“Persistance in Prayer”
We will take a journey in the weeks ahead through the Lord’s Prayer. At every major turn in the Life of Jesus, he is in prayer. The disciples see this and ask him to teach them how to pray.
The normal prayer to God in those days was lengthy. Petitioners were encouraged to curry God’s favor first and then bring forth their requests of God. Jesus teaches them to call God “Abba” or Papa. They are sitting across the table from a loving parent when they address God, not appealing to a Sovereign seated on His throne with lightning, thunder and winged “living creatures” (Rev. 4:1-11).
Throughout his ministry, Jesus proclaimed the nearness of the Kingdom of God. When he was crucified, the veil of the temple was torn in two. That veil could only be opened by the High Priest on the Day of Atonement, one day out of the year. The meaning of the tearing is clear. God comes to us. Thus, as you pray, talk to your Heavenly Father as a young child would talk to a loving parent.
What about answers to prayer? As a pastor over decades, I have seen wonderful answers to prayer: kidneys healed, cancer in retreat, children recover, medical miracles. I have also seen prayers unanswered. Lives ebb away, drug habits continue, cancer returns, infants die. How do you make sense of it if we have such a loving parent to appeal to?
First to say, sometimes as children we do not ask for what is right and wholesome for us. Jesus says in our text: “Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish?” (Luke 11:11). But sometimes children ask for the snakes instead of the fish and God does not answer. I have seen children rolling on the floor of a grocery store demanding a particular candy and their parents deny them. There are adult children asking for one more “loan” to buy the drugs that are killing them, alienating them from the world. Part of purpose of prayer is to listen to what might be right for us.
Second to say, Jesus encourages us to be persistent in prayer, knocking at the door like a neighbor who receives a surprise visitor, late at night and knocks on the doors of the neighborhood looking for bread to feed them. The neighbor responds only to get them to quiet down, so they can return to sleep. Jesus suggests we do not have a grumpy God who would rather not be bothered by our requests, but in the waiting we can also be blessed.
Back on June 27, I wrote about a friend of ours who for 11 years has been knocking at the door of his loving Papa, hoping for a miracle for his paralyzed son. His knuckles are surely calloused by now, but not his heart. Perhaps the greatest miracle of all is to live with unanswered prayer, yet in prayer. He shares his thoughts and prayers daily.
We met him at a remembrance for the son of another friend, Fred. He had prayed often for his son, but in the end the son was unable to calm the demons in his mind. He died by his own hand, alone in a forest in Maine. Yet this father also found solace in prayer. So much so that he opened his heart to young men who come out of prison. He would employ them in his food distribution business, giving them a second chance.
The purpose of prayer is not just to hand off our checklist to God and hope God will fulfill it, but to deepen our connection to God. Jesus urges us to pray not for our kingdom to come, but for the Father’s Kingdom to come and for the Father’s will to be done.
He prays that prayer in Gethsemane with bloody sweat pouring down his face, as he faces his own tortuous death. Tough many were healed at Jesus hand, his own hands would be nailed to a cross. The greatest miracle of all was Jesus connecting to the Abba, he knew loved him and believing that the power of love could overcome hatred, sickness, and death itself.
Prayer: Abba, Father, thank you for hearing us when we pray. The veil is torn in two, we approach you as a loving Parent. May we be open with you about the concerns of our hearts and even more when our hands are callous from knocking at your door may we yet believe in the Power of Your Love for us.
Grace and Peace, Pastor John
We have a good supply of tuna, but can use the Tuna Helper to make a meal. If you know of someone in need of food who cannot make our normal second and fourth Saturday, please give Carol Jensen a call @ (951) 217-2838. Our next pantry day is July 23.
Office – Back to Monday and Tuesday. Next week, July 25 and 26.
The Camp will be using our fellowship hall and narthex for the overflow youth campers – Next Sunday through Friday.
Quilting – If you’d like to aid in quilting, please talk to Eleanor @ 951-623-3496.
Caring Servants – Nelson and Carol are visiting members of our church who have requested it with their loving presence and Christ’s presence in communion. If you know of someone in need of visitation, give the church office or Nelson Hall a call.
Next Council Meeting July 19 @ 1:00 p and August 16.
Next WELCA meeting August 6.
Confirmation Class on vacation for the summer. We will again, August.
MEMBER UPDATES AND PRAYERS
Connie Bunge continues her strong recovery from knee surgery as was with us in church on Sunday.
- Karen Hall’s brother, Ray, is having health issues and is hospitalized and now on Hospice.
- Fred’s sale of the house went through again. So, he hopes to be moving to the Kansas City area on July 25.
- Mike Shea is back at Brookside with weeks of therapy ahead of him.
- Eleanor’s granddaughter, Kira, just 21 has a heart condition she is dealing with on top of her kidney problems.
- Kim Guevara was back from Canada after a month with her mother, Caroline Beaudry. She and Cesar are now in Florida with Kim’s brother, Jim, who has skin cancer.
- Glenda Kirker’s cancer has returned and she is going through chemo.
- Lynda Buschauer is “eating” better with Ensure. She is back at Rose Garden.
Erwin’s family is assisting him.
- Burrel Wooding is suffering from a loss of kidney function and a vein may need to be repaired. Dialysis will begin in a few months.
- Jan Wheeler is having a spinal implant on the 4th of August.
- Geri Witwer is hanging in there — still retaining water but doing better.
- Becky Malinowski has months of cancer treatments remaining.
- Bill Martin awaiting help for his knees and walking.
- Continued Godly journey for Brendan Simms, son of Bonnie Strack.
- Rebecca Shea & Chris are looking for more permanent housing.
SUNDAY WORSHIP @ 10 am. We continue our Pentecost Season journey with Jesus – focusing on the Lord’s Prayer. There will be video or streaming or better yet join us for in person worship.