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Romans

8:9-17

 

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs-heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. (ESV)

God's Children Pray

Friday after Ash Wednesday

20 February 2015

Why should we be amazed that Jesus prayed to His Father? What Father does not want to hear His child talk to Him? Even the babbling of a baby is the language that a father wants to hear. As we hear the baptismal liturgy used with an adult, we are sometimes troubled by the words that appear to be addressed to infants and small children. We wonder why there are not biblical texts more appropriate for adults. But what would such texts sound like? What would they be about? Would they talk of the great moral capacity of adults? Or the enormous strength of their spiritual will. Or about the good choices they make? Hardly! What Bible texts speak of such things? Bible texts talk about our fallen nature. The heart of man is only evil continually (Gn 6:5)! Instead, the texts that talk about conversion are those that refer to us as little children, capable of nothing.


 

At the font we confess that we are children of God. Who would want to be more than a child of God? What text ever calls us "adults of God?" What's better than being a child of God? Christ's constant prayer is actually evidence of His unity with His Father and therefore of His full divinity.


Jesus speaks to His Father in prayer just because He is the perfect Son. We are also made children of God in baptism; making the baptismal font the source of new life and the very font of prayer. As Jesus is God's Son, we are God's sons. Why pray? God's Son prays, and therefore God's sons pray.

 

Martin Luther

 

"All this is said (Jn 16:26-27) to Christians for the purpose of giving them the boldness and confidence to rely on this Man and to pray with complete assurance; for we hear that in this way He unites us with Himself, really puts us on a par with Him, and merges our praying into His and His into ours. Christians can glory in this great distinction. For if our prayers are included in His, then He says: "I will tell of your name to my brothers" (Ps 22:22) and "The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs-heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ' (Rm 8:16-17). What greater honor could be paid us than this, that our faith in Christ entitles us to be called His brethren and coheirs, that our prayer is to be like His, that there is really no difference except that our prayers must originate in Him and be spoken in His name if they are to be acceptable and if He is to bestow this inheritance and glory on us. Aside from this, He makes us equal to Himself in all things; His and our prayer must be one, just as His body is ours and His members are ours. So St. Paul says: 'We are members of His body' (Eph 5:30), of His flesh and bone.

 

To give them greater comfort, Christ must remind His disciples of this glory in these last words of His; but He must do so by telling them that everything hinges on their belief that He was sent for this purpose in accordance with God's counsel and will, in order that they may pray confidently in His name and do everything Christians should do. For this dare not be omitted or forgotten. Otherwise they would pray and worship no differently from the way the Turks and the heathen do.

 

Martin Luther, Sermons on John's Gospel, 16.26-27 

 

Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, teach us to pray that we might call upon Your Father as dear children ask their dear Father. Amen.

 

For police and other public safety officers, that they would be upheld in their duty

 

For Ruth Sovis, that she would be patient in her time of convalescence and brought by her Father to health and wholeness


For the faculty and staff of Memorial Lutheran School, that the Lord would grant them the gift of willing service to children and families
 

Art: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias Isenheim Altarpiece (1515)

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