Matthew 6:9 - (Jesus said) "Pray, then, in this way: 'Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your Name.'"
As believers in Jesus, we have a special privilege and power. What is it? It's the knowledge that prayer -- the awesome privilege of prayer -- prayer still changes things.
Our Gospel reading yesterday came from the lips of Jesus Himself who taught us to pray "Our Father." Why? Because the Father sent the Son by the power of the Spirit to redeem us, to save us. When God is that personal, that concerned, and that willing to sacrifice so that you and I might be saved, well, prayer to Him changes things, even as it changes you and me.
In Jesus, the Father is near to us, He hears us, and He desires our life and salvation. What an incredible truth for life. It means that no matter what the circumstance, you know and trust in the One who is greater than your circumstances, and you are confident that He has your best in mind, no matter what the moment looks or feels like as well.
That's the confidence to rejoice in the Lord, no matter what. In the midst of the wars and rumors of wars, the recessions, the ineptitude of political leaders, the immorality and injustices of our age, especially confident then, Jesus Himself -- no stranger to problems, pain, and suffering Himself -- invites us to offer our prayers and petitions to the God who loves us with an everlasting love.
Go ahead then: offer up your hopes and dreams about what is good in life and the life you are striving to lead, knowing that God has created and redeemed you for a purpose. Offer up your prayers for those you love, for the prayers of the righteous -- they do change things.
I thought about my grandparents this last week, with all the talk over the last 10 years or so of a "new Great Depression." Do you remember that talk? Well, if you had any experience with the real Great Depression, we wouldn't throw that word around so loosely today. No matter what was happening in their lives though, whether it was the struggles of the Great Depression, (and by the way, my grandmother, even as late as the 1960s still mixed powered milk with real milk to make it go further), or whether it was the successes of their later years and the joy of their family reunions and personal travels, they (my grandparents) were always in church worshiping the God who loved them enough to die for their sins on the cross. Nothing was more important to them than Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, Baptism, the Lord's Supper, and His daily resource of forgiveness, life, and salvation. Nothing else! Nothing less than that would do.
That was the resource for their joy; that was the power for their prayers.
So with that mindset, with that confidence, put your faith to work this week in prayer. Whatever is weighing on your mind, pray, don't be anxious. Pray with thanksgiving whether you get a yes, a no, or a wait, God will answer! God will do what is best for you because He loves us like a father should, and pray for the care and concerns of others because they need prayer, too, and you've got that tool in your faith arsenal to serve.
As Christians, we get embarrassed sometimes. Many of us say rightly, when confronted by someone's struggles, or injustice, or tragedy, we say, "I'll pray for you." And the world says, "Oh yeah, that's it?" And we often get embarrassed as if something else is better. Now listen, I'm not saying you shouldn't help a neighbor, or feed someone in need, or give the very clothes off of your back for someone. But please don't make the mistake of thinking that those things are in place of prayer. Commit all these things to God first, and then work mightily to serve your neighbor as God serves you. Watch what that faith communication at work, watch what it will do.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, give me the faith to pray knowing that You are already answering my prayer with all that is best for my life with You, now and forever. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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