Summary: Second sermon in a series on the Lord’s Prayer based on a booklet by Partners in Ministry.
THE THIRD SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
June 5, 2005
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church
The Rev. M. Anthony Seel, Jr.
"A Heart Full of Worship"
A woman was getting a pie ready to put into the oven when the phone rang. It was the school nurse: Her son had come down with a high fever and would she come and take him home? The mother calculated how long it would take to drive to school and back, and how long the pie should bake, and concluded there was enough time. Popping the pie in the oven, she left for school.
When she arrived, her son’s fever was worse and the nurse urged her to take him to the doctor. Seeing her son like that--his face flushed, his body trembling and dripping with perspiration--frayed her, and she drove to the clinic as fast as she dared. She was frayed a bit more waiting for the doctor to emerge from the examining room, which he was doing now, walking toward her with a slip of paper in his hand. “Get him to bed,” he told her, handing her the prescription, “and start him on this right away.” By the time she got the boy home and in bed and headed out again for the shopping mall, she was not only frayed, but frazzled and frantic as well. And she had forgotten about the pie in the oven.
At the mall, she found the pharmacy, got the prescription filled and rushed back to the car, which was locked. Yes, there were her keys, hanging in the ignition switch, locked inside the car. She reached into her pocketbag, found her phone and called home. When her son finally answered, she blurted out, “I’ve locked the keys inside the car!” The boy was barely able to speak. In a hoarse voice he whispered, “Get a wire coat hanger, Mom. You can get in with that.” And then the phone went dead.
She began searching the mall for a wire coat hanger--which turned out not to be easy. Wooden hangers and plastic hangers were there in abundance, but shops didn’t use wire hangers anymore. After combing through a dozen stores, she found one that was behind the times just enough to use wire hangers. Hurrying out of the mall, she allowed herself a smile of relief. As she was about to step off the curb, she halted. She stared at the wire coat hanger. “I don’t know what to do with this!” Then she remembered the pie in the oven.
All the frustrations of the day collapsed on her and she began crying. Then she prayed, “Dear Lord, my boy is sick and he needs this medicine and my pie is in the oven and the keys are locked in the car and, Lord, I don’t know what to do with this coat hanger. Dear Lord, send somebody who does know what do with it, and I really need that person NOW, Lord. Amen.”
She was wiping her eyes when a beat-up old car pulled up to the curb and stopped in front of her. A young man, twentyish-looking, in a T-shirt and ragged jeans, got out. The first thing she noticed about him was the long, stringy hair, and then the beard that hid everything south of his nose. He was coming her way. When he drew near she stepped in front of him and held out the wire coat hanger. “Young man,” she said, “do you know how to get into a locked car with one of these?” He gaped at her for a moment, then plucked the hanger from her hand. “Where’s the car?” She had never seen anything like it--it was simply amazing how easily he got into her car. A quick look at the door and window, a couple of twists of the coat hanger and bam! Just like that, the door was open.
When she saw the door open she threw her arms around him. “Oh,” she said, “the Lord sent you! You’re such a good boy. You must be a Christian,” He stepped back and said, “No ma’am, I’m not a Christian, and I’m not a good boy. I just got out of prison yesterday.” She jumped at him and she hugged him again fiercely. “Praise God!” she cried. “He sent me a professional!”
Do you believe in prayer? The women in our story did.
• According to a 1993 study by the Barna Research group: Most people who pray offer their prayers several times a day (52%). About one out of three people say they pray once a day (37%) when they pray. The remainder say their prayer frequency depends on the day and their circumstances.
• According to a 2001 study by the Barna research group While 96% of those who identify themselves as born again Christians pray in a given week, 72% of Americans who don’t identify themselves as born again report that they have prayed in the past seven days.