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Psalm 23

 
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
 
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
 
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.(ESV)

It Shall Be So

Monday of Easter 2

4 April 2016

"Why should God listen to my prayer, if I am such a miserable sinner?" Good question! Apart from Christ, it is a difficult question to answer. In Christ, the answer is easy. God gives us every reason to pray and we have absolutely supreme confidence that He hears our prayers. This is true not because we are good "pray-ers," but because He is a good God. He has promised to hear our prayers. Since God can never lie, He will fulfill His promise to us.
 
When we pray "deliver us from evil," we are acknowledging the ever present evil one who stalks the Christian. God is forcing us to make this acknowledgement of such mounting trouble against us Christians. Christians are not like the three monkeys, "Hear no evil. See no evil. Speak no evil." We are not moral ostriches, but we pray confidently, "Deliver us from evil," thus outing the devil.
 
So when God points out the real trouble that surrounds us every day and He gives us the prayer, "Deliver us from evil," we pray not in the wan hope of a hearing, "if perhaps God might somehow make time to hear us, if He wouldn't be too busy with more important things..." but on the surety of God's promise in Christ to graciously regard our prayer and answer it. This is why Christians conclude their prayers with the ancient Hebrew word for "truly." "Amen," means that we are confident that God will fulfill His gracious promises to us. Thus groveling and sniveling prayer is hardly the Christian ideal, but bold, confident prayer is the Christian pattern for addressing God who has promised to deliver us from all evil. "Yes, yes, it shall be so," for God promises to answer and rescue us for Christ's sake.

 

Martin Luther

"[In the Seventh Petition,] God has in summary placed before us all the distress that may ever come upon us, so that we might have no excuse whatever for not praying. But all depends upon this: that we learn to say 'Amen.' This means that we do not doubt that our prayer is surely heard and that what we pray shall be done (2Co 1:20). This is nothing else than the word of undoubting faith, which does not pray on a dare but knows that God does not lie to him (Tit 1:2). For He has promised to grant it. Therefore, where there is no such faith, there cannot be true prayer either.
 
"It is, therefore, an evil deception on those who pray as though they could not dare from the heart to say 'Yes!' and positively conclude that God hears them. Instead, they remain in doubt and say, 'How can I be so bold as to boast that God hears my prayer? For I am but a poor sinner,' and other such things.
 
"The reason for this is, they do not respect God's promise, but they rely on their own work and worthiness, by which they despise God and accuse Him of lying. Therefore they receive nothing. As St. James says, 'But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord' (Jam 1:6-7). Behold, God attaches such importance to this fact that we can be sure we do not pray in vain, so that we do not despise our prayer in any way."

Martin Luther, Large Catechism, 3.119-124
 
Prayer
Dear Father in heaven, deliver us from all kinds of evil, of body and soul, property and honor. And when our last hour comes grant us a blessed end and graciously take us from this vale of tears to Yourself in heaven. Yes, yes, it shall be so. Amen.
 
For Dodie DeYoung, that the holy angels would surround her bed, and that her gracious Lord in His time would grant her a blessed relief from the burdens of this life
 
For Mary Vidal, who is undergoing diagnosis, that the Lord Jesus would bring her health and healing
 
For the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sudan, that God the Lord would strengthen and keep it in the true faith
 
For the family of Jed Foronda, that God our heavenly Father would provide comfort in the midst of grief
Art: RUBENS, Peter Paul  The Resurrection of Christ (1611-12)

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