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Impudent Prayer!

July 28, 2019

Pentecost 7 (Proper 12)                                                           Trinity Lutheran Church

28 July 2019                                                                                                         Murdock, NE

 

+ Jesu Juva +

 

Luke 11:1-13

Pray. It’s what Christians do. When you fear, love and trust in God above all things, you pray. To the Triune God! Heart believes. Mouth prays. A faith-er depends on the Lord. For everything! A beggar before the Lord a faith-er is. If your old Adam, the devil and the world are preventing you from praying the Lord’s Prayer then now is the time for you to be repented, for your old Adam to die, for you to fight against the devil and the world and for you to believe in God all the more in order to pray to Him. Regularly.

For that purpose Jesus TEACHES you how to pray. Gives you the very words to use in your dependence on the Lord. Luke gives the abbreviated version of the Lord’s Prayer. “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 who is indebted to us.  And lead us not into temptation.”  God’s Name, His kingdom, bread, forgiveness, temptation.  The basics.  The ABCs. And yet the most important. Five things you cannot live without. What He wants to give to you and what He wants you to use properly.  Add God’s will and deliverance from evil and you have the Lord’s Prayer as we know it from Matthew.

So I repeat. Jesus gives the words for prayer because this is what the Father wants you, His Good Friday-ed and Holy Spirit-ed people, to pray for. He wants His name to be holy or hallowed AMONG YOU. He wants to lord His Good Friday kingdom reign of forgiveness and salvation IN YOUR LIFE. He wants YOU to receive daily bread from Him, recognize that it all comes from Him and then to GIVE THANKS for it all. He wants YOU TO FORGIVE as He forgives you for Jesus’ sake. HE WANTS YOU to rely on Him in order to resist the temptations of the world, your sinful flesh and the devil.  And when you pray this way you do it with all certainty. With all confidence. With all boldness. When you pray the Lord’s Prayer or any prayer that flows from God’s Word YOU THROW CAUTION TO THE WIND.

To clinch this point of praying by casting caution to the wind Jesus tells a parable.  It goes like this. Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and boldly demand, “‘Friend, I need three loaves of bread. A buddy mine has arrived at my house and I don’t have a thing in the cupboard?’ And he will answer from within, ‘Don’t bother me; I’ve locked the door for the night, the kids are in bed, and I can’t get up to give you anything.’”

I have wonderful and generous neighbors.  Ross and Judeen Rikli.  For decades the Kuhlmans, have borrowed all kinds of stuff from them. But I have to say, I’ve never tried doing it at midnight!  In fact, I think I’d be a bit hesitant knocking on their door at midnight.  That would take a lot of nerve. Or “impudence” as verse 8 says.  The Greek word translated as “impudence” means: lack of sensitivity to what is proper, carelessness about the good opinion of others, or shamelessness. I don’t believe I’d be that shameless with the Riklis.

But that’s the way Jesus wants you to pray to God the Father. When you pray, as He teaches, show careless disregard to propriety.  Be shameless.  Bold! Daring! Ignore common convention. It is the way Abraham prayed that way for Sodom and Gomorrah. “Suppose ten believers are found there.” Abraham could have gone further. “How about one believer?” That takes a lot of moxie or grit as Americans put it. Jewish people have another word for it. “Chutzpah.”  It takes a lot of chutzpah to pound on your neighbor’s door at midnight and expect him to greet you with a smile and give you three loaves of bread.  It takes a lot of chutzpah to pound on the Lord of the universe’s door no matter what the time of day or night!

Again, this is how the faith-er prays. When you believe in God you trust that He will, for Jesus’ sake, hear your prayer and act accordingly.  It takes a lot of chutzpah to trust that the Lord of lords and King of kings will take the time and energy to listen to your little trifles.  Seriously! Three loaves of bread at midnight? Couldn’t this wait until the morning?

“I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence, [his chutzpah], he will rise and give him whatever he wants.”  Hardly a flattering view of prayer, is it?  God will give you what you want not because He likes you as a friend, but because of the sheer impudence, the chutzpah, of your bold faith in Him that throws all caution to the wind, that wakes Him up at midnight for a measly few loaves of bread.

This is precisely why Jesus promises you, His Good Friday died for redeemed people: Ask, and it will be given to you.  Seek, and you will find.  Knock, and it will be opened to you.  So, come to God with your troubles.  “Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will deliver you.”  That is the basis for the boldness and confidence of faith that comes to God in prayer as “dear children come to their dear Father in heaven.”  It is the childlike boldness of a little child waking a parent up at midnight for some little request that was on her mind that just couldn’t wait for morning.

St. Paul wrote to the Philippians, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Are you anxious?  Then pray.  Pound on God’s door at midnight.  Dare to let your requests be made known to God.  Even when the door is shut and God seems to be in a grumpy mood and not listening, bring your prayers and petitions before Him.  Truthfully, that’s how prayer feels a lot of the time.  It does not feel like some deep, meaningful two-way conversation with someone who is giving you their rapt, undivided attention.  It feels like pounding on a neighbor’s door at midnight with an outrageous request.  Don’t be anxious, Paul says.  Pray.  Pound on God’s door.  There’s a promise:  The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Jesus also says that no father gives his son a snake instead of a fish or a scorpion for an egg.  We give good gifts to our children.  We give them what they need, not always what they want.  God doesn’t promise to give us whatever we ask, or that we will find whatever we seek, or that every door we pound on will be opened.  To be in God’s favor does not mean that God does you favors.  He promises that in this exercise of holy chutzpah called prayer you will find peace and God will bless you with the Holy Spirit.

All prayer goes through the High Priest, through Jesus who is the sole mediator between God and Man.  I’m sure you’ve all experienced that call at midnight.  Maybe not a knock on the door, but a phone call, a text or a snap chat.  And you don’t want to get up to answer it, and you roll over in bed and throw the pillow over your head.  And someone else picks up the phone and comes to you and says, “You have to get this one.  It’s family.”  When we knock on God’s door at midnight, it’s not the Father who comes to the door but the Son.  And Jesus goes to the Father and wakes him up from his midnight slumber and says, “Dad, you have to answer.  It’s one of the family.”

You’re a member of God’s family.  You’re baptized.  You’re permitted to bug and bother God at all hours of the day and night with whatever you want to talk about.  And God will listen.  Not because you’re so likable or your prayers are so eloquent.  But because of the holy chutzpah of faith that dares to cling to Christ even in the face of a closed and locked door at midnight.

Happy praying. Praying for the hallowing of God’s name among you. Praying for His Good Friday kingdom of forgiveness to be given to you and shared with others. Praying to receive daily bread. Praying to resist temptation. With all boldness and confidence. Or chutzpah!

In the Name of Jesus.

 

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