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Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

July 25, 2010

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Ninth Sunday after Pentecost / Proper 12                                                                                     

25 July 2010                                   

 

Luke 11:1-13

 

“Lord, teach us to pray.”

 

That’s the ticket.  Asking the Lord to teach you how to pray.  He knows.  We don’t.  Especially the self-proclaimed experts on prayer!  They usually don’t have a clue!  I’ve been to dozens of presentations over the years on prayer and HOW TO PRAY by various highbrow pastors in the church and guess what gets left out?  That’s right, the very prayer Jesus gave us!  Imagine going to a funeral, a wedding, a Sunday service and not praying the Lord’s Prayer!  And yet it is now seems to be the norm in most congregations to drop the very prayer Jesus gave us!    

 

“Lord, teach us to pray.”  That is a request straight from the disciples.  They are willing to be taught.  Are you?  Well, are you?  Will you be taught by the Lord Jesus Himself?  You will?  Excellent.

 

He says:  “When you pray, say:  “Father.”  Got to know to whom you’re praying.  That’s really important.  Don’t want to get that wrong.  Need to get that right.  And so Jesus says to pray to your heavenly Father.  He created you.  He redeemed you through His Son’s death on the cross.

 

“So when you pray, say:  Father.”  Not “Mother Earth.”  Not “Allah.”  Not “Vishnu” or “Shiva.”  But “Father.”   That’s His name.  That’s who He is.  Your Father.  You are His blood bought and died for children.  The Father of the Lord Jesus Christ is your Father.  He loves you.  He is the Giver of all good gifts.  All for Christ’s sake whom the Father sends to do His Good Friday.  The salvation job.  Where all your sin is answered for in His crucified, dead body.  Where death and hell got declawed and defanged.  So because of Jesus — you and I dare to pray to His Father as our “Father.” 

 

And then Jesus gives us the very words and pattern for our praying.  He knows what we need to pray for. 

 

So pray for the following:

 

That God’s name may be kept holy among you.  And that’s done when God’s Word is taught in its truth and purity among us.  And when we lead holy lives according to God’s Word.  God’s Word is to inform all our teaching, learning and living.  All that we do is to be God-pleasing – according to His Word – not our selfish desires.

 

Pray also that God’s kingdom would come to you.  I.E. that the reign of the crucified and risen Jesus would extend to you.  In your lives.  And how does Jesus reign in your lives?  When He, through the Holy Spirit, applies and gives to you what He won on the cross for you in His Word and Sacrament.  And that you believe in Jesus.

 

Pray that you receive daily bread.  That includes everything to do with your body and life.  From clothing, shoes and a home to good neighbors, good weather, pious rulers and a faithful spouse.  All that is included in daily bread.  It also includes the Bread of Life Jesus Himself.  He gives His Body with the bread in the Sacrament.  Food for your journey in this wilderness to sustain you head for the Promised Land of heaven.  Receive all your “daily bread” as a gift from the Father and receive it all with thanksgiving.    

 

Pray that your sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake.  No forgiveness outside of Him.  He’s the Savior.  Yours.  You are forgiven only because He died for you.  And then extend that same forgiveness to those who sin against you.  Not just the people you like.  But even the people you don’t.   

 

Pray for protection against temptation.  The biggest temptation is falling away from believing in Jesus.  To believe that you don’t need Him.  The world, your sinful nature, and the devil work 24/7/365 to do all kinds of evil.  Very selfish evil.   

 

Would you ever have thought to pray for such things?  And if so would you have dared to asked for such things?  For God’s Name, His reign, daily bread, forgiveness, and protection from temptation?  The answer is quite simply:  No.  And that’s precisely why we asked:  “Lord, teach us to pray.”   

 

He has taught us to pray.  He gives the very words and the very pattern.  And he expects us to pray with all boldness and confidence too.  We dare to trouble the Father with these words.  We dare to interrupt the Father with these needs.  We use the very words Jesus has given us like bargaining chips if you will. 

 

Like Abraham who dared to haggle God down from fifty to ten.  If only ten righteous people could be found in Sodom … surely the Lord wouldn’t destroy the city.  But why stop at ten?   Why not go all the way to one Abraham?  Would God have gone even that low?  Yes.  After all, for the sake of ONE, the Lord Jesus Christ who graciously dwells in our midst, the entire world continues and is not destroyed. 

 

You are to pray the Lord’s Prayer with boldness and confidence.  Like a man that pounds and pounds at his friend’s door in the middle of the night.  He has guests and his pantry is empty.  And so for just a few loaves of bread he dares to cause a stir – to wake up his sound asleep friend, his spouse, kids, and the entire neighborhood.  That takes guts.  “Because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs,” Jesus says. 

 

Dare you knock at the Father’s door?  Not just at midnight but any time?  Yes, for Jesus sake.  With Jesus you’re in the Father’s good graces.  The Father will never rebuke you for praying the Lord’s Prayer.  So pound away.  Ring the doorbell.  Ask away.  With all boldness and confidence. 

 

That’s precisely why Jesus says:  “Ask and it will be given to you.  Seek and you will find.  Knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who prays the prayer I’ve given them will receive, find, and the door will be opened.”  

 

Earthly fathers take care of their children.  How much more will your heavenly Father take care of you?  So go ahead!  Do it.  Just as the Lord Jesus has taught you.

 

Ask.  Seek.  Knock.  For God’s name to be holy among you.  And then listen to God’s Word and lead your life according to it. 

 

Ask.  Seek.  Knock.  For Christ’s reign to come to you.  And then go to church.  Believe that Jesus died for you. 

 

Ask.  Seek.  Knock.  For daily bread.  And then do what God has given you to do in your daily work and receive all your stuff with thanksgiving. 

 

Ask.  Seek. Knock.  For forgiveness for all your sins for Jesus’ sake and that you then forgive others as you are forgiven.  After all, a good tree bears good fruit.    

 

Ask.  Seek.  Knock.  For protection from the temptation of your sinful nature, the world and the devil.  And then fight diligently against your sinful nature, the world and devil. 

 

Your heavenly Father loves to hear this prayer.  He is very pleased with this prayer and He promises to answer for Jesus’ sake.  That is certain and sure. 

 

In the name of Jesus. Amen.           

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