SERMON SERIES: “Lord, Teach Us to Pray”
SERMON TITLE: “We Pray for Our Needs”
SERMON TEXT: Matthew 6:7-15, 25-34
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: September 15, 2019, at First UMC
A new book is being published this month. The author of the book died in Poland in 1942. Renia Spiegel’s diary was hidden away in a bank vault for 70 years. Her story was too painful for her family to have it translated into English and brought out in public until now. Very much like The Diary of Anne Frank, this diary of Renia Spiegel tells what it was like for her to be a Jewish teenager, hiding for years before she was found and killed by the Nazis. In one of her diary entries, Renia prayed, “Lord God, let us live, I beg you, I want to live! I’ve experienced so little of life. I don’t want to die.”1
Can you imagine what it would be like to live in hiding in an attic or a crawl space under a floor for several years, fearing for your life? Can you imagine how great your basic needs would be for food, water, and sanitation? Can you imagine how lonely you might be or, on the other hand, how crowded you might be—never having any personal space? Can you imagine how hard it would be not to see the sun or the colors of nature? Can you imagine in the 1940s how drafty and cold or how hot and miserable your confinement might be? Can you imagine how much you’d long to stretch your legs and move about freely? Can you imagine how many prayers like Renia’s that you would lift to God?
Throughout this month of September, I’m preaching a sermon series called “Teach Us to Pray.” That was the request of one of Jesus’ disciples in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 11. In Luke’s Gospel, that’s when Jesus immediately taught them The Lord’s Prayer. On September 1, we talked about that passage of scripture as an introduction to prayer. On September 8, we went to the Old Testament book of Second Chronicles and read the prayer of King Solomon as we thought about what it means to pray, “Our Father, who art in heaven hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
Today, we’re back in the New Testament, this time finding The Lord’s Prayer in Matthew’s Gospel. Here in this context, let’s ponder the line, “Give us this day our daily bread,” and consider how we might pray for our needs.