Faith-Life Expresses Itself in Fervent Faith-Filled Prayer
These are the readings for the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost.
God’s Word for This Week
God has given most people the wonderful gift of speech. Through words, we communicate our thoughts, ideas, and feelings. Without words it would be much harder to express ourselves, a frustrating prospect! Our thoughts, ideas, and feelings need an outlet, and so does our faith-life! Faith looks for ways to express itself, and one way Christian faith does that is in fervent faith-filled prayer.
First Lesson – Genesis 18:20-32
When Abraham found out that the LORD was planning destruction for Sodom and Gomorrah what did he do?
Abraham prayed to the LORD, asking him to spare the cities for the sake of righteous people who may have been living there. Abraham was especially concerned about his nephew Lot (whom God would, in fact, spare from the fiery destruction that fell on Sodom).
What does this story teach us about our life of Christian prayer?
Abraham shows us how bold and fervent we can and should be in our faith-filled prayers to the LORD, because of his great mercy. Abraham “persuaded” the LORD to spare Sodom and Gomorrah if he found only ten righteous people in them. Therefore, when you pray, do not quit. Keep appealing to God’s mercy in Christ.
Traditional Second Lesson – Colossians 2:6-15
What encouragements does the Apostle Paul give all Christians in verses 6-7?
Paul encourages us to continue to live in Christ Jesus as we are rooted and built up in him, strengthened in our faith and overflowing with thankfulness. Our faith and thankfulness can be especially expressed in a life of fervent, faith-filled prayer.
Why can we so confidently put our trust in Christ for salvation and in our life of fervent prayer?
Paul tells us that we can be so confident in Christ because he is the “fullness of the Deity” living in bodily form. In other words, when we put our faith in Jesus, we are putting our faith in the only true God. When we address Jesus in prayer, we are addressing the only true God. The fervent, faith-filled prayer of the Christian is powerful indeed!
Supplemental Second Lesson – James 5:13-18
What does James say the people to whom he was first writing should do if they are sick?
He says they should ask church elders to come and pray over them and put olive oil on them. (Olive oil may have been soothing/medicinal and probably also brought with it a symbol of God’s blessing. That may be one reason elders were to bring it, rather than family or friends.)
What proof does James give that the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well?
To prove that God can and does answer prayer (sometimes dramatically), James gives the example of Elijah. He prayed, and God withheld rain for three years. He prayed again; God brought an end to the drought.
Gospel – Luke 11:1-13
With his illustration in verses 11:5-8, what is Jesus teaching us about our life of prayer? How should we pray?
With his illustration, Jesus is teaching us to be persistent in prayer. In the same way that the man in Jesus’ illustration continued to knock on his neighbor’s door until the neighbor got up to help him, we also should continue to approach the throne of God’s mercy with faith-filled prayers. Thankfully, our loving heavenly Father is much more ready to help us in our need than a grouchy, groggy neighbor!
What encouragement is Jesus giving us about our life of prayer in verses 9-13?
Jesus asserts that if most earthly fathers give their children good things (even though they are sinners), our perfectly loving heavenly Father will be much more likely take care of our every physical and spiritual need abundantly. God promises to work all things together for the eternal good of those who love him. (See Romans 8:28.)