Preaching Connection: Prayer

Additional content related to Prayer

Psalm 22:19-28

Ordinary Time is just beginning yet the Lectionary directs us to a sometimes difficult psalm.  Yes, we are being asked to consider only the hope-filled, praise-filled conclusion to this poem but it’s not as though we can forget its terrible opening set of verses.  “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” brings us…

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Psalm 31:9-16

Comments, Observations, and Questions It is Palm/Passion Sunday and so God’s people come to church.  We Christians come to church because we believe when we do, we come into the presence of God.  We believe in God and so we believe God is faithful to the promise that when we gather in God’s name, God…

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Psalm 27

C.S. Lewis said somewhere that when you add it all up and consider it all together, in the end we would all find that our prayer life is also our autobiography.  Who we are, where we’ve been, the situations we’ve faced, the fears that nag us, and not a few of the core characteristics of…

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Psalm 1

Few of us do what many monastic and other traditions have done in history with the Psalms: namely, read them straight through and in order.  Instead we bob and weave our way through the Psalms, picking and choosing to read this Psalm or another for no particular rhyme or reason.  And so it’s easy to…

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Psalm 71:1-6

There is a part of the well-known story (and the popular Sunday School story) of “Jacob’s Ladder” that most people don’t know about or just ignore.  The outlines of the story are familiar and are also accurate enough to the biblical text in Genesis: Jacob is on the lam, fleeing the fury of his brother…

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Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

The Sunday text near Epiphany is the Sunday we commemorate the Baptism of the Lord. And yet, in the gospel of Luke, we pretty much miss the whole thing! Luke describes it in the past tense: Jesus was one of “all” the people who were baptized by the John the Baptist. Instead, Luke’s baptism account…

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Philippians 4:4-7

The season of Advent is, for many of Jesus’ friends, as well as the culture in which many citizens of the global west live, a perhaps especially busy one. Many of us are busily preparing for various holiday celebrations, even as a global pandemic and political strife continue to rage among and around us. So…

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1 Samuel 1:4-20

It’s curious how often the purposes of God move forward not just despite familial dysfunction but sometimes even because of it.  We’ve got a load of dysfunction coming up in the Samuel story through the shenanigans of Hophni and Phineas—and Eli’s hand-wringing inability to do a blessed thing about it all.  But we’ve got nettlesome…

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Hebrews 7:23-28

Few promises mean more to hurting people than, “I’m praying (or I’ll pray) for you.” We long to have someone “put in a good word for us” before God. In fact, I’ve even people whose faith is fragile or apparently non-existent seem to often appreciate the thought behind a promise of prayer, if not necessarily…

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James 5:13-20

Were “community” in the deepest sense of the word a commodity that’s traded on some kind of stock exchange, it would be soaring in value. That’s partly because of the law of supply and demand. Genuine community the word is in such short supply that the demand sometimes exceeds the supply. So many things isolated…

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Ephesians 3:14-21

This Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson’s first five words, “I kneel before the Father” (14) suggests that its hearers are eavesdropping on Paul’s prayer. However, the Scriptures’ prayers always almost make me wonder, “How do you preach about an inspired yet overheard prayer?” and “Should we even preach about an overheard prayer?” But Jesus’ friends might argue…

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1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

Paul certainly had lofty ideals for the Christian Church. At the beginning of his first letter to Thessalonica’s Christians, he describes the Church as a community loved and chosen by God. That community, the apostle adds, draws its life from God and lives that life with faith, love and hope. When Paul concludes this letter…

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Psalm 27

C.S. Lewis said somewhere that when you add it all up and consider it all together, in the end we would all find that our prayer life is also our autobiography.  Who we are, where we’ve been, the situations we’ve faced, the fears that nag us, and not a few of the core characteristics of…

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Luke 9:28-36

Not for nothing are they called “Mountaintop Experiences”!  In the Bible, when a story takes us up to a mountaintop, it’s a fair bet that something dramatic is going to happen—indeed, it’s a fair bet that something deeply revelatory is going to happen.  Luke 9 is no exception.  But the drama up there on that…

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Psalm 37:1-11, 39-40

Across the spectrum of poems in the Hebrew Psalter are prayers that fit most every occasion and season in life.  Laments, petitions, confessions, praise, thanksgiving; songs that fit happy days and songs that fit rotten days; lyric expressions of trust and bitter cries of abandonment and anger.  It’s all in there.  That’s an important thing…

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Psalm 138

Our prayer life should be our autobiography, C.S. Lewis once observed.  But that is also why Lewis thought the Hebrew Psalter was such a fitting prayer book since it contains prayers that fit a wide variety of life’s experiences.  Were the 150 Psalms all in one particular emotional register, what help would it be for…

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Psalm 71:1-6

There is a part of the well-known story (and the popular Sunday School story) of “Jacob’s Ladder” that most people don’t know about or just ignore.  The outlines of the story are familiar and are also accurate enough to the biblical text in Genesis: Jacob is on the lam, fleeing the fury of his brother…

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Philippians 4:4-7

The Bible is full of commands to “Rejoice.”  Yet they’re not always calls to God’s people to just “be happy.”  After all, the Scriptures’ calls to rejoice sometimes seem to come in the context of the least happy times and places. For example, the Paul who writes the Epistolary Lesson the Lectionary assigns for this…

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Philippians 1:3-11

This second Sunday of the month of December seems like an appropriate time to explore Philippians 1:3-11.  Its theme of thanksgiving is, after all, consistent with the Thanksgiving holiday that Americans recently celebrated.  What’s more, this Sunday is also near the beginning of the Advent season in which we look forward to “the day of…

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Hebrews 7:23-28

This may not seem like a particularly appropriate Sunday on which to preach about priests.  After all, Protestant Christians are preparing to celebrate the birth of the Reformation that the corruption of the Roman Catholic priesthood in part fueled. What’s more, the Reformation emphasized the priesthood of all believers.  Since Protestant Christians recognize that all…

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Psalm 27

While this Psalm has been the source of inspiration and consolation for many believers, there’s a sense in which it is a troubling Psalm. There is a great tension in it. Perhaps dichotomy is a better word. It is composed of two entirely different parts. The one is a magnificent confession of unshakeable trust in…

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Luke 9:28-36

Not for nothing are they called “Mountaintop Experiences”! In the Bible, when a story takes us up to a mountaintop, it’s a fair bet that something dramatic is going to happen—indeed, it’s a fair bet that something deeply revelatory is going to happen. Luke 9 is no exception. But the drama up there on that…

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Philippians 4:4-7

Comments, Observations, and Questions Growing up in a family of modest means, I learned early the value of Reader’s Digest Condensed Books.  We couldn’t afford the real thing, those lovely complete books, so we read those abbreviated and edited versions of bestsellers and classics.  They were very helpful, though not nearly as graceful as the…

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Hebrews 7:23-28

Comments and Observations The Protestant Reformation, the French Revolution, and the recent sex scandals in the priesthood of the Roman Catholic Church will make this text (and much of Hebrews) a real challenge to preach.  With its emphasis on the priesthood of all believers, the Reformation made the intercession of human priests unnecessary.  All believers…

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