Today’s readings, followed by a few pastoral & personal thoughts.
1 Thessalonians 1:6-10 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost. 7 So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing. 9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; 10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
Luke 11:1-10 And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. 2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. 3 Give us day by day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. 5 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? 7 And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. 8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. 9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
The “Our Father” was taught by the Lord as a model of how to pray. The teaching does not end with the recitation of the prayer! IMMEDIATELY after the Lord finishes reciting the words that we know so well, He tells us we must pursue God in prayer. Too many recite the “Our Father” in the morning or evening, or perhaps even both times let this suffice as prayer for the day. This is not what the Lord taught us.
It is easy to learn prayers, but the Lord does not teach us to say prayers by rote here. We must be as the man who goes to his friend at Midnight. We must pray with consistency, insistency and expectation. It does us no good to know the right words to say if we do not say them in the right way.
Have we learned to pray as the Lord has taught us?
The Explanation of the Holy Gospel according to St Luke, by Blessed Theophylact, published by Chrysostom Press – http://www.chrysostompress.org/.
Priest Seraphim Nov 5/18 2008. St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church , McKinney, Texas
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