Sermon: “Understanding Prayer” July 24, 2016
Luke 11: 1–13
The scripture is the story in Luke where the disciples asked Jesus about how to pray. Pastor Richard talked mainly about the last part of the reading, the Promises, focusing on the gift of the Holy Spirit.
While we think prayer is a tool for us to talk to God and ask for blessings (and say thank you for blessings already received), you could make an argument that prayer is God’s tool to influence us.
When we ask for something, we are defining in our mind what we think is needed; we focus on the prize and why it is valuable to our lives (or others’). We end up with better understanding of the relative value of the request and what is necessary to obtain it. Sometimes after thinking about our request, we may see that the thing we thought we wanted is really not a good Christian request and we change our minds.
Since we are going to God as supplicants, we acknowledge our inability to control life as God only can. We acknowledge God’s supreme position.
Going to God often keeps us more in tune with our maker. We should always keep God in our mind, knowing that He is all powerful, and all good things come from Him. During the 40 years wandering in the desert, the Israelites received their manna daily; this was not a random choice, but a method of reminding them each day that their well-being was provided by their god. I believe that prayer serves the same purpose.
Finally, thinking about your goal may clarify the steps you should take to facilitate making that goal come to fruition. I believe in the old saying, “God helps those who help themselves.”
Another type of prayer is the Thank-You prayer. If you want to feel better about life, practice listing things to be thankful about. I think it’s good to start a day saying thank you for the day and asking for blessing and guidance.
A valuable third type of prayer is listening, also called meditation. An important factor in meditation is finding peaceful surroundings. This church is so fortunate in that we have on our grounds a lovely little woods in which that has been converted into the Jewish “Tree of Life” by Jimmy Nocon. This is an interconnected series of paths, connected by Guided Meditation spots where you can sit and enjoy/seek peace. Of course, all are welcome!