Mary was in a delicate position. She was at a wedding, and they had run out of wine. This would be a huge embarrassment for the bride and groom. Wedding celebrations in those times ran for days, and running out of wine early meant the party would have to be cut short. Mary knew her Son could help. As His mother, she could have pulled the “parent” card and told Him what to do. But this wasn’t your typical mother/son relationship. Her Son was God, and she knew her place. The way she handled the situation was diplomatic and wise, and it can teach us a thing or two about prayer.
The well-known story of Jesus changing water into wine in John 2:1-11 isn’t a text on prayer, per se. But Mary is talking to Jesus, and when we pray we talk to Jesus too. So let’s take a lesson from the woman who knew Jesus as well as anyone can.
1. Don’t tell God how to answer your prayers. When Mary goes to Jesus to tell Him about the situation, all she does is present the problem to Him. “They have no wine” (v 2). That’s it. She doesn’t ask Him to do anything. She doesn’t suggest a way for Him to remedy it. She doesn’t give her own opinion at all. All she does is present the problem to the Son of God.
2. Don’t get discouraged if He doesn’t answer right away. At first Jesus seems to mildly rebuke her. “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come” (v 4). Mary is undeterred. She doesn’t argue with Him or plead her cause. She doesn’t get mad or impatient. In fact, the Bible doesn’t record that she even responds to Jesus’ statement directly.
3. Don’t second-guess His answer. After Jesus’ somewhat ambiguous response, Mary tells the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.” She’s presented the problem, and she trusts that Jesus will do what needs to be done. She doesn’t know how He’ll fix the problem, but she knows He will.
So what about you, dear child of God? What problems do you face in your life right now? Have you been trying to “help” God solve them? Have you taken matters into your own hands, rather than waiting on God’s timing? Do you pour out your troubles to God but try to tell Him how He should fix them? I’ve certainly done so before. I think I know the perfect solution, and I tell God what He needs to do. But that’s not acting in faith. Simply present your problem to God, wait patiently for Him to act, and trust that His answer will be just right.
In fact, you may even witness a miracle.