St Bride's: Sermons

The Lord's Prayer

Luke 11:1-1

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11 And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.

And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.

Give us day by day our daily bread.

And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;

For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?

And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.

I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.

And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?

12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?

13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

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In the Gospel today we have St Luke setting the greatest of all prayers in the context of Jesus' own praying.

The disciples seeing that realised how much prayer meant to Him and wished to learn the secret for themselves.

The version of what we know as the Lord's Prayer, is shorter here in Luke than the one related in Mathew - but despite that, nothing of importance is left out.

Worthy of note is the title "Father"  for God. This made a great impression on early Christians - the word used - "Abba or Daddy" marked a considerable advance on the Old Testament approach to God where, there, God is thought of a being father only to the nation - to Israel.

But here it is an intimate word - it is a word conveying the sense of a trusting child reaching out for and calling "to Daddy, or even "Dada". In French "Papa" - Greek "Baba", it is speaking with love and security to a sure and a certain "Presence".

In this prayer - and a secret to all prayer is that the first concern is, and should be with God, and what he wants. What so often happens however, is getting or trying to get God to do what we want. Herein lies the difference between religion and magic. Prayer is no magic formula.


The first part of this prayer is about keeping God's name "holy" - that God shall be God - and not the whittling of God down to a manageable size and shape. The first concern is, and should be, for making real God's Kingdom.
 
"Our Father who are in Heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name,
Thy kingdom come,
 Thy will be done - not My will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
And then the prayer here-  leads onto sustenance - Give us this day our daily bread.
Daily Bread is necessary for us and, is today, taken for granted by many people. Yet, we still need to remember and sometimes need to be reminded - that it is a gift and not given to all - by any means.  Not only when we look at situations overseas - but here too on the streets of London themselves.
And then in the prayer - and Second only to the means of supporting life, is the means of maintaining right relationships with others.
Forgiveness and forgiving ....
So here we have the essence of the prayer, and of prayer.
So it is: -
•    God first.
•    God's gift of sustenance and
•    Forgiveness - for ourselves in forgiving others.


What an amazing example of forgiveness shown recently in the widow of the murdered Church Organist Alan Greaves - forgiving his attackers.
Still, if you are like me,  prayer remains the most difficult of things: Sure it is communicating with God but it is also communing with God, being in God's presence, and resting in God's presence. That is not an easy thing to do when we would want to be telling God or asking God.   

It should always be that we think first of God and being in God's presence.

It should not be about us - by that I mean "me".

And thinking of others - yes, but about others and not simply as a shopping list in that regard or telling God things or indeed others in prayer.

For example - "Dear Lord, we remember that it is the church's  fete on Friday at 11:00 and we pray that many here today will make a note of that and come along so that we might be able to build the Church Hall".  No, that is for the notices, Prayer is for giving God the Glory and simply committing things to that Great Presence.


But we can pray aright by remembering the emphasis of this prayer which we say each week and that which is the focus of the Gospel of this day.
That which is known as The Lord's Prayer - but which in essence is - The Disciples' Prayer - for it was given to them - and to us.
It is the perfect template for prayer - to be used - and reflected upon daily.
Amen
 

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