Malagasy Lutheran Church Songs and Gospels Next Sunday X Trinity August 17-22, 2020

« True prayer »

The message: True prayer in the sight of God is that which is according to His will, and which He accepts. It is also called « holy prayer » or « holy worship, » which is pure, straightforward and clear. Such a prayer is pleasing to God, so it is heard and answered by Him, as the Apostle John says: « And this is the boldness we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests made of him » 1 Jn 5:14-15. In contrast, men’s prayer get stuck when inconsistency is involved: disbelief, resentment and hatred, hypocrisy to cover up wrongdoing, slander, jealousy and envy towards one’s neighbor, greed, various habits and practices which grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:30), that is, the fruits of sin that works and reigns in man’s heart, as well as the works of the devil who tempts and condemns men, and leads them to justify themselves as though they were without sin (1 Jn 1:8). In this, the Lord warns his people: « This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me » Mt 15:8, and: « I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth » Rev 3:15-16. Likewise, He cannot put up with « passionate » prayer, as He said: « You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because He no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor at your hand » Mal 2:13b. On the contrary, God greatly rewards those who practice true prayer, « in spirit and truth » Jn 4:24, according to His words: « From there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find him if you search after him with all your heart and soul » Deut 4:29. Therefore, « but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God » Ro 12:2b.

Monday 17.: True prayer as established by God.
« God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth » Jn 4:24.
Reading 1: Rom 6:8-13. Reading 2: Jn 4:20-26. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Jn 4:23-24.
Introduction: In truth, men do not know how to worship God, because the prayer that is pleasing to God is not a striving to be right or to do good, but a sincere and upright heart before Him, which acknowledges Him as the only God to be worshiped, and believes in His Son Jesus Christ whom He sacrificed in order to remit sins and to give eternal life. « But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God » Jn 1:12. This is the work of the Holy Spirit, who « …helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought. But that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words » Rom 8:26.

Tuesday 18: True prayer is not self-justification.
« Do not trust in these deceptive words: This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord » Jer 7:4.
Reading 1: Mt 15:1-11. Reading 2: Jer 7:1-7. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Jer 7:3-4.
Introduction: The “temple of the Lord” is where God dwells in the Spirit. Paul said to the Corinthians, « Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? » 1 Cor 3:16. This is God’s work, of which He is eminently jealous, so that no one can justify himself, saying: « Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am too holy for you » Isa 65:5a. For He said, « These are a smoke in my nostrils, a fire that burns all day long » Isa 65:5b. And « God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble » Jas 4:6b.

Wednesday 19: True prayer brings about the grace of God.
« The grace of God…abounded for the many » Rom 5:15b.
Reading 1: Jn 14:8-14. Reading 2: Rom 5:12-21. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Rom 5:15.
Introduction: True prayer before God is that which honors Him and glorifies His Son, Jesus Christ. The faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior is not futile nor wasted, for He said: « I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son » Jn 14:13. Indeed, it is written: « From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace » Jn 1:16.

Thursday 20: Repent so that you can be delivered from falsehood.
« For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day » Mt 11:23d.
Reading 1: Heb 3:12-19. Reading 2: Mt 11:16-24. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Mt 11: 23d.
Introduction: It is not the sinful man who can justify himself, but God. For « A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise » Ps 51:17b. The prodigal son confessed his sins (Lk 15:21), which convinced his father to come to meet and kiss him. And he spoke up and said: « … Bring in the fattened calf, and kill it. Let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate » Lk 15:23b-24.

Friday 21: True prayer is based on faith.
« Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive » Mt 21:22.
Reading 1: Jas 5:12-18. Reading 2: Mt 21:18-22. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Mt 21:22.
Introduction: « And without faith it is impossible to please God » Heb 11:6a. By faith God justifies men and answers their prayer. For « the prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective » Jas 5:16b. Jesus said to the centurion: « Go; let it be done for you according to your faith » Mt 8:13.

Saturday 22: True prayer glorifies God.
« My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior » Lk 1:46-47.
Reading 1: Ps 9:1-10. Reading 2: Lk 1:46-56. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Lk 1:46-47.
Introduction: The Lord is pleased when those who have received blessings from Him remember to offer Him their thanksgiving and to give glory to Him. For many people think only about presenting their requests to Him all day long. Jesus asked the man who had been healed of his leprosy: « Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner? » Lk 17:17-18. The Lord wants us to be thankful.

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