Summary: This the first sermon in a series through the Lord’s Prayer based on the question of a disciple in Luke 11:1 Lord teach us to pray. Jesus uses the word "abba" it is a word of tender, personal connection.
In Jesus Holy Name April 15, 2007
Text: Luke 11:1-4 Easter II - Redeemer
“Prayer With A Purpose”
In Luke, Chapter 4 we have a short version of the Lord’s Prayer. A nameless disciple has been watching Jesus for some time. We don’t know exactly how long he has observed Jesus’ life, but we do know that he is impressed by his prayer life. He comes to Jesus and asks a serious question: “Lord, will you teach us how to pray.”
Now the disciples were good Jewish men. They had many, many prayers memorized which they used at least three times a day. Yet this disciple’s question tells us he is a man who wants to grow and he wants to know how to pray with more depth and meaning. Something about the way Jesus prays has caught his attention. Who better to learn from than Jesus, himself.
Right where you are, sit up straight. Put down your notebook, your pencil or anything you have to hold. Make sure your spine is completely straight. Now, relax. Gather yourself in, so to speak. Be completely together in the place where you are. Let any stress or anxiety slide away. Be at peace. Now feel the light of God’s presence shining on you, feel God’s blessing coming upon you. Accept that blessing. Then breathe in deeply and breathe out deeply. Take one or two breaths, feel the rhythm of it. Next, speak to the Lord, inwardly. You might say to God silently, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening. We have already begun to pray.
In Mark 1:35 the scriptures tell us “that in the morning while it was still dark, Jesus got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.” There can be no doubt that he grew up praying the Psalms. The Psalms were the hymn book and prayer book for the synagogue.
The writer to the Hebrews writes: “Jesus offered up prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death and he was heard because of his reverent submission.” We can hardly hear this phrase enough. “Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death.” Why then, when we pray this way, do we feel it as a failure? It is not.
When Jesus begins, “Father, hallowed be your name” it is a reminder that God knows each of us by name. God is not some impersonal power who created the universe and holds it in place and has left humans on earth to fend for themselves. No – A thousand times NO.
“Jesus said one day to his disciples . . . ‘what would you think if I told you God notes every time a wounded sparrow falls to the ground and dies? No matter how low your self esteem, you are of more value than a sparrow.’ So if God notices what is happening to birds, don’t you think He notices what is happening to you? He not only notices, He cares. God knows each of us by name.”
He invites. He wants us to talk with Him. He wants to hear from us. He is a loving Father and so Jesus begins his teaching in prayer with the word Abba, hallowed be your name. Dad, may your name be kept holy in my life. Jesus knows that in baptism we each have been adopted into God’s family. It is proper and right that we can talk to God and know him as a loving, caring Father. As all children address their Father, so we, too, can call him Dad. He wants to be addressed as “Dad” the writer to the Hebrews writes: ”Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy, and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (4:16)
Martin Luther stated: “Prayer is not optional” “The 2nd commandment teaches us to call upon God in every need.” It is not a matter to be left to our choice … for by prayer the name of God is honored.
Prayer – It is our connection with our loving, caring Father. Prayer takes time. Prayer takes words. Your feelings. And when you find no words to speak, no words to sing – Paul writes: When “we do not know what to pray for, the Spirit (of God) Himself intercedes for us with groans that (human) words can not express.” Romans 8:26-27 He searches our hearts … The Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
There are all kinds of prayer. Each daily devotion in the Portals of Prayer has prayers for morning and evening – as well as each day. The hymnal has prayers for each Sunday in the church year. There are hymns which you can sing, which become your prayer.