Lectionary Readings for Sunday, July 24, 2016
Notes: Revolutionize Your Prayer Life
Today we will be consider Luke 11:1-13 where Jesus responds to his disciples request to learn how to pray.
Prayer: “Prayer is an uprising of the mind to God” St. John Damascene (7th century)
Prayer can include: Praise, Thanksgiving, Meditation on God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Scripture, God’s goodness and faithfulness…, Petition: request and needs
We are helped by the God—Holy Spirt–in our prayer: Romans 8:26-27
Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27 And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
The Holy Spirit prays for and through us. This is important as we consider Luke’s account of the Lord’s Prayer.
Two accounts of Jesus teaching his disciples to pray: Matthew and Luke
Matthew emphasis the important role forgiveness plays in the life of the followers of Jesus.
Forgive us our sins:
In Matthew after teaching on prayer Jesus concludes:
“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matt. 6:14-15
In case there was any confusion, Jesus brings this idea again in Matthew 18:21-35 when He tells a story about unforgiven.
Taking into account all of Scripture we understand that this is not a quid-pro-quoe (a straight up this-for-that) exchange. Jesus’ work on the Cross is complete. He has already won the victory. However, that does not mean that we will work in the victory that He has secured. God does not seem to force grace and mercy upon us. We receive what He has already done. When we do not forgive, we are rejecting receiving God’s grace and forgiveness in our own life.
In Luke, Persistence is emphasized.
It can be helpful to look at the end of a passage to help understand things said earlier in the passage. So we will consider the second part and bring that understanding into the earlier part of the passage.
Let’s start with the story of the friend in need: Luke 11:5-8
5 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; 6 for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’ 7 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.’ 8 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.
Ancient Nearest hospitality custom—even until this day… There were not any 24 hour drivthrough to pick up a little something before you got to your friend’s house. To this day in Iraq, when I was visiting people in their homes they would always provide somethings. If it was tea time, we would have the best tea and sugar in the best cups they had to offer. If it was a meal time, they would always provide the best food they had to offer (the produce as magnificent). Even during Ramadan, they would lay out a spread for us and insist that we partake. They would say, “You are our guests. As such, we off you protection and sustenance.”
(I can picture the man thinking, “alright already…just don’t wake little Joseph…we will all be up all night…)
Notice, he got up to provide what was needed. Perhaps we need to reassess our understanding of “need”.
Luke 11:9-10 “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. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. (Luke 11:9-10)
Prayer’s will be answered. We may not always like the answer.
St. Paul was persistent in prayer: (2 Cor. 12:8-9a)
“Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, 9 but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.”
He was praying
[Jesus was a praying person. Eternal w/ the Father, yet as a man he prayed.]
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.” 2 He said to them, “When you pray, say:
[Consider praying this prayer in different ways. Each week during the Eucharist we pray this prayer. Consider taking time throughout the week to pray it slowly and deliberately. Perhaps pausing at each phrase and meditating on what you are saying. Consider studying each of these areas in Scripture and meditating on Scriptures relating to each phrase throughout the day.]
Father, [Consider taking time to meditate on God as your Father. On fatherhood, on the fatherless and how God may have you demonstrate this to those in need of a Father.]
hallowed be your name. [Honoring the name of God in word and deed.]
Your kingdom come. (Your will be done, on earth as in heaven)
[Not Clinton’s, Trump’s, the American, or British; but YOUR Kingdom. What does that look like?
Matthew 5:3-11 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. [Humble in spirit, humbly dependent on God.]
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. [Meek is not week.]
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. [God’s righteousness and His restorative justice.]
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
This aspect of the Kingdom of Heaven is for us here on earth. We can pray for God’s grace and strength as we live out His kingdom here on earth.
We will continue with the prayer Jesus taught his followers in our next episode.