Sermons

Pentecost 10C (Lk 11:1–13)

July 24, 2016
Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

What do you think when it comes to prayer? That’s what our Gospel text is all about. So, what comes to mind on the subject of prayer? Well, for a lot of Christians, and maybe for some of us, we think, “There’s power in prayer.” Now, it’s true that “the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” But what does James mean when he says that? It’s actually in line with our Gospel text. We’re like the disciples in our text. “Lord, teach us to pray.” How do you do it? What’s the trick to it? What words do I need to say, what feeling do I need to have, how much do I need to pray in order to get what I want. But today I’ve got the Word of Jesus for you. His point is simple. When it comes to prayer,

YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER IS THE GIVER OF ALL GOOD GIFTS.

((I. We doubt that.))

We doubt that. We still think that prayer is some sort of mystical, magical thing. We need to ask in the right way, seek the proper feeling behind our prayer, and knock hard enough—pound if we have to!—in order to get what we want from our Heavenly Father. Was your prayer answered? Well, if it wasn’t, you need to get inline with God’s will for your life and then your prayer will be answered. Maybe your faith wasn’t strong enough if it wasn’t. Maybe you did something, and God’s punishing you by not answering your prayers. All sorts of doubts run into our mind and soul. Maybe God’s just an unloving friend who needs to be bothered enough and then He’ll finally answer your prayer. Look, we know how to give good gifts to our children. If our kid asks for more pretzels, we won’t give her a bowl of rocks; if your son wants scrambled eggs, you’re not going to give him a scorpion. As Jesus says, “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!” Repent! Your Father knows to give you the one thing needful: the Holy Spirit, who creates within you your trust in Christ. There’s nothing bad you can do to make your Heavenly Father not answer your prayers, and there’s nothing good you can do to make your Heavenly Father answer them either. Repent!

((II. In Christ it’s true!))

Your Heavenly Father loves you. He is the giver of all good things. Not for anything that you’ve done, but all because of what Jesus has done FOR YOU. Jesus gifts you with prayer. He delivers His prayer to you. His prayer is a gift. He’s also the Son who prays FOR YOU. Jesus prays His prayer first. Then we pray. He asks His Father on your behalf: “Father, forgiven them.” He seeks your good not His own: “It is finished.” Nails pounded into His hands, in His death, He opens access to the Father, the veil of His flesh is torn open for you, the dividing wall of separation is gone, heaven’s doors are open to you, and you have free access to the Father. Because you’re now in Christ, baptized into Him, when your Heavenly Father sees you, He sees His Son: His perfection, His righteousness, His death and resurrection. This is yours in Holy Baptism, and, through His body and blood in the Supper, Jesus lives in you and you in Him.

You’ve received the Spirit. He was given you in Baptism. He works in you through the Supper. He strengthens your trust in Jesus through the Word. The Father gives you bountifully of the Spirit. How can your Father not continue to give Him when you ask? And if you have the Spirit, there is gift there when it comes to prayer, as Paul says, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” In the midst of our struggles, tragedies, cancers, sicknesses, and death, you are Christ’s. The Father hears your prayer. Unload your burdens on Him because He cares for you, loves you dearly. He waits on His throne for your prayer. When you don’t know what to pray, you have the Spirit who intercedes FOR YOU. Christ also intercedes FOR YOU as your High Priest. You Father receives the Spirit’s intercession and Christ’s on your behalf, but He also hears your prayer. He smiles to hear it. He loves you. He sent His Son to die and rise FOR YOU how can He then ignore your prayer when He sees and hears you as if you were Christ Himself. For by your trust in Christ, being baptized into Him, being fed with His body and blood, that’s who you are: a little Christ, a Christian.

YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER IS THE GIVER OF ALL GOOD GIFTS.

He delivers the Spirit to you who creates faith in Christ. You can unload your burdens on your Heavenly Father. He wants to hear them! You may not get health in this life, you may not get riches, you may not have it easy in this life at all. But because He gives you the one thing needful (the Spirit who creates and sustains trust in Christ), in Baptism, in the Supper, in the Word, then you will rise from the dead, you will receive the eternal crown of righteousness, and you will live forever in your Father’s house where there is no more “death or mourning or crying or pain.” Pray to your Father who gives such good gifts. Prayer isn’t powerful in itself, but it’s Your Father, who gives the Spirit, who sent His Son. He loves you. He does those things for you. He certainly hears your prayers, and gives all good things to you and for you. Now and forever.

INI + AMEN.

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