Series: Thy Kingdom Come
Sermon – Praying with Eyes Wide Open
Scripture Readings: Isaiah 43:18-21, Matthew 6:7-15
“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 also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one. (Matthew 6:9-13)
Monday June 3 — Isaiah 43:18-21, Revelation 21:3-5
An important aspect of Christian discipleship is believing and trusting that, through Jesus, God is doing something new and special. Sometimes, we think that we are the ones who have to change the world, but when we read Isaiah 43 and Revelation 21, we discover that God is way ahead of us and is already at work in our lives and in the world. In response, we learn to pay attention to what God is doing and trust God with our lives and the world around us. This week, as you use this GPS, pay attention to when and how you see God at work in your life and the world around you.
• Prayer: Ever-Present God, thank you for doing a new thing in my life and in the world around me. Give me the courage I need to trust that you are already at work. Amen.
Tuesday June 4 — Isaiah 65:17-25
In the penultimate chapter, Isaiah comes back to the promise that God is doing something new. Revelation 21:1 echoes Isaiah 65:17 and points to God’s glorious future. However, the promise of God’s new creation is also for us today. This is what God desires for us and for our world. This is life as God intends. This is the shape of God’s Kingdom, which, through Jesus, has come near (see Mark 1:15). Do you believe it? What signs of God’s Kingdom are you seeing today?
• Prayer: God of Creation and New Creation, help me to perceive your Kingdom work in my life. Tune my senses and open my heart to notice your presence in the world. Amen.
Wednesday June 5 — Matthew 6:7-15
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches his disciples (and would-be disciples) about growing deeper in their relationship with God through giving alms (to the poor), praying, and fasting. His teaching on prayer provides an outline for what we call The Lord’s Prayer. In it, we are taught to pray for God’s Kingdom to come (now and in the future). We have to believe that if we pray as Jesus taught us, God intends to answer our prayer. We should be praying with our eyes open, so that we can see what God is doing and help God answer the prayers of others. What are willing to do today to help someone else experience God’s Kingdom?
• Prayer: Faithful God, your promise to answer my prayers is one of the greatest gifts you could ever give me. Continue to teach me how to pray with confidence and faith. Amen.
Thursday June 6 — Luke 11:1-13
Luke’s account of Jesus’ teaching on prayer is much shorter than Matthew’s. But it is still focused on asking and looking for God’s Kingdom to come into the world and into our lives. In verse 13, Jesus teaches us that what God most desires to give us is the Holy Spirit. As you anticipate the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost (Sunday June 9), ask God to prepare you to receive the gift once again. Consider what steps you need to take to open yourself to God’s presence and power.
• Prayer: Merciful God, forgive me for doubting your promises and not trusting in the presence and power of your Spirit. Prepare me to receive the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Friday June 7 — John 10:22-30
In prayer, we not also tell God everything that is on our hearts and ask God for what we need, we also listen for the sound of God’s voice. What we discover is that God longs to be in relationship with us through worship, prayer, Scripture, Christian community, the Sacraments and other means of God’s grace. Jesus says that he is the Good Shepherd and his sheep know his voice and follow him (John 10:16, 27). What helps you listen for the Good Shepherd’s voice?
• Prayer: God of Love, I am humbled by your promises and the gift of eternal life. Help me to listen for your voice, trust what you say, and go where you send me. Amen.
Saturday June 8 — James 1:1-8
Wisdom is a gift from God. That is one of James’ primary messages and he encourages us to ask God for it. After all, James says, God “gives to all generously and ungrudgingly” (James 1:5). But James also says our asking and receiving requires that we trust God and “ask in faith, never doubting” (James 1:6). Consider your relationship with God. How strong is your faith? Are you able to trust God? Or do you have doubts? In prayer, ask for wisdom, and for faith.
• Prayer: Eternal God, Thank you for the gifts of wisdom and faith. Remove my doubts and help me grow in my ability to seek and trust your will for my life every day. Amen.