Seventeenth Ordinary

The Introduction 

Prayer requires courage. Imagine the flutter in Abraham’s heart when he asked God to consider the innocent who would suffer with the guilty in the destruction of evil cities! Who is Abraham to tell God what is just? Yet our every prayer of petition is roughly the same. With hearts fluttering, we ask God to act according to our perception. It’s a bold thing to do.

Jesus seriously encourages his disciples to pray with daring. He tells us to ask for God to reveal divinity to us! That’s a big request. Jesus also teaches us to ask for more immediate and practical concerns like food, forgiveness, and to be spared the tug of sin on our hearts. Jesus says we can ask for anything in prayer, big or small, trusting the One who loves us desires our welfare more than we do. With confidence, then, let us pray.

What are the most common obstacles you face in prayer, and how can you overcome them?

Renew your dedication to prayer. Consider what works for you – meditation, ritual prayer, song, movement – and which environment is most conducive, whether indoors, outdoors, a pew, a favourite chair. Be there for the conversation!

The Scripture (Luke 11: 1 – 4) Jesus’ Teaching on Prayer

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said, “Master, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples”. So he said, “When you pray, say, Father, reveal who you are. Set the world right. Keep us alive with three square meals. Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil”.

The Reflection

Got toddlers? If so, you know they’re as persistent as bulldogs when it comes to grabbing your attention. To be fair, if you have toddlers, you’re busy with a dozen things all the time. You might be distracted the first time you hear, ‘Mum’. You might be trying to have a conversation with another person the second time. You might be handling a hot pan or burping a baby the third and fourth times. But, usually around the fifth, Junior has your attention, even if it really wasn’t something important to begin with.

The Our Father is as familiar to most of us as our mother’s voice. It is one of the first prayers we learn and one we recite regularly. It can be hard to discover something new about a prayer that has become so familiar. But our scripture reading continues with Jesus essentially telling us that, even if God doesn’t want to answer our prayers right away, persisting God will work. It might seem counterintuitive, but a quick check with your local toddler will tell you it’s valuable advice.

Lord, teach us to pray. Praying well is less about the words we use and more about the disposition of our hearts toward God. Do I know God as a loving parent? Do I turn to God in prayer with an expectant heart, confident that God will hear me and respond?

The Commissioning

We pray for your presence, God,
when others are not there for us.
We pray for your assurance, God,
when our confidence fails us.
We pray for your Realm, God,
when political leaders keep it at a distance.
We pray for peace, God,
when bitterness and conflict are the order of the day.
We pray for your Spirit, God,
when the gods of this world lead us astray.

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