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As for me, my prayer is to you, O LORD. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness. Deliver me from sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters. Let not the flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up, or the pit close its mouth over me.
Answer me, O LORD, for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy, turn to me. Hide not your face from your servant; for I am in distress; make haste to answer me. Draw near to my soul, redeem me; ransom me because of my enemies! (ESV)
No Time to Pray?
Thursday of Lent 4
10 March 2016
While traveling in Greece, my wife and I had the good fortune to meet a Greek shipping magnate (really!). The man, intensely proud of his country (and for good reason), eagerly desired to take us to lunch while we were in Athens. We demurred, not sure whether our schedule would permit it. But he was very insistent and just before parting company he inquired of us the name of our hotel.
As my wife and I walked back to the hotel, we discussed his invitation and concluded that it would be impolite of us to decline his gracious invitation and I predicted (rightly) that there would be a message waiting for us at our hotel renewing the invitation. We accepted his invitation and spent a fabulous Sunday afternoon partaking of Greek seafood delicacies in an outdoor café and being driven around Athens to recommended sites. It would have been rude of us not to accept this man's hospitality.
Sometimes we treat God as though we could not possibly take Him up on His invitation to set before Him our deepest needs in prayer. Our schedule won't permit it! We don't have time to pray. How rude toward God! It is no wonder His righteous anger burns against such as us. He graciously bends His ear to us, condescending to our every need, seeing to every trouble, and we don't have time to pray?
Nor should we think that God does not have time to listen to someone as small and insignificant as us. Is He God or is he merely Bruce almighty? Can He be overwhelmed by all the prayers being pelted at Him? Hardly, or He would not be God. Our heavenly Father listens to, understands, and answers every true petition, especially the "little" ones. Does he not know when a sparrow falls to the ground? Therefore, He will stoop to catch the little sigh that falls from our troubled lips before it hits the ground. This is why He commands to pray. He promises to hear.


Martin Luther

"Prayer, as the Second Commandment teaches, is to call upon God in every need. He requires this of us and has not left it to our choice. But it is our duty and obligation to pray, if we would be Christians, just as it is our duty and obligation to obey our parents and government. For by calling upon God's name and praying, His name is honored and used well. This you must note above all things, so that you may silence and reject thoughts that would keep and deter us from prayer. It would be useless for a son to say to his father, "What good does my obedience do me? I will go and do what I can. It makes no difference." But there stands the commandment, "you shall and must obey." So here prayer is not left to my will to do it or leave it undone, but it shall and must be offered at the risk of God's wrath and displeasure.
"This point is to be understood and noted before everything else. And by this point we may silence and cast away the thoughts that would keep and deter us from praying as though it does not matter if we pray, or as though prayer was commanded for those who are holier and in better favor with God than we are. Indeed, the human heart is by nature so hopeless that it always flees from God and imagines that He does not wish or desire our prayer, because we are sinners and have earned nothing but wrath (Rm 4:15). Against such thoughts (I say), we should remember this commandment and turn to God, so that we may not stir up His anger more by such disobedience. For by this commandment God lets us plainly understand that He will not cast us away from Him or chase us away (Rm 11:1). This is true even though we are sinners. But instead He draws us to Himself (Jn 6:44), so that we might humble ourselves before Him (1Pt 5:6), bewail this misery and plight of ours, and pray for grace and help (Ps 69:13). Therefore, we read in the Scriptures that He is also angry with those who were punished for their sin, because they did not return to Him and by their prayers turn away His wrath and seek His grace (Is 55:7)."

Martin Luther, Large Catechism, 3.8-11
Lord, You have commanded us to pray, tenderly inviting us to believe that You are our true Father, and that we are Your true children. Send Your Holy Spirit to grant us boldness to ask You confidently and with all assurance, as dear children ask their dear father. Amen.
For Mari Menard who is suffering from back issues, that the Lord would grant her strength and healing
For Art and Yvonne Narr, who are aging, that they might accept help and, as their strength wanes, increase in faith with the constant assurance of Christ's love
For Christians who are being persecuted by so-called church authorities who are enemies of the gospel and are enforcing politically correct manias in place of the gospel of Christ, that God the Lord would keep these persecuted Christians steadfast in His Word

Art: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias Isenheim Altarpiece (1515)

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