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An Urgent Conversation with God

I pray not only for these, but for those also who through their words will believe in Me
Acts 7:55-60; Psalm 97:1-2,6-7,9; Revelation 22:12-14,16-17,20; John 17:20-26

Sermon Week Seventh Sunday of Easter Cycle C

Scripture Summary John 17:20

During an adult Bible Class, the discussion turned to the meaning of prayer. "Ask, and it will be given to you ... for everyone who asks, receives," the pastor quoted from Jesus' "Sermon on the Mount." Then he asked the group whether they prayed regularly to God and, if so, what did they usually pray for. One person said that he prayed for continued good health. A woman answered, "Happiness." Several said that they prayed for eternal salvation in the next world. But one older woman kept shaking her head when she heard these answers. When it came to her turn, she said, "It's very simple. I believe in God, and what I pray for is that He believe in me."

In sharp contrast to that woman's approach, many years ago, in a book called "God and My Father," author Clarence Day recalls his father's attitude about prayer. He says ...

"In moments of prayer, when he and God tried to commune with each other, it wasn't his shortcomings that were brought on the carpet, but God's. He expected a great deal of God. It seemed that God spoiled his plans which aroused his wrath. He would call God's attention to such things. He didn't accuse God of gross inefficiency, but when he prayed, his tone was loud and angry, like that of a dissatisfied guest in a carelessly managed hotel." -1

Reading that troubling description, many of us may find it easy to identify with the disciple who came to Jesus and said, "Lord, teach us to pray" (Lk. 11:1). We identify with this disciple because we know prayer is essential, but sometimes difficult. But the trouble is we use certain words and phrases -- we go through the motions of praying -- but nothing seems to happen. And we become discouraged.

"Lord, teach us to pray." When we look to Jesus for our prayer instruction, we discover what the Apostle Paul meant when he said to "pray without ceasing." In Mark's Gospel, Jesus begins the first day of His active ministry in Galilee, "preaching the Gospel of God, and [...]

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