Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

God is my conscience, Jesus lives in my heart… this blog is about what I see, what I think, what I do and how I serve God

Approximate Notes for the Sunday’s Message; Sunday, July 24, 2016; Luke 11:1-13; Lord’s Prayer

Scriptures for this Sunday are: Luke 11:1-13

You can read these Scriptures here: {NIV2010  and ESV}

 

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Prayer is not only the foundation of the Christian life, it can also be at the heart of many Christian frustrations, misunderstandings, and even pain. Relationships are about shared lives; every life has joy, laughter, hope, celebrations, frustrations, misunderstandings and pain. Relationships are impossible without conversation. While our relationship with God is a special relationship, it is not all that different from the relationships that we build here on earth among each other. Prayer is a mechanism for us to have a conversation with God.

Jesus’ ministry was about relationships; it was about sharing lives, joy, laughter, hope, and celebrations. Jesus’ ministry was also about healing frustrations, misunderstandings and pain.

Two thousand years ago, on a hillside overlooking the Sea of Galilee, Jesus’ followers asked for instructions on how to pray because they understood that prayer is the foundation of relationship with God.

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The Gospel of Luke (finalized around 80 CE, Luke 11:2-4), and the Gospel of Matthew (finalized around 85 CE, Matthew. 6:9-13) give us versions of the prayer that Jesus taught his followers.

Matthew’s version of the recorded prayer became the foundation in the liturgy and daily prayers of Christians worldwide. Most of us learned the modern version of the “Lord’s Prayer” at an early age and recite it throughout our lives in the privacy of our personal conversations with God, as well as in public worship. It is automatic and flows from our minds and tongues with robotic familiarity.

Who among us has not wondered at one time or another about how to pray? Who among us has not wondered how God answers prayers? Who among us has not been frustrated with God because our prayers seemed to go unnoticed and ignored?

So, let’s unpack all that.

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Have you ever noticed that the Lord’s Prayer is written not from “me” but from “us?”

“Our Father … give us this day our daily bread … forgive us our trespasses [or sins/debts] as we forgive those who trespass [or sin] against us [or whose debts we forgive] … lead us not into temptation.”

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I cannot pray the Lord’s Prayer without somehow praying for others. My hope and salvation… our hope and salvation… may be personal, but our faith is communal. Allow me to put it another way: when you and I pray for ourselves, we also involve everyone else and pray for their needs as well. We’re all in this together. I don’t know how it happens, all I know is that it does.

Truth be told, I am always praying for myself; it is easier to pray for myself. It is also easy to pray in general: for the unnamed leaders, or doctors, or situations. By doing that, I become self-absorbed in prayer, asking God to address my problems. More than likely we all do that because it is our human condition. However, as soon as the words “Our Father, who art in heaven…” flow from my heart, I end up turning away from my personal worries and towards something bigger than me. My focus shifts from “me” to “God’s Creation,” my mind expands, and my consciousness becomes aware that I live in a world filled with different opinions, problems, blessings and frustrations. I am asking not just for the sustenance that I need today, but I am also asking for God’s providence for everyone else as well.

The Lord’s Prayer appears in two places in the Bible. In the book of Luke, Jesus was praying, apparently by himself, and when he had finished one of the disciples asked him, “Lord, teach us how to pray the way John taught his disciples,” referring to John the Baptist. Jesus responded, “When you pray, say” and he gave the disciples the familiar words.

But in the book of Matthew, toward the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches the disciples against praying ostentatiously with long empty phrases and lots of words. “… your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then in this way…” and then Jesus gives his followers the Lord’s Prayer.

{Illustration: Parallels between Matthew and Luke}

Matthew 6:9-13

Luke 11:2-4

9b ‘Our Father in heaven,

4b Father

hallowed be your name,

hallowed be your name,

10 your kingdom come,

your kingdom come.

your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us today our daily bread.

3 Give us each day our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts,

4 Forgive us our sins,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.

13 And lead us not into temptation,

And lead us not into temptation.

but deliver us from the evil one.

“When you pray, say” and “Pray then in this way.” Maybe I’m reading into it, but he seems a little exasperated that he has to point all this out to the disciples. Haven’t they been watching? Haven’t they been listening? (Hamlin 8). Do they really need words to pray when they’ve been living with a man whose whole life is a conversation with God?

The prayer that we know as the Lord’s Prayer is an outline on which to hang our different concerns and fears. It is a starting point, a guide that helps us cover all the basics. It is not very long, from a linguistic point of view it is not the great poetry of the psalms or the passionate expressions of Paul, praying for churches he has visited or intends to visit. Jesus gave us just few words. These words are elegant in their simplicity and powerful in their impact. A few words that became the cornerstone, a building block of our relationship with Our Creator. “Our Father … give us this day our daily bread … forgive us our sins…” For all of us together. (Hamlin 11)

 

Works Cited

Hamlin, Rick. “The Truth About the Lord’s Prayer.” 18 03 2013. HuffingtonPost.com. Web Document. 21 07 2016.

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