Sunday, July 24, 2016

Teach Us to Pray

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples." He said to them, "When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.
And do not bring us to the time of trial."
And he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, `Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.' And he answers from within, `Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.' I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.
"So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" Luke 11:1-13

In the last few days, I have had a hard time praying. It isn't that I haven't tried, and it isn't that I don't desire to talk to God. The pain and barriers are not in my relationship with Christ but rather with those who profess to be Christian and scorn the needs and realities of others. They have closed the doors on friend and family. And my heart is breaking. I keep asking for what I can do and meanwhile wait in silence for direction.

The disciples asked Jesus for help in their prayers and he gave them an immediate answer, an immediate model, a prayer will still all pray. He then invites them to understand that this prayer is just a beginning to understanding our relationship with God. We are invited to know God as one who is more generous than we can imagine, more abundant than we have witnessed, and more respond than we are to ask. Our prayers might often seem unanswered, but indeed God is willing and able to bring about unseen answers and abundant miracles.

Today I ask God to help me continue to listen for answers and direction. May we never give up our hope in the possibilities that God has before us and never loose hope in answered prayer.

O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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