Luke 1:38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. (ESV)
I heard a catchy saying on the radio, “Pray and believe, and you will receive. Pray in doubt, and you will do without.” That little phrase caught my attention because it reminded me of a recent Bible study shared in our ladies’ ministry. The reference scripture is from Luke 1:28-38, but the focus verse is verse 38. And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Let’s reflect a little bit on this very well known story. The virgin Mary who was highly favored in the eyes of God was given the distinguished honor of birthing the Messiah. What a wonderful privilege this was, but it probably didn’t seem like such a wonderful thing at the time. If we put ourselves in Mary’s sandals, we would realize that a woman who became pregnant before marriage wasn’t just a no-no during these days. No, my friends, it was heresy. It was actually punishable by death. In today’s time, the occurrence is so frequent that no one even seems to bat an eye, but in Mary’s day, this was a crime. The young virgin is engaged to marry Joseph, and all of a sudden, the angel of Lord appears to her and tells her that she has been chosen to be the earthly mom of the Savior of the world! Whoa! That was a huge announcement. There was so much to consider. People would find out she was pregnant before marriage. Her betrothed could have her stoned to death. It could turn out to be a really big mess for Mary. But no…how did Mary respond? “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”
Let it be to me according to your word! I’ve read this scripture a hundred times, but for the first time last week, I read it in a whole new perspective. I love this verse, and I so want it to be my mantra. Let it be to me according to your word! Mary had a whole lot of faith. This was very apparent in her attitude of acceptance of the Lord’s will over her life. She fully believed in God, and she trusted His plan. She didn’t refuse the task that was expected of her. She didn’t argue. She said let it be to me according to your word. This is where our prayer life should start. We should ask God to let it be to us according to His word.
How many times in life do we respond this way to God? When God places something on our hearts, His desire for us, is our first thought, let it be Lord? Let your will be done in my life Lord. Mary is an excellent example of a humble servant of God. We could learn a lot from that young woman. Mary was willing to be the servant of the most High, and she was given the honor of birthing the Messiah, our Savior, Immanuel, God with us. What an amazing gift God gave Mary!
Mary knew scripture, and she had a strong belief in God. She had strong faith and trust well before the angel of the Lord visited her. I have to wonder how I would have responded in this situation. I know it would not have been handle with such grace. Although, I have learned from Mary’s example, and as I have matured in my faith I have learned to have a strong faith in God, and I trust Him completely with my life. Oh, I still try to manage things on my own every now and then, but it never takes me long to realize that I can not do anything in my own power. I have to keep my trust in God.
Now, back to the catchy phrase that I shared earlier. “Pray and believe, and you will receive. Pray in doubt, and you will do without.” I shared the story of Mary to help make my point. Mary trusted completely in God. She had a relationship with the heavenly Father. She was willing to do what He asked because she trusted Him. We too must have a relationship with the Father. We can’t keep God on a back burner. We can’t think of Him as our genie in a bottle. He doesn’t only want to hear from us when we are in a bind or when we have had a bad day. No, my friends, He wants a relationship. And when we develop a trusting, loving relationship with our Father, when we get to know Him, we gradually realize that we can trust Him with everything. We can trust Him with the good, the bad, and the ugly. And more importantly, we can go to Him in prayer and expect that He will answer. When is the last time that you went to the Lord in prayer and expected Him to answer?
And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. (I John 5:14-15) Scripture reveals that if we ask anything of God and it is according to His will, He will hear us, and if we know He hears us, we know that He will answer. We only have to believe to receive. We must ask according to the will of God, and then we only have to believe that He will answer. If we doubt God’s ability, if we doubt that He is listening, well then, we will likely do without. We must trust Him completely.
It is my heart’s desire to be more like Mary. I want to repeatedly say and mean with all that I am, “Let it be to me according to your word.” And I want my prayers and petitions to God to always be in His will, not mine. I want to mature into the woman that He desires for me to be. There is so much wisdom to be obtained from the holy Word of God. I still have so much to learn, and I am ever so grateful that I serve such a patient, loving God. I will continue to pray and believe that God will continue to grow me to be a woman that lives those words. Let it be to me according to your word, Lord. And let my prayers be in the will of God. Your will God, not mine…