Lord, teach us to pray

7 Pentecost/Year C

July 28, 2019

Hosea 1:2-10; Psalm 85; Colossians 2:6-15 (16-19); Luke 11: 1-13

Lord, teach us to pray…as John taught his disciples…


When reading and reflecting on this week’s gospel…another familiar scripture this week for many of us sitting here this morning…I kept reading and re-reading it throughout the week…looking for the words and phrases that were jumping out at me this time around…

I kept going back to some of the opening verses, when one of the disciples asks Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”

We don’t really have any scripture references or details that speak about exactly how John taught his disciples to pray…we only know that it seemed to be something important to note…that John the Baptist taught his disciples to pray.

And from what we know about John the Baptist…we know he was preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins…he was preparing others for the coming of the Messiah…the One who would bring the very presence of God among the people…who would bring God’s kingdom here on earth…

One other important thing that stands out for me about John the Baptist…is that he was persistent…he was persistent in calling people to repent and turn their hearts and their lives towards the One who was to come.

When I think about John and his persistence today…I can see how he ends up in today’s gospel reading…I see where his ministry of proclaiming the baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, and preparing others for the coming of the Messiah…is an important part of Jesus’ teaching about prayer, when the disciples ask him to teach them to pray…as John taught his disciples….

I think of John’s life and ministry as a way of praying in the world…and I think about how his life of prayer was rooted in eternal life…focused on the One who would lead us and guide us through the temporal things of life…so that we lose not the things eternal

Jesus begins his teaching about praying… acknowledging the Holy one to whom we are praying…to whom we are putting our trust in, for this life and the next, Father, hallowed be your name.

John taught his disciples to do the same…to repent and return to the Holy One, God...and to the one who grounds us, and roots us in the eternal presence of God…

Jesus continues with the prayer….Your kingdom come…praying that God’s kingdom would come…here on earth...

John taught his disciples this, too…preparing them, for the coming of this new kingdom…

Give us each day our daily bread…Jesus prays…a part of the prayer that reminds us of the daily bread we ask for and are given, the promise of our daily needs being taken care of…

John is persistent in calling people back to this truth…that by turning and returning to God…we will be given what we need...

Jesus continues….And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.

John, as we heard…preached a baptism of the repentance of sins…Preparing a clear path ahead…John baptized the people with water in the Jordan river…being clear, that repentance and forgiveness was just the beginning…And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.  I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

And the last line of the Jesus’ teaching about how to pray….

And do not bring us to the time of trial.

Isn’t that always our hope and prayer…a universal hope and prayer…to not be overcome by times of trial and suffering?

Isn’t that the part of the prayer that often takes the most persistence in believing as we are praying?

That’s where I’m encouraged by John’s example of persistence…and Jesus’ story about the friend who comes to ask for bread in the middle of the night, after everyone was sleeping…which teaches us about the need to be persistent in our prayers…

Reminding us… to never give up…to keep praying with our lips and in our lives….to:

Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

We are called to be persistent…with our prayers…persistent in asking, searching, and knocking on doors…

Who are those people throughout your lives…who have taught you to pray? Who have taught you to pray with persistence…Who are the ones who continue to inspire you and encourage you to keep hoping and praying to not be overcome by the trials and sufferings of this day…Who are the ones who have gone before you, and live among you today…that say, not only with their lips, but with their lives… that there is one among us, to whom we can pray and be grounded in for eternal life…the one who will lead us and guide us through the temporal things of life…so that we lose not the things eternal

I am thankful for the forerunners of the faith, and the saints before us who have taught us about persistence in prayer…and for Jesus’ teachings about prayer, and the promise of life eternal to those who believe in Him….

Who will be looking to us now…to pass on those teachings about prayer…persistence with our prayers…through our words, and in our lives…

Who will we pass on this gift of being persistent in prayer…teaching others…as we ourselves have been taught?


Let us pray: (H 711)

Seek ye first the Kingdom of God
And His righteousness
And all these things shall be added unto you
Allelu Alleluia

Ask and it shall be given unto you
Seek and ye shall find
Knock and it shall be opened unto you
Allelu Alleluia


Rev Julie Platson

St Peter’s by the Sea Episcopal Church