Sermon Seeds: Praying Submissively

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Submitting. Not a popular word or concept. It draws pictures in the mind of quitting and weakness, failure and loss. To modern sensibilities, submission is archaic and dangerous. Many couples have responded so strongly against the concept, they remove it from their marriage vows.

Not only did Jesus include the concept in his paradigm of prayer (Lead us not into temptation), but when he looked out with compassion on the oppressed crowd, he invited them to take on his yoke and learn from him. His call to the disciples was an invitation to follow him. And then he told them that to follow him meant being willing to take up their cross daily and walk his way.

Submitting to a higher authority, following as he leads, learning his way, is woven into everything it means to carry his name, to be his.

So it should not be surprising to us that submission is linked inheritantly to submission. After all, we are asking someone else for something. In that action we are admitting we don’t have all the answers, direction, resources needed and are dependent upon another.

God has lead his people from the beginning: in the garden he walked with Adam and Eve; in the wilderness he led the nation to the Promise Land—using a cloud and a pillar of fire; and Jesus was always pointing his followers to a new way of living and believing.

The old hymn puts it well: Lord, I would place my hand in Thine, nor ever murmur nor repine; content, whatever lot I see, since ‘tis my God that leadeth me (Joseph Gilmore, “He Leadeth Me).

Message Meme: Praying Together

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Last week we considered Jesus’ instruction to pray privately. He was concerned with the potential people possess to try to impress others with with their praying prowess, or maybe even their fear to pray in front of others for fear of judgement.

While many take that instruction and use it to denounce corporate prayer, a cursory read of the Bible would prove something quite different.

Jesus, when asked by his disciples to teach them to pray, gives them what we refer to as the Lord’s Prayer. And the prayer is an instruction to them in the plural: when all y’all pray, pray this way…Our Father.

The prayer is not a self-centered crowd cry of, “Mine, mine, mine, mine.”

After Jesus’ resurrection, when the ragtag group of believers was stuck together in the Upper Room, they filled their time with prayer. Acts 1:14 tells us they “joined together constantly in prayer.”

Praying alone solidifies our relationship with God. Praying together strengthens and grows us for our mission and ministry to the world.

We’re in this…together.