Sermon 28 July 2019

Last week we looked at doing all things with God. Today we read of the disciples looking to learn how to pray. I think that this is very important. The people of Israel had been worshipping God for over two thousand years and here are these Jewish men wanting to know how to pray. So we should not be surprised that there are those today who do not know how to pray.

When Jesus is asked he gives a rote prayer, the ‘Our Father’. This of course is the prayer of the Christian faith, and is meant to say everything we are meant to say in prayer. But Jesus does not leave it there. He gives them the example of a man who knocks on his neighbours door for food, and keeps going until his neighbour gets up. He doesn’t do it for friendship he does it to stop the man knocking and annoying him.

From this example we are told to continue the prayer till God is annoyed and does what we want.

But that is not all. Jesus then reassures them that if they ask, seek or knock it will be given, just as a parent would give to their child. This is a great promise, but needs to be understood in light of verse 13. If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’” So it would appear that Jesus was only referring to the Holy Spirit.

It may have been clearer in Jesus time, but it appears there are different ways of understanding prayer. It isn’t surprising that there are different ways of praying, and some are based around this reading: the rosary, prosperity gospel, 24/7 prayer rooms.

So how do we pray? For me it comes down to being meaningful. Say the Lords pray meaningfully. When ever we pray, what ever we pray for, do it meaningfully. Look to be heard, and answered.

How does God communicate? Through the Holy Spirit. So if we do not know how to hear the Holy Spirit, we need to ask someone who does. Even better learn to hear.