A NOTE FROM PASTOR CHARLIE For these devotions from September 5 to September 18, I will be sharing devotions I wrote a couple of years ago for a previous blog. These will not be following the readings for the coming Sunday, but will still offer an opportunity for Bible readings and reflection.
We will be back to the assigned readings for worship once again starting September 19.
7 “When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9 “Pray then in this way:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.
14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; 15 but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
I shared this story a few months ago in my sermon –
A 3-year-old boy who went to the grocery store with his mother. Before they entered she had certain instructions for the little tike: "Now you’re not going to get any chocolate chip cookies, so don’t even ask."
She put him in the child's seat and off they went up and down the aisles. He was doing just fine until they came to the cookie section. Seeing the chocolate chip cookies he said, “Mom, can I have some chocolate chip cookies?”
She said, “I told you not even to ask. You’re not going to get any at all.”
They continued down the aisles, but in their search for certain items she had to back track and they ended up in the cookie aisle again. “Mom, can I please have some chocolate chip cookies?” She said, “I told you that you can’t have any. Now sit down and be quiet.”
Finally, they arrived at the checkout. The little boy sensed that the end was in sight, that this might be his last chance. He stood up on the seat and shouted in his loudest voice, “In the name of Jesus, may I have some chocolate chip cookies?” Everyone in the checkout lanes laughed and applauded. Do you think the little boy got his cookies? You bet! The other shoppers moved by his daring pooled their resources. The little boy and his mother left with 23 boxes of chocolate chip cookies.
(Brett Blair, Sermons.com. Story from Paul Harvey Commentary and News.)
Is this how we see prayer? Keep asking for what we want until we get it?
Jesus is asked by his disciples to teach them how to pray. He offers them the words found in today’s lesson. It is a complete prayer that is filled with acclamation, confession, thanksgiving and supplication. It is a great tool that we shouldn’t take for granted.
Notice that when Jesus is asked, he responds with a prayer. Not a lesson on prayer, or how to hold your hands, what you should contemplate, or when to even when or where to pray. No. Jesus says, when you pray, say this.
And I would say that as Jesus teaches us, our relationship with God is personal, but not private. That is evident in the very first words – when you pray, say “OUR…”
I came across the following in my daily devotions a few months ago – it is called “A few thoughts on the Lord’s Prayer.” (the author is unknown)
I cannot pray "OUR", if my faith has no room for others and their need.
I cannot pray "WHO ART IN HEAVEN", if all my interests and pursuits are in earthly things.
I cannot pray "HALLOWED BE THY NAME", if I am not striving, with God's help, to be holy.
I cannot pray "THY KINGDOM COME", if I am unwilling or resentful of having it in my life.
I cannot pray "ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN", unless I am truly ready to give myself to God's service here and now.
I cannot pray "GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD", without expending honest effort for it, or if I would withhold from my neighbor the bread that I receive.
I cannot pray "FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESPASS AGAINST US", if I continue to harbor a grudge against anyone.
I cannot pray "LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION", if I deliberately choose to remain in a situation where I am likely to be tempted.
I cannot pray "DELIVER US FROM EVIL", if I am not prepared to fight evil with my life and my prayer.
I cannot pray "THINE IS THE KINGDOM", if I am unwilling to obey God.
I cannot pray "THINE IS THE POWER AND THE GLORY", if I am seeking power for myself and my own glory first.
I cannot pray "FOR EVER AND EVER", if I am too anxious about each day's affairs.
I cannot pray "AMEN", unless I honestly say ..."Cost what it may, this is my prayer".
The Lord’s Prayer - you can’t go wrong with this.
Let us pray: Our Father…