When You Pray


If you are anything like the disciples, prayer isn’t the easiest thing for you. In fact, difficulty with prayer has been the common lot of Christians for the last 2000 years, as it was for God’s Old Testament saints before that. Simply stated, we have difficulty talking to God, for that is what prayer is. We often feel God isn’t listening, or if he is, we don’t understand why he chooses not to answer, or at least not to answer how and when (it seems obvious to us) he should. What purpose is served by such enigmatic behavior by the God who gave his Son to save us? All these issues and more are what Jesus is addressing when he gives us the Lord’s Prayer. He isn’t just giving us a rote prayer or a pattern for prayer, though he is doing both of those – he is addressing all of our difficulties with prayer. On the front end, Jesus sets before us three seminal truths about God which serve as the basis of the everything in the Lord’s Prayer. For that matter, they serve as the basis for everything in the Sermon on the Mount, and indeed for everything in the New Testament. Those three truths are God is King, God is Father, and God is ours. And in the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus doesn’t just tell us these truths, he puts them in our mouths. As we pray them, we also confess them, and as we confess them, we also learn them, and as we do all three, God transforms us and the world. I hope this sermon helps you in your prayers and in your understanding of the Father, to whom Jesus brings us and tells us to pray. So let us turn once again to where Jesus always pointed the disciples when it came to talking to the Father – and that is to this little prayer, less than seventy words long, which the Church has honored with the title, the Lord’s Prayer. I hope you enjoy the sermon. Thanks for listening. –Alan Burrow

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