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Heart of the Church




The Place of Prayer


As July drew to a close, the assigned Gospel in church was Luke 11: 1-4, St. Luke’s record of THE Prayer given to us by our Lord in its shorter, essential form.


In the Lord’s Prayer, our Lord puts everything in its right place.  This past week I listened on the radio to the author of the book The Man Who Knew the Way to the Moon talk about Dr. John C. Houbolt.  JJC folk know that name.  Dr. Houbolt was raised in Joliet with little in earthly terms, but God gave him a sharp mind for math and physics and practical stuff that enabled him to develop the important LOR or Lunar Orbit Rendezvous plan which enabled the moon landing of Apollo 11.  Few people could see what Houbolt saw, but he persisted as “a voice in the wilderness,” and President Kennedy’s hope was fulfilled as the Eagle set down on the moon.   Nurtured in the Dutch community, Houbolt worked with the wonder of God’s order in creation,  Hebrews 3: 4.   The orderly heavens declare the glory of God; the sky speaks of his work, Psalm 19.  Scientists like Dr. Houbolt reflect and create formulae that are derived from this order and possible only by it.  Even after the fall, Romans 8, things are mostly in their place by God’s design.


In the Lord’s Prayer Jesus puts all things in their place.


He puts prayer into the place of our lives by giving this simple, repeated prayer.  When you pray, say….  The Savior then puts us into our right place at outset:  Our Father.  It is the place with him.  Our Father.  This introduction can trip too easily off the tongue.  I picture Jesus pausing.  “Our Father,”  …  says the Son of God and Son of Man.   Jesus is drawing us into a faithful connection with the Trinity.  Our Father.  Pater, Abba.  Papa or Daddy, this is the Father who loves to give what is the best for his children.  The Son of God is opening the way to being children of God.  St. Paul writes of it this way in Romans 8:16,32:


“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.  And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children….  If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?…  Christ Jesus who died-more than that, who was raised to life-is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”


The cross is yet to be borne, the risen Savior is yet to stand confirmed as mediator, but the promise is sure on his lips as he introduces this prayer.  With Luther we proclaim:  “With these words God tenderly invites us to believe that He is our true Father and that we are His true children….”   He calls us to begin rightly:  before we ask anything for ourselves, the Father is acknowledged, more, given the glory and reverence due God.  Reverence.  Several weeks ago I was invited to join John, Brian and Zack for their Eagle Scout Honor Court.  I  listened to Scout Law:

A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful,Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.  That last one:  reverent.  We need more of that in the church.  I agree with NWU Coach Fitz’s observation recently, we have become too casual in our relationships, often on the phone even when we are having dinner with our supposed beloved.  So, I like coffee too, but not in church.  No phone screens, unless Bible apps in church.  Reverent.  Our Father, our attention is drawn to God with a sense of reverence.


Called to the Father, God calls us to His place in our lives:  Providing what we need in daily bread.  We are precious, and God will provide for our present needs.  He calls us to the place of grace for past sin, our own and others.  And he calls us to his presence in future temptation/trials.  Testing includes many challenges to faith in this broken world.  Until heaven we are not fully delivered, but we can meet every time of testing with the presence of God, secure in the risen and ascended Savior.


We get it: The Lord’s Prayer for us and through us with everything in its place, put there by our Savior and Lord.


Praying the Lord’s Prayer with you,

Pastor Ray+