“Pray then in this way:  Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.  Your kingdom come.  Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we have also forgiven our debtors.  And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.”- Matthew 6: 9-13

This is the final week of our month-long focus on prayer in worship, and Tasha will be preaching our final sermon on the Lord’s Prayer.  But it won’t really be the conclusion of our thoughts about prayer.  Next week will mark First Presbyterian’s first ever “Week of Prayer,” when around 80 of our brothers and sisters in Christ will spend a designated period of time in prayer.  I think this will be a very exciting week for our congregation.

It is my hope that this past month will have been a reorientation for all of us.  I say this because I believe that for many Christians prayer can be something which becomes thoughtless or rote.  We pray for the same things at the same time every day, perhaps allowing our mind to wander a bit.  And when we do this we miss an opportunity to commune not only with God but also with our fellow Christians through prayer.  Prayer is the primary practice which connects us to God on a daily basis and it should be alive, vibrant and dynamic.

As the Lord’s Prayer makes clear, there is certainly a place for repetition but that doesn’t mean prayer should ever be rote.  The words of this prayer are as alive today as they were when Jesus first spoke them, and the needs outlined in the prayer are as pressing as they have always been. As we pray we might remember that every time we come before God in prayer is unique; no two are ever the same because we are never exactly the same from one moment to the next.  Some days we suffer, some we are in rapturous joy, some we are in fear, but always we are alive to the issues around us; always we are aware of needs and joys.  Our prayers should be as alive as we are.

So this week I hope our congregation will be alive in prayer.  Even if you did not sign up to participate in the week of prayer please spend this week rethinking how you pray, when you pray, and what you pray.  Let your prayers come alive and remember that prayer is God’s gift to us.

Prayer:  Holy God, we thank you for the gift of your son Jesus Christ, and his place in our lives.  We thank you that he is the evidence of the depth of your love for us.  Help us this day to come before you with open minds and hearts.  We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.=