, I remember one of the songs as having struck a chord with me when I first began listening to the music.
Les Miserables tells the story of Jean Valjean. At one point late in the story, we find him arriving at a barricade that has been set up by a group of students who have started a revolution against the government. Valjean, however, is not there because of his political views. He has discovered that one of the young men, Marius Pontmercy, and his adopted daughter Cossette have fallen in love. His purpose for joining the rebellion is rather selfish – he is there to protect Marius. This is made evident in the prayer set to music called Bring Him Home.
God on high, hear my prayer. In my need, You have always been there.
He is young. He’s afraid. Let him rest, heaven blessed.
Bring him home. Bring him home. Bring him home.
He’s like the son I might have known, if God had granted me a son.
The summers die one by one. How soon they fly on and on.
And I am old and will be gone…
Bring him peace. Bring him joy. He is young. He is only a boy.
You can take. You can give. Let him be. Let him live.
If I die, let me die, but let him live.
Bring him home. Bring him home.
Bring him home.
If only our prayers were so simple and sounded so beautiful. But the more I think about it, that is exactly what they can and should be. Why do we make such a production out of prayer? I believe that prayer is something to take seriously and that we should give God our best when we come to Him with our petitions, but it doesn’t have to be Shakespeare in order to be effective. The song demonstrates this in a magnificent way. The words are simple. The message is clear – “God, save this man. He loves my daughter and will take good care of her as I enter the twilight of my life.” Valjean doesn’t apologize for what he wants, nor does he tap dance around it. He asks clearly, demonstrating the faith he has in God’s power and strength. He offers thanks God for what He has done for him before, and confidently makes his request of God here and now.
As the story goes on, Marius is in fact wounded in the battle, but Valjean quickly comes to his aid. He carries Marius away from the barricade and back to his home to care for his wounds. Valjean’s heroism saved the boy’s life. God’s love, his Blessing, and His strength enabled Valjean to be the hero he needed to be.
What are you praying for? Who in your life needs to feel the hand of God? How can God use you to deliver that message or to act on His behalf? We learn these things when we seek Him out in prayer – speaking our petitions and listening to His calling. May we find the strength that we need to live every day of our lives immersed in His glory until the day God chooses to bring us home.