The Prayers of Sinners and Beggars

Good morning. It is Tuesday, June 9, 2015.

Today’s word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is rixation. It is a noun, pretty much obsolete, meaning, “A quarrel, an argument; (occas.) a fight, a brawl. Also: contention, dispute.” I’ll see if I can find a way to sneak that into a conversation today.

Today is Donald Duck Day. It commemorates his first appearance in a cartoon, on June 9, 1934. It was a Silly Symphony, called “The Wise Little Hen.”

I got to watch Christi bowl a bit last night. The USBC web site has a link to the webcams that are set up in the bowling center in El Paso. It moved ever few minutes, so there were times when it was pointed toward the lanes her team was bowling on, so I got to see her a few times. I did get to see a strike that she got. They took two teams, and the team she was on beat the other one. Of course, I have no clue where they placed in the entire standings. I know their CEO, Chad, did pretty well, because, at the beginning, he had four strikes in a row.

This morning, they bowl at 9:00 AM (which is 10:00 here, because El Paso is in Mountain Time). If I can get the cam feed to work on my work computer, I will try to sneak a look, now and then. She’ll be flying home right after their bowling today, and will be back home with us this evening. Unfortunately, I have Huddle tonight, so I won’t get to see her very much.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Summon your power, O God, the power, O God, by which you have worked for us.
Because of your temple at Jerusalem kings shall bear gifts to you.
Rebuke the beasts that dwell among the reeds, the herd of bulls with the calves of the peoples. Trample underfoot those who lust after tribute; scatter the peoples who delight in war.
Nobles shall come from Egypt; Cush shall hasten to stretch out her hands to God.
O kingdoms of the earth, sing to God; sing praises to the Lord, Selah.
to him who rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens; behold, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice.
Ascribe power to God, whose majesty is over Israel, and whose power is in the skies.
Awesome is God from his sanctuary; the God of Israel—he is the one who gives power and strength to his people. Blessed be God!

Psalm 68:28-35

“It is impossible that we could stand one moment in the contest with such enemies as Satan, sin, and the world, did we not receive from God the grace which secures our perseverance.” (John Calvin, Heart Aflame)

(From Solid Joys)

Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”
Luke 11:1

Today’s reading is “Prayer Is for Sinners.”

“God answers the prayers of sinners, not perfect people. And you can become perfectly paralyzed in your praying if you do not focus on the cross and realize this.”

There are many Old Testament instances where God heard the prayers of his people, whose sin had gotten them into deep, deep trouble. But the author, today, sticks to the New Testament, specifically Luke 11.

In Luke’s telling of the Model Prayer, Jesus begins with the words, “When you pray, say . . .” Later, in verse 4, Jesus says, “forgive us our sins.” These two phrases could correctly be connected to say, “When you pray, say, ‘forgive us our sins.'” This is every bit as much a part of this prayer as “Hallowed be your name.” “Which means that Jesus assumes that we need to seek forgiveness virtually every time we pray.”

We are always sinners. We are never perfect. Take note of this: It doesn’t matter how obedient I have been, when I come to God in prayer, I am coming to him as a sinner. “And God does not turn away the prayers of sinners when they pray like this.”

Another place we see ourselves as sinners is in verse 13. If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! Remember, Jesus is speaking to his disciples, here! He called his disciples evil! But he was not implying that they were out of fellowship with him, or that their prayers would not be heard. “He meant that as long as this fallen age lasts, even his own disciples will have an evil bent that pollutes everything they do, but doesn’t keep them from doing much good.”

We are, at the same time, both evil and redeemed. We must recognize this. Yes, we are being sanctified by the Holy Spirit, a gradual process that lasts our entire lifetime. “But our native corruption is not obliterated by conversion.”

“We are sinners and we are beggars. And if we recognize this sin, fight it, and cling to the cross of Christ as our hope, then God will hear us and answer our prayers.”

Father, I thank you that hear my prayers, me, a sinner and a beggar! Yes, I am still evil. Yes, I am redeemed! I recognize both of these truths. The evil in me hurts my heart every day, because I see it and acknowledge it. Unfortunately, I still struggle to stop it from acting, thinking, or speaking. I do not always succeed. This is why I must come to you on a daily basis and confess sin to you. I do believe that all of my sin is forgiven by Christ on the Cross. But I also believe it is necessary for me to confess it. I thank you that you still hear our prayers, though, even while we are yet sinners.

I pray for this day. I pray that Christi will continue to have a good time at the bowling tournament. May she build relationships with work associates during this time. I also pray for her feet, that they will not hurt her badly, this morning, after all the walking and bowling she did yesterday. I pray that you keep her and everyone else all safe on the return trip today, and the drive home from the airport. I pray for safe passage for me, to work and back, today. I also pray for your peace to surround Stephanie, Rachel, Justin, and Mama today. Let the peace that passes all understanding fill their hearts and minds.

I pray for our Huddle that meets tonight. May your grace and mercy shine through us all.

Your grace is sufficient.

May we all live this day with the confidence that, even in our darkest sin, the Lord hears our prayer.

Teach us to pray

Grace and peace, friends.

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