Three weeks ago, I began a sermon series on prayer. So far, I’ve talked about ways to pray, and the importance of intercessory prayer–praying for others. Today I’m going to finish this series with a consideration of the prayer that Jesus taught us, known to us as the “Lord’s Prayer,” the prayer that we and countless others offer to God at least every Sunday, if not every day.
Each week, during Sunday morning worship, we take time to share our joys, concerns, and prayer requests, confident that we are among friends who will pray for us and for those we are concerned about. But why do we make prayer requests, and what do we hope will happen as a result? Almost always, our requests involve an illness, problem or situation that needs healing, and healing was one of the most important aspects of Jesus’ ministry.
Prayer is an important part of our worship, every week, and our faith has always encouraged us to make prayer a part of our daily lives, but we don’t often talk about how we pray. And so we may wonder if there is a “right” way to pray and if we are doing it. What are we actually supposed to do when we pray?
It is good for us to seek out sacred places, places where God seems quite close, since our world often seems increasingly frenetic and complex.
Life and prosperity or death and adversity? This was the question God set before the People of Israel as they prepared to enter the Promised Land. This is the question God sets before us as we prepare to enter a very uncertain future the entire planet. And it is clear what God hopes our answer will be: Choose life so that you and your descendants may live.
The UCC General Synod resolution names human trafficking as “a crime against humanity and ultimately a sin.” Let us do all that we can to help bring an end to this crime and sin. God has told us, O mortals, what God requires of us: Do justice. Love kindness. Walk humbly with our God.
Do you want to take this call? The costs and joys of accepting God’s call.
What is the truth about where we have been placed, and why? What is going on in our community, our nation, our world, that is contrary to God’s desire for compassion, for justice, for peace— that denies the truth that we are indelibly and unspeakably one— and how are we called to respond? What task has our name on it?
He knew that Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy. Perhaps we, too, can only really know this when we accept the gift of myrrh.
“But, even in that thought, accepted and embraced, there was peace. It was not resignation. It was not submission. It was something more profound and searching.”