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Prayer Musings

posted Jul 26, 2019, 1:02 PM by Tricia Sheffield

Grace and peace to you in the name of our friend and Savior Jesus Christ!


Prayer is a gift, and it is always my great joy to pray for you and with you anytime and anywhere. As our lectionary text this Sunday centers around the Lord’s Prayer and Jesus instructing us on how to pray, I thought I would go back and look at some of my thoughts concerning the life and meaning of prayer. I was especially drawn to the following two quotes: 


Prayer is the breath of faith. — Pope Francis


We are not asked to believe in prayer. We are asked to believe in the God to whom we pray. — M. Craig Barnes


I also looked at a sermon on John 17, specifically Jesus’ final words around that last supper table. Those last words? They were a prayer for his disciples. Certainly, Jesus went to be alone and pray quite often, and I’ve always been curious as to what he prayed during those times. In John we get a glimpse. Jesus, knowing he was going back to God, prayed for his beloved followers and for what they would have to endure once he was gone. Jesus, the Son of God, the second person of the Holy Trinity, the Lord of all, who is one with the Creator and the Sustainer of the universe, prayed for his friends. 

 

So often we are the ones who pray to Jesus, petitioning him, thanking him, maybe even pleading with him. But how many of us have considered that Jesus is praying for us? In the Gospel of John, Jesus knows he’s about to die and instead of praying for himself saying, “Please, God, don’t let it be that bad," he prays for his followers, claiming them as his own, and thus as God’s own. And then a bit further, Jesus prays for those who will believe in him through the witness of the disciples. 


When Jesus prayed, he prayed for us. 


The Savior of the world prayed for us. And thanks be to God, the Savior of the world is still praying for us!


This is because Jesus knew that through prayer we are in a place of direct connection and intimacy with God. And we achieve this intimate relationship when we pray and claim the power of the Holy Spirit as given to us through Christ. It is through the power of the Spirit in prayer that we can discern God’s will for our lives; it is by listening to the Spirit that we can live out our call; it is by being still during prayer that we are held in God’s arms, like the beloved children of God we are.


So, beloved one of God, come to church this Sunday at 10:30 AM and join with your church family in learning about Persistent, Insistent Prayer. I’ve asked a few of our members t0 help “write” my sermon by giving them two questions to answer regarding their prayer life. I will be sharing some of their thoughts in my sermon as well as what the Holy Spirit whispered to me this week regarding our Scripture text, Luke 11.1-13. Nancy Coffin will be our featured soloist for our anthem, “The Lord’s Prayer.” If you are not local to Middletown and would like to know what the two questions are, I invite you to email me and I will send them to you. And I certainly do want to hear your answers!


Prayer is the breath of faith. As you will often hear me say, keep breathing.


In gratitude for the joy of being your Pastor and the holy call of loving you,


Pastor Trish

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