If you have never had any distractions, you don’t know how to pray. For the secret of prayer is a hunger for God and for the vision of God, a hunger that lies far deeper than the level of language or affection. And a man whose memory and imagination are persecuting him with a crowd of useless or even evil thoughts and images may sometimes be forced to pray far better, in the depths of his murdered heart, than one whose mind is swimming with clear concepts and brilliant purposes and easy acts of love. ~Thomas Merton
Welcoming Guests and Announcements – Pastor Dave
Hymn Sing – Congregational Hymn Pick
Prayer Concerns – Pastor Linda
Pastoral Prayer – Silent Prayer, Pastoral Prayer, Lord’s Prayer
Scripture Reading – Luke 18:1-8 – Pastor Linda
Message – From helplessness to hopefulness
Communion – Pastors Linda, Dave
Benediction – Pastor Dave
Luke 18:1-8 – New Revised Standard Version
The Parable of the Widow and the Unjust Judge
1 Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart.
2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people.
3 In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my accuser.’
4 For a while he refused, but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone,
5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’ ”
6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says.
7 And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them?
8 I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
Jesus’ parable of the persistent widow who asks for help and justice from an essentially unjust judge, who repeatedly ignores her then finally grants her request. Jesus tells us to pray & never give up. Mothers and fathers understand something of this when dealing with family issues that have no easy or short-term solutions. Jesus teaches us how prayer & faith can help in impossible & problematic situations.
“We can move from helplessness to hopefulness. Regular, repeated, constant prayer shapes the person who prays. Repeated, habitual prayer gradually tests and sifts what you believe is really important We learn prayer is not just about our persistence as God’s unshakable, enduring love for us.
Sometimes we do feel like giving up. We feel that help will never arrive or that we are left completely to ourselves to find a way forward through a painful & thorny problem. Jesus reminds us here that God is in fact quick to listen, eager to hear & know our needs. Although it seems the world can turn a deaf ear to us, God does not. We want people to feel the possibility that God is working.
Take a step of faith, which sometimes means banging on heaven’s door. Persistent prayer practices can change the wiring of our brains, increase our hopefulness, our ability to listen to God and allow prayer to change us.