The Lord’s Prayer – 2013-07-28 – Sermon

The Lords Prayer | What to pray for

Revd Dion J. Blundell | 28th July 2013

NEWSLETTER BLURB: What should we pray for

This week we hear the prayer of Jesus. When the disciples said to Jesus: “teach us how to pray” they weren’t asking what should we pray? Or how should we pray? They knew how to pray.  Rather they wanted to know, what is most important? What needs to be front and centre in my life before God? Jesus’ answer was:

Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.
And do not bring us to the time of trial.’

Our role as disciples of Jesus is to think, what do I need to do to bring this to fullness in my life? We then need to pray it into life, into life in our lives. Because we have the power to change our own life.

In Christ’s service together, Dion.

Overview

The Lord’s prayer is a challenge to focus on God’s Kingdom.

It challenges us to look at our own lives and prayers and what our prayers focus on. Do they focus on what God calls us to?

Text

Luke 11:1-13

He (Jesus) was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.’ He said to them, ‘When you pray, say:

Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.
And do not bring us to the time of trial.’

And he said to them, ‘Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, “Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.” And he answers from within, “Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.” I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.

‘So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’

Sermon

THEME: Focus

Today,
our reading from Luke and the Lord’s prayer invites us to focus.

To focus on what we want from life and where we are going.

If we don’t focus,
at best we wander,
and at worst we simply contribute to the clamour of society.

Our minds and prayers have a tendency towards noisiness and wandering onto trivia;
the Lord’s Prayer is a challenge to discipline:
– our minds
– our lives.

The clamour of our prayers and lives really comes through in the video clip we are about to see.

VIDEO Clip

In the movie Bruce Almighty,
Bruce has been given God’s powers and responsibilities.

In the clip we are about to see,
he is struggling with all the prayer voices in his head,
how should he process them?

< — clip — >

The thing with prayer,
is often it is quite un-structured,
and we just “blurt-things-out.”

And while that’s okay,
after-all, Paul tells us to take all things to God in prayer,
there comes a time when we must become more disciplined.

Child – narcissism

We see that in our children.

They can be quite narcissistic at times and think the world revolves around them.

They want you to be intricately involved in things and can go through  lot of detail,
dragging you along with them so that they get affirmation.

And there is a place for this.

But as they grow,
this place becomes more infrequent.

And their relating to each other,
and to parents and adults changes to a slightly different way,
where we “check-in” rather than living,
or re-living all the details together.

You become more responsible for your life and think what details will I take to my parents?

The Lord’s prayer starts to help us think what is important,
what will I take to God?

What is important

When the disciples said to Jesus: “teach us how to pray” they weren’t asking what should we pray? Or how should we pray? They knew how to pray.

Rather they wanted to know,
what is most important?

What needs to be front and centre in my life before God? Jesus’ answer was:

Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.
And do not bring us to the time of trial.’

Jesus was articulating what God’s Kingdom would look like,
and what the values of God’s Kingdom would be.

The Lord’s prayer is as much of a challenge today,
as it was in Jesus’ day.

Today we still struggle to live by it.

Our role as disciples of Jesus is to think,
what do I need to do to bring this to fullness in my life?

We then need to pray it into life,
into life in our lives.

Because we have the power to change our own life.

And as we change our own life,
we change the world around us just a little.

What do we value

What we pray for shows us what type of Christian we are,
by showing us what it is we value.

What we spend time on in prayer is what we value.

And this was at the heart of the question from the disciples to Jesus.

What type of disciples should they be?

Should it look like their current life?
or- Like John?
or- Like Jesus?
or- something else.

Following on from this is a direct question to us:
What type of Christian am I?

Our prayers tell us a lot about who we are,
and where we are in our faith development.

Are our prayers all rushed: “Lord save me from this….”

Are they just interested in ourselves?

Or do they also look outside of ourself.

As Anglicans we pray;
and prayer is an important part of who we are.

Some criticise us for the prayer book,
and say that it takes something away from us;
and there is at times a truth in this.

However, the prayer book also focuses us,
on what to pray for,
it forces us to look outside of ourselves,
and when we are going through a spiritually dry time,
it can help us to look outside of ourself when we would rather just look inwards;
it has its place,
but not to the detriment of loosing complete responsibility for our prayers.

The Lord’s prayer in its simplicity gives us a vision into God’s Kingdom;
it says:

Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come. 

This means, we work for God’s Kingdom now,
we don’t put it off,
we don’t delegate,
it is your responsibility,
it is my responsibility,
it is our responsibility.

Do our prayers and our lives work for God’s Kingdom?
Our prayers need to work towards God’s Kingdom.

Does our prayer bring us closer to God and God’s people?
They should.

We need to live and pray for God’s Kingdom.

The next line:
   Give us each day our daily bread. 

Imagine a world,
a Kingdom,
when we only asked for what we needed,
our daily bread.

Imagine a world where we didn’t fight to control tomorrow,
but a world where we only needed our daily bread,
and we settled for that.

God’s Kingdom is a group, a family of people willing to settle for this,
for our daily bread.

We can’t control tomorrow,
and letting go of tomorrow,
and instead asking for today,
is the way of God’s Kingdom.

That means putting our tomorrow in God,
and trusting that God has things in hand.

the next line…

   And forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.

God’s Kingdom is a place of forgiveness,
and we need to start that now.

If we can’t forgive,
then we are unlikely to be able to live in God’s Kingdom,
as God’s Kingdom is a place of forgiveness, hope and new life.

In God’s Kingdom we will be surrounded by forgiveness;
if you don’t have the ability to forgive and be forgiven it’s likely to be an unbearable place for you.

If you don’t practice giving and receiving forgiveness now,
it will be incredibly hard to live in God’s Kingdom when forgiveness is the only way.

This is our opportunity,
to learn to forgive and be forgiven.

The last line…

  And do not bring us to the time of trial.’

Means that the powers of darkness will not over come us,
it means we will not give in to evil,
in whatever shape it takes.

This little line,
that we wont give in to evil is one of the hardest lines.

We also say this in our baptismal vows,
we say:

I renounce all evil.

And we re-affirm this vow at each service with the Lord’s prayer.

Powerful isn’t it!

The Shape

So Jesus has asked us to pray God’s Kingdom into place.

His prayer shapes our prayers,
our life,
and his Kingdom.

Through praying the prayer,
through living the prayer.

And the challenge to us today:
Do our prayers match?

The Lord’s prayer focuses us on:
–  living and praying for God’s Kingdom
–  forgiving and being forgiven
–  settling for our daily bread.
–  not giving in to evil.

What do your current prayers focus on?

Crunch moment:
Focusing on God’s Kingdom

Today there is an INVITATION to FOCUS on the mission of God’s KINGDOM.

To pray the Lord’s prayer,
into our heart,
and into the world?

Do you believe it?
Will you allow it to focus you?

Let us pray:
Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,  for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.
And do not bring us to the time of trial.’

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