God cares about us. There is no request too small which we cannot take to our God.
September 26, 2021
Luke 11: 2-4
Pastor Heather McColl
Luke 11: 2-4
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.”
Our worship series on the Lord’s Prayer draws to a close this Sunday with a look at Our Needs, Luke 11: 2-4. For me, this is the perfect way to end: with a conversation about bringing our needs in prayer to God. Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t think the whole purpose of prayer is to tell God what we want to happen and then magically expect God to make it so.
Rather, for me, prayer is an opportunity to center ourselves, to remind ourselves that there is not a concern, not a worry too small which we cannot bring to God. Prayer is a reminder that we are in relationship with God, that God cares about us, that God wants to know what is going on in our lives, wants to know when we are overwhelmed. God wants to know when all the other voices fill our heads with a narrative which simply isn’t true.
That’s why the Psalms are one of my favorite pieces of Scripture. In the Book of Psalms, we get 150 examples of being in authentic, real conversation with God. From being lost and lonely, to scared and worried, to being down right angry with God-it is all there, beautifully written, authentically shared, every range of human emotion and experience-all there in conversation and prayer with God.
The same can be said about the ending piece of the Lord’s Prayer. In the last three lines, there is an invitation to be active participants in the relationship building process within the Kingdom of God. In the last three lines, there is a recognition that our actions have ramifications which go beyond simply satisfying our needs. In the last three lines there is a naming of the dangers of holding on to our resentment, reminding us if we do so, there can never be full healing and wholeness for the wider community.
When we look at the Lord’s Prayer, we see an invitation for all of us to be more present in all we do and say as people of faith because what we do, what we say reflects the very character of God. These words which Jesus invites us, teaches us to pray are not words we say lightly. These words capture the very essence of what it means to be the Body of Christ here on Earth.
When Jesus taught this prayer to his disciples, the systems of the world did not care or worry about people’s survival. What mattered was what the person owned. What mattered was what the person could bring to enhance the power and might of the world. What mattered was how that person could be used or abused to further the agenda of the powers that be.
It can be argued that the same holds true today. The narrative of our world tells us that we have to be the best, that we have to own the best even if that drives us into crushing debt. The narrative of this world tells us that it does not matter who we hurt or betrayed in the process just as long as we achieve our goals.
Yet this prayer which Jesus teaches his disciples, which Jesus teaches us changes that narrative. No longer is our worth based on what we own or what we do or how much power we may have. This prayer teaches us that we matter to God simply because we are named and claimed as a Beloved Child of God. God notices us. God cares about our needs. God cares about all of God’s people’s needs.
These last three lines of this prayer change everything. They remind us that we are connected to one another. They remind us that there is more to being in community than me looking out for myself or for the people who think like me and act like me.
The Lord’s Prayer teaches us that there is a different way to be and that it is a way of love, a way of grace, a way based on building the Kingdom of God here on Earth.
Or let me say it this way….As many of you know I was on a retreat at the beginning of this past week. It was a time of reflection and renewal. It was a time to step back from feeling everyone’s grief upon my shoulders from this past year. This time of retreat was simply a time to be in prayer.
And during that time of prayer, I stumbled upon one of the most honest, most authentic statements which could really be a paraphrase of the Lord’s Prayer for our time now.
This statement was shared by the Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber. And I’m cleaning it up for live-streaming purposes. This statement is simply this: “God, please help me not be a jerk, is about as common a prayer as I pray in my life.”
As people of faith, may this be our prayer now and forevermore.
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