The Leaning Tower of Pisa had long been an item on my bucket list. It’s a bit of an engineering marvel, in the “how not to” arena. Perhaps I will have the opportunity to visit it someday to see if for myself. But I suspect that some of you may have beaten me to it and have witnessed the massive white structure in person. I have often wondered if the lean is as pronounced in real life as it appears in pictures.
The seven-story structure took nearly 200 years to build and stands just over 183 feet, which is about 1/3 the height of the Washington Monument and a bit more than half the height of the Statue of Liberty. But the tower is not famous for its height, as you know. The tower is famous because it leans, five degrees in fact. That means the tower is approximately 17 feet off plumb at the top. There are many theories as to how the tower came to lean by so much, but no one disputes that it does indeed tilt by a very noticeable amount.
How does one build something tall like that today without encountering a similar end fate? By measuring repeatedly against something known to be absolutely straight to help ensure the structure remains in alignment, perfectly perpendicular and pointing straight up. While modern day tools have migrated to the electronic realm, the concept is still unchanged for millennia. The tool used to measure vertical alignment is called a plumb line. Perhaps you have used one yourself in a building project.
By using a plumb line and checking it often, builders ensure that their structures stay on plane and in perfect alignment. It’s a continual process of measuring, correcting and measuring again.
That process is somewhat akin to what Jesus described to His followers when they asked Him to teach them how to pray. He gave them a model that if used properly is sure to keep things perfectly lined up vertically. And, His model even has a self-correcting mechanism built into it. If we follow that model, then we are assured of a good outcome. If we stray from that model, then things can get catawampus fast and soon our life starts to look a lot like the famous tower.
In our study this week, we will look at part two of Jesus’ teaching on prayer. Last week we learned what to pray for and this week we’ll look at how to pray. Jesus gives us further guidance and direction, but He also makes some firm promises regarding the outcome of our prayers. Promises that are too often misunderstood and misconstrued by many today. Join us this week for the second half of our study on the model prayer to make sure your view of this familiar passage is all square and perfectly perpendicular with Jesus’ original intent.
If you are unable to join us in person for this study, please feel free to download the Bible study materials for your personal use by following one of these links: PowerPoint Slides, PDF File. For more information about this Bible study series please see Doubtless Living: The Gospel of Luke.