Summer Breeze, Week 1 of 6

Devotions for Mendakota friends, 2022

Rick Mattson (rickmattsonoutreach@gmail.com)

This series is open to anyone at Mendakota. I’m very thankful for my MANY friends and acquaintances at the club, including employees who serve us so faithfully.

Scripture:

Jesus said to them, “When you pray, say:
‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.'” (Luke 11:2-4)

Commentary: This Scripture represents one version of the “Lord’s Prayer,” sometimes called the “Our Father.”

But why pray?

In my job as a traveling speaker for a college campus ministry, students can ask any question about religion when I show up at their school. At the University of Utah a student said, “If God already knows what I’m going to say, why even pray? It seems pointless.”

My reply was that prayer represents conversation inside a two-way relationship. Prayer is like talking with a loving parent. But often we think of prayer as trying to convince a distant, remote God to do things or to give us things. “God is not a genie,” I said. “God is a person who invites us into a divine friendship.”

It seems to me the Bible portrays God as a wise parent who’s eager to give guidance, love and blessings to us, his children. Sometimes he gives us challenges as well, which can test the relationship.

The “Lord’s Prayer,” cited above, touches on several themes that are important to Jesus, of which I will mention three:

  1. God is called “Father,” which is personal and familial.
  2. He is holy (“hallowed”), and we are called to confess our sins before him.
  3. “Daily bread” represents his provision for our needs, for which we can give thanks.

Books have been written on the Lord’s Prayer, so my comments are inadequate. The bottom line is that Jesus teaches us to pray in a personal manner. And he invites us into friendship with God, which in the ancient world of gods and mythology was quite a radical idea.

May I suggest: radical today as well.

Week 2 on “Making Contact” is here