Sermon Date: January 25, 2017
Sermon By: Pastor Dale Raether
Scripture: Romans 8:26-27
The Christian Faith One Word at a Time – Praying
A sermon preached at New Hope Lutheran Church, West Melbourne, FL on August 14, 2011 by Pastor Dale Raether The Christian Faith One Word at a Time PrayingRomans 8:26-27Children, how many of you know this prayer? Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest and let these gifts to us be blessed? Lots of people pray this before they eat, but do all of you know what the words mean. Come, Lord Jesus Lord, be here with us at our table; be a part of our family. Let these gifts to us be blessed Lord, thank you for this food you have given us. Use it to make us strong and healthy. Its good to know prayers like this, because then we can all pray together. However, sometimes we might pray the words without the words without thinking them. Instead were thinking about the food on our plate, or were thinking about what we want to say about as soon as were done praying. Another prayer a lot of people know is the Lords Prayer. Here too, even as adults, we might speak the words, but were not sure what were really praying for or even what we need. This morning were continuing our sermon series: The Christian Faith One Word at a Time. Todays word is PRAYING. For each petition or part of the Lords Prayer, I will point out how our praying might be weak, and then how the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. We begin: Our Father who art in heaven. God is our Father because He made us, He sent His Son to be our Savior, and through our Baptism, he has adopted us into His family. So, how do we convince God to give us the things for which ask? How bout this? A person in trouble prays, Lord, if you help me this one more time, I promise to really straighten up my life! Or, a person needs money and so he prays, Lord, if you let me win the lottery, Ill help lots of people and give a big gift to the church! This is wrong thinking. God listens to our prayers because He is our Father. So, whenever we pray, Our Father who art in heaven, lets trust that for the sake of His love, for the sake of the merits of Christ, for sake of His promises, He will answer our prayers and it will always be in a way thats for our best. However, what if were so scared or discouraged that were having trouble trusting that our prayers are heard? Heres where the Holy Spirit helps us. We read in our text: The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. When our prayers arent perfect (which they never are), the Holy Spirit prays with us in our behalf and makes our prayers perfect. May this give you confidence to keep praying! We continue with the First Petition, Hallowed be Thy name. Gods name isnt just His titles like Lord, God, Christ, and so on. His name is also everything Hes revealed about Himself in the Bible. Gods name, then, is hallowed or set apart from evil, when the Bible is taught clearly and exactly, and Christians live it in their daily life. Unfortunately thats not always the case. The devil is working hard, so that little, of whats going on in Christian congregations and homes, is Christian. Whenever we see this, what should we do? Pray hallowed be thy name. We especially want to pray this as we start a new school year. Pray that our Academy staff, our Sunday School teachers, and our parents at home will teach Gods word right on the mark and in a way that children can understand. Lets also pray that all of us may be good examples to them, because this is how they learn Gods love and are strengthened to live in love. The Second Petition is Thy kingdom come. Gods kingdom is his ruling over the nations. Its also His ruling in our hearts through His Word. How we all need this more and more! Last weeks Gospel reading was the Parable of the Sower. In that parable Jesus warned that some people hear the word, but they wont believe at least parts of it, because for them everything has to make sense on their terms, instead of on Gods terms. Then gradually they stop hearing Gods Word altogether, because no one in their life is sharing it with them, or maybe something happens so they cant hear it anymore. How sad!Others hear the Word, believe it, and are excited by it. But they dont keep growing in it. Theyll say things like, I heard that all before. Faith that is not fed, fades. As a result, when times get rough instead of turning to God, they may turn against Him. Again, how sad! And then there are those who hear the Word, believe it, and are even growing in it, but they get side-tracked. Pursuing money or letting some sin have its way gets in the way, and so gradually their faith too dies. How can these things be prevented in the hearts of our children and in the hearts of others we know and love? Keep praying for them, Thy Kingdom Come! And now heres how the Holy Spirit help us to we pray that. Through the Word! As we continue in the Word for ourselves, the Spirit renews our joy and confidence in God. Then we will want this for others also, and so we pray for them, and the Holy Spirit will answer our prayers by giving us the right words at the right time, or if not to us, then to someone else for us. The Third Petition is Thy will be done. Many of us need the most help with this one. The devil, the world, and our sinful nature are doing everything they can to keep Gods name from being hallowed or His kingdom from coming. So, we pray, Lord, stop their evil wills! Your will be done! However, what does it take for this to happen? For example materialism is a huge problem in our country, but how is that every going to change if people arent listening to the word? Well, maybe this is why God is allowing such turmoil in our economy. Unfortunately everyone suffers together. So, do we pray that God heal our economy so that no one suffers? Or, do we pray that God take care of us in our suffering? We dont know whats going on in anybodys heart. We dont know what mix of pain and blessings is going to be best for each persons soul. And so, heres how the Holy Spirit helps us. Pray for whatever you think is best. The Spirit will fine tune our prayers according to Gods will, so that through our prayers much is accomplished. So, keep up your prayers for others and for our nation! The Fourth Petition is Give us this day our daily bread. This petition is perhaps the most complicated, because were not always sure whats included in daily bread. For example in New Jersey theres a huge tent city of people who lost their homes and cant find a decent paying job. Is God giving them their daily bread? Yes, but sometimes its not very much or what they have to eat is not their first choice. Similarly, is God giving us our daily bread? Absolutely! However, when we compare ourselves to the tent people, how do we separate needs from wants? Also, when do our wants turn into greed? Heres how the Holy Spirit helps us. Whenever we pray, Give us this day our daily bread, lets pray for contentment, because God is our Father. Next lets pray that God help us be wise managers of all hes given us, because He wants us to support the Gospel; he wants us to pay our taxes; He want us to help those who cant help themselves; and He wants us to take care of our family, which includes recreation, because we need that too. Through the Word the Holy Spirit will help us to keep all our priorities, and He will give us wisdom, so that when we pray for specific things we need or want, we will know that Gods answer and timing is always just right. The Fifth Petition is Forgive us our trespasses as we for those who trespass against us. We dont earn our forgiveness by forgiving others. We forgive BECAUSE we are forgiven. However, sometimes we dont cherish our forgiveness. For example, perhaps were not listening to the Law, as a result we might think were more deserving than others. The Holy Spirit helps us by waking us up and leading us to examine our heart and life, such as when we prepare for the Lords Supper. Next the Spirit reassures us through Word that Sacrament that God remembers our sins no more, and so we may pray that we experience the peace of forgiveness. And finally when we the peace of forgiveness, were ready to pray for forgiveness in behalf of those who have sinned against us. The Sixth Petition is Lead us not into temptation. God doesnt tempt anyone, nor does He allow us to be tempted more than his strength enables us to endure, so that by experience we will grow in faith and in living our faith. We may not always agree with God on how much struggling is good for us. But when were struggling, lets continually pray to God that He increase our love and trust in Him, so that we neither give up on God and give into the sin, nor that we become proud in ourselves and in our own strength, because that wars against our faith too. And this brings us to the last petition of the Lords Prayer is Deliver us from evil. The greatest evil is that we fall from faith. Other evils, such as cancers and accidents and so forth, can either harm us or help us in our faith, depending on whether were continuing in the Word. That said, for all of us there comes a point where weve had and enough and we start thinking, Lord, take me home. However, at the same time we think about the people who need us, and that makes us pray, Lord, let me serve you here longer, and so deliver me from this evil or give me strength. Whichever way we pray, again, be confident that the Holy Spirit will make our prayers just right, and then present them to our Father in heaven. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. This part of the Lords Prayer isnt in the Bible, but in Jesus day believing Jews always ended all their prayers with those words. And so, when they started praying the prayer Jesus taught them, this is how they ended that prayer too. The thoughts here are certainly Scriptural. They remind us that we are His Kingdom, that He is all powerful, and that He must answer our prayers in a way that best for His glory, which is also always the best for us. And now, because the Holy Spirit is helping us, after we have prayed the Lords Prayer, what more is left for us to say, but Amen. Amen!