GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, WHO IS ALWAYS READY TO HEAR AND ANSWER OUR PRAYERS!
TEXT: Luke 11: 1-13
Dearly Beloved By Christ:
I Googled this question: “How much time does a person spend on social media?” Various sites popped up and the answer is: 42.1 minutes on average for Facebook and it goes down from there from Snapchat to others with Linkedin bringing up the rear. In terms of all electronic media including TV it amounts to around 11 hours per day! Quick! Go buy LensCrafters stock! Next I searched out this query: “How time does a person spend praying each day?” The answer is: Christians spend between 3 to 7 minutes per day praying—including meal prayers! Of course, unbelievers don’t pray, so as a percentage of the population, those figures are even lower when compared to social media.
Isn’t that sad? Doesn’t it speak volumes about where we are as a nation? Obviously, people really like talking, or communicating with others about themselves, but when it comes to talking with God they basically don’t care. So, I ask you this question:
IS PRAYER PASSE?
On the top of big Equinox mountain outside of Manchester, VT is a Carthusian monastery. I’ve read that that order of monks take a vow of silence and basically don’t talk much, if at all, with each other. Instead, they talk to God in prayer. That sounds quite noble, especially in view of the figures I just gave you. The old medieval images of men and women on their knees, often with rosaries in their hands, spending hours each day in prayer seems very pious and holy. Is that what we should all shoot to attain?
Scripture says that God “made us in His image.” That means He made us perfect and without sin. It doesn’t mean that God has a nose and eyes exactly like us or that He thinks and feels in exactly the same way that we do. That being said, we’re also told that God “loves,” that God “forgives,” that God can get “angry,” and that God feels “anguish” over our alienation from Him. So, I would submit that many of our feelings and qualities, including the need for inter-person communication, come from God. Recall those references in the Bible to the Trinity talking among themselves about creation and this need to “talk things out” by God becomes apparent. And so, prayer is a natural outgrowth of our creation which makes real our talking things out with God. Prayer is Not Passe! God created us with this need and it’s as vital to our well-being as our heartbeat or drawing a breath.
The disciples asked what seeming was a very simple question one day: “Lord, teach us to pray.” Apparently, John the Baptist had taught his followers some specifics on prayer and now they wanted to learn more, too. And so, Christ then launches in to The Lord’s Prayer, in abbreviated form in this lesson.
If you break it down, you clearly see a few aspects of true prayer which should always be present. One, address it to the only God there is: The Triune God. In this case, it’s the first person of the Trinity, the Father. Two, God is to be praised in prayer. After all, the chief attribute of God is love, or as St. John writes: “God is love.” And who can ever be against honoring pure love? Third, spiritual blessings should predominate, for remember: “A man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” We often forget that our spiritual side, our soul, is far more important to our over-all well-being than our physical state. One is eternal the other is transitory. Fourth, daily bread or physical stuff should also be remembered, but it should not be our chief focus. And five, forgiveness is what makes life bearable, so we need to ask for it and also practice it like God, without conditions. Never forget, God didn’t put conditions upon us for sending us Christ Who won forgiveness for us on the cross. He just did it! That’s pure love. That’s grace.
The sixth point here revolves around: “And lead us not into temptation.” Asking God to keep us from evil is vital for our well-being. It’s akin to the old prayer: “Lord, protect me from myself.” And after that comes a couple of stories to ram the point home.
The first example treats of the persistence of prayer. When talking to God Who is the Maker of heaven and earth—never, never give up! Yes, God hears each of our prayers and sometimes says: “Wait a while” before granting them. But that’s a way of testing and strengthening our faith in Him. The last example is about showing us that God our Creator knows what we really need better than we, His creation, does. He sees the total picture, we don’t. And because He loves us dearly in Christ, He will grant us the best!—Better than we can imagine in our minds or formulate in our prayers.
This all presupposes faith on our part. Christians are really the only group on this planet who have the awesome power to talk directly to God! That’s because we have faith. And true faith is grounded in Jesus Christ. Faith is our modem link to God’s internet. Without it we’re just whistling “Dixie.” Or, in the case of the disciples, the tune might have been: “Judah.”
And so, it is to faith-filled believers that Jesus gives those amazingly comforting words: “Ask and it will be given, seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened to you. For whoever asks, receives; he who seeks, will find; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
When was the last time you were chatting with someone on the internet, or sent an email or a text message asking them for something? Did they respond? Did they follow through? Or, was it met by dead air space? The fact is: people often talk a good game but follow through only if it’s convenient for them, as in: “What’s in it for me?” But God, our God, never does that! If you send in an order, He delivers. He’s better than Fed-Ex because He has instantaneous response time. He’s better than Big Brown in that He never loses a package. And He’s certainly more reliable than the Post Office for obvious reasons! Moreover, God doesn’t charge us anything for our prayers because Christ already paid the bill on the cross! Is Prayer Passe in an age of technology and text messages? I think not. So, He and I challenge you to pray—for more than 3-7 minutes each day! I wonder how many out-of-the-blue blessings will follow? Let’s do it and see! Amen