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Monday, July 25, 2016

The Reverend John Smith: "Prayer is absolutely essential to our life with God."

Free Wi-Fi
If I had to say what type of clothing I have the most of, it would be t-shirts.  I've bought a few, but most of the time, I get t-shirts as gifts or by donating or participating in an event.  One of my favorite t-shirts (recently I looked for it, but couldn't find it- darn!) says on the front:  "Prayer:  the fastest wireless connection."  When I first saw it, I smiled, and thought it was so clever and so true.

"Prayer is absolutely essential to our life with God"
John+
Prayer is absolutely essential to our life with God.  The Trinity are three persons we can talk to, and listening, we can be nudged into the ways God is leading us to do God's will.  St. Teresa of Avila, one of my favorite saints, defined prayer as "frequent solitary converse with One whom we know loves us."  She's talking about an inner dialogue that runs constantly in the background of our lives and frequently during the day can come into the foreground and be the focus of our intention providing a deep joy even in the midst of our daily routines and struggles, and when needed giving us a nudge to some action.
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There's two main parts to prayer:  the talking part and the listening part.
John +
There's two main parts to prayer:  the talking part and the listening part.  The talking part is the easiest.  It's perfectly fine to ask and make our needs known to God.  God might know them already, but it is still good for us to determine what they are, think about them, and make them part of our dialogue with God.  The listening part of prayer is not as easy for us.  This is where, after we've made our needs known to God, and put them in God's hands, we stop and listen for the "nudge" of the Holy Spirit in the direction of God's will for us.  We leave these moments of dialogue and get up to carry on the activities of our day more confident that God is with us and God's is working itself out in our life.  Aware of this, even a little, leads to deep contentment and joy.
The disciples of Jesus:  Jesus taught them to address God as Father.
The disciples of Jesus noticed that he often went apart to pray.  Most of them knew the synagogue prayers and psalms, but the idea of going "apart" and praying by oneself remained a mystery to them.  One day they got up the gumption to ask Jesus to teach them to pray.  Jesus taught them to address God as Father.  Today's version from Luke's Gospel is a little shorter than the version Matthew's Gospel gives us.  

Here's Luke's:

Father, hallowed be your name.  Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread.  And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.  And do not bring us to the time of trial.

Matthew's version comes in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount and fills out Luke's version:

Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.  On earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

The differences:  Luke shared his version with a largely Gentile audience who had no notion of "heaven."  Matthew's audience was largely made up of Jews who did have a notion of heaven.

But both prayers contain a petition that God's kingdom come.  As I've mentioned before, the meaning of this petition is not about dying and going to heaven to experience God's kingdom, but instead it's asking that God's kingdom be realized here on this earth.  On earth as in heaven.  Earth is where the action is.  This earth is where God's kingdom of love, peace, and justice (in the sense of sharing earth's resources, not putting bad guys in jail) must, and is, taking hold.  The day is coming when heaven and earth will be one reality.
 Our lives are in God's hands, not God doing our will, but living in God's will.  And sensing joy! 
John+
When we pray and talk to God, the Lord's Prayer, can always be our "go to" prayer.  And then we listen, mostly in silence, as God irradiates us with his love and then, getting back to our daily life with confidence, nudges us in ways that can accomplish God's will for us and the others around us!  This is exciting stuff, being guided by God's will in the here and now.  Our lives are in God's hands, not God doing our will, but living in God's will.  And sensing joy!  Wow!

One of the most frequent questions people ask these days is:  does this place have wi-fi?  We can't live without it.  Just think about this:  In our life with God, the wi-fi connection is always open, and if we desire to "connect" with God, it can always have five "bars."   (emphasis added, LR)

This is Good News!  

Amen!
John+
St. Alban
Saint Alban Episcopal Mission (English) meets for mass every Sunday at 10:00 A.M. (see welcome letter at sidebar) at Casa Convento Concepcion, 4a Calle Oriente No. 41, Antigua, Guatemala.


The Reverend John Smith, Vicar.
5235-6674 cell telephone (502 country code)


THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH WELCOMES EVERYONE 

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