"When Ye Pray "
June 23, 2009
And it came to pass, that, as He was praying in a certain place, when Jesus ceased, one of His disciples said unto Him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples." And He said unto them, "When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven. . . ." Luke 11:1-2a
A long time ago, the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray.
Jesus did as they asked, setting forth, in a few short words, the most beautiful and comprehensive prayer this world will ever see.
If it weren't for His being all-knowing, even the Lord might be surprised to find out how that prayer was recently used in Florida. Let me explain.
Some time ago, the principal of Pace High School in Santa Rosa County, Florida, asked the school's athletic director to bless the meal at an awards ceremony. It was one of those religious acts that just drives the American Civil Liberties Union nuts.
So the students might be protected from the praying coach, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the school.
And they did more.
Along with the lawsuit, the ACLU warned the school to make sure none of the parents, the faculty, or the students gave any religious message at the upcoming graduation.
For many of the students, that warning pushed the issue too far.
In protest to the heavy-handed threats of the ACLU, 400 graduating seniors of Pace High School got up at their diploma ceremony and recited the Lord's Prayer. I haven't heard how the ACLU felt about that. I'm guessing they didn't like it.
Prayer as protest?
That's probably not what Jesus had in mind when He taught His disciples to pray.
On the other hand, I am proud of those students for not being intimidated; I'm pleased they followed their consciences; I give thanks they stood up for their faith in the face of persecution.
Now, by God's grace and the Holy Spirit's direction, I would urge them, and you, to keep on saying The Lord's Prayer, even when it's not in protest.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, You who lived, suffered, died, and rose for our salvation, have also taught us how to pray. Today we bring before You the young people of our country. Grant they stand up for their faith in the face of persecution. In Your Name, I ask it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries