X is for Xenial is the latest post in my series Prayer A to Z. The rest of the series can be found here.
Xenial means “A friendly relationship between two parties, in particular, a hospitable host and his/her guests. Since my primary definition of prayer is that it’s a relationship, Xenial seems to be the perfect word to describe Jesus. Let’s look at 3 examples from His life.
A. Xenial with Children
Matthew chapter 19 recounts the time people brought their kids to Jesus for Him to pray over. But His disciples tried to get the parents to back off. (I’m so glad the many times Christ’s closest friends messed up are listed in scripture so I can be reminded that He will be patient with me, too!) Anyway, when His men told the parents to stop, Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me. Don’t stop them, because the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to people who are like these children.” (Matt. 19:14) He put His hands on the kids and prayed for them before He left the area.
He was the Host who allowed the children to stay.
B. Xenial with Crowds
Even in His own grief over the murder of His cousin, Christ was a phenomenal host to thousands. He had just heard of John the Baptist’s death and wanted some time alone. But a crowd was waiting for Him. He felt sorry for them and healed the sick. (Matt. 14:14) When evening came, His men told Him to send the crowds away to feed themselves. (v. 16) But the Host answered “They don’t need to go away. You give them something to eat.” Well, the guys only had 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish.
So Jesus asked for the small amount of food and told the crowd to sit on the grass. Then He thanked God for the food and divided it among His men. They, in turn, distributed it to the people. Everyone ate until they were full. They fed 5,000 men – not counting women and children! And there were 12 baskets of leftovers! That’s one for each disciple — and these weren’t small lunchbox sized baskets. They were more like backpacks.
The Host provided abundantly for guests and friends alike.
C. Xenial with Creation
Most importantly, Christ wants a Xenial relationship with us all.
Jesus Christ, God the Father and the Holy Spirit were all present at Creation. Genesis 1:1 begins, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” The original word for God here is “Elohim” which is a plural – meaning there must be a minimum of three.
So, with Christ at Creation, the entire Earth is His. As Creator, He is Host and has provided the ultimate gift for us: Himself. His death on the cross provides the opportunity for forgiveness and eternal life. What a gift!
Because of His Xenial relationship as our Ultimate Host, we should face our prayer time as a precious opportunity to spend time with Him.
Most Precious Jesus, thank you for wanting this relationship with me. Your gracious gifts and mercy make You the Perfect Host. Help us to never take our time with You for granted. Remind us daily that You are prepared for us. It’s just up to us now.