Maundy Thursday, March 29, 2018

March 29, 2018  

“Prayer”

John 17:1-11

According to the gospel of Matthew, immediately after he was baptized Jesus went out into the wilderness for 40 days and he prayed.
According to the gospel of Mark, after Jesus called his 12 disciples and performed his first miracle, Jesus went to a lonely place and he prayed.
As we just heard from John, just prior to his betrayal and arrest Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane.
Jesus prayed to God “If you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done.”

Jesus was a man of prayer.
There are plenty of others in the bible who prayed. The psalms are a collection of prayers both sung and said. Old Testament prophets and kings prayed. In the New Testament, after Jesus died the disciples gathered themselves together and reminded one another to pray.
In the 15th century Martin Luther emphasized the importance of prayer in all he said and did. Luther is said to have said “I have SO MUCH business I cannot get on without spending three hours DAILY in prayer.” The busier he was the more he prayed! (Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster p. 34).

This is our legacy, our heritage. For our Judeo-Christian tradition, prayer is vital.

Most of us think of “prayer” and think prayer is something we say to God. Either alone or together, we are speaking to God. Which it is. But prayer can be more.

Soren Kierkegaard wrote that “A [person] prayed, and at first [the person] thought that prayer was talking. But [the person] became more and more quiet until in the end [the person] realized that prayer is listening” (Celebration of Discipline Foster, p. 39).

When we consider prayer as an act of listening, we open ourselves to hear, to know how and what God is saying to us. That means laying ourselves aside. (Celebration of Discipline Foster p. 39).

So often people think our going to God in prayer means taking our needs to God. Taking our desires to God. Taking our thoughts to God.

Although prayer can be a time to do those things, a deeper prayer life will tell us, there is a point where we need to set aside our own needs.
We set aside our own desires.
We set aside our own opinions and feelings.
We allow love to guide our prayer; love will create the compassion necessary to embody an attitude of prayer.

Then, in prayer we lay the needs of others before God. And we listen…

In our reading tonight we heard Jesus pray a prayer that recognized God’s power to act in his time, in his world, in his moment. Jesus believed his prayer had the power to influence God’s activity. He trusted God.

We are called to open our hearts and minds to God. We are called to be humble in prayer. We are called to have faith in the God we pray to, to pray boldly, to pray confidently.

The events of Holy week tell us, anything can happen when we trust in God.
After all, out of death God gave eternal life to all who believe!!!

Today we pray, trusting in God’s wisdom.
Today we pray, trusting in God’s power.
Today we pray, trusting in GOD, trusting in the God who loves us so much.
Today, and every day we pray as God taught us.
Amen.