Pray Until You Pray

banner-teach-us-to-pray.png

“When you pray,” Jesus begins as he teaches about prayer. Jesus assumes we will pray—that prayer will be a part of our daily life. But many of us find prayer to be a difficult discipline. We get distracted, or feel too busy, or don’t know where to start. How do we break through these barriers?

First we have to recognize what prayer is and what prayer is for. Then we can begin to press into prayer.

Daily Bread or Annual Bread?

banner-teach-us-to-pray.png

“Give us this day our daily bread,” Jesus teaches us to pray. In ancient cultures, when workers got paid at the end of each day, and when life was more day-to-day, this was easier to understand. But today we buy groceries for the week, get paid every two weeks, pay our rent every month, and our taxes once/year. How do we know if we’re praying for daily bread or annual bread? What’s the difference between responsibility and excess? And does God really care about something as insignificant as my next meal?

Thy Kingdom Come

banner-teach-us-to-pray.png

Everyone has a source of authority – something or someone whose word we accept as truth. For some of us it’s God; for others a philosophy or political cause; for still others it’s ourselves. But we all submit to something or someone.

When Jesus teaches us to pray, “Thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” he challenges us to identify who our authority is, and he urges us to commit our whole self—head, heart, and hands—to that cause.

Holy Confusion

banner-holy-confusion.jpg

Christians believe in the Holy Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit often gets the silent treatment. Whether we don’t understand the Spirit or fear what submitting to the Spirit might look like, we all have objections.

What happens when we acknowledge and face those objections? What happens when we let the Holy Spirit into our lives?

Divorce and Remarriage: an unreasonable standard?

banner-upside-down-sermon-on-mount-1.png

In his Sermon on the Mount Jesus confronts us with an exceptionally high bar for morality. This morning he addresses his most challenging topic yet: divorce and remarriage. How do we view those subjects as Christians?

The answer will challenge us, but when we remember that marriage is meant to reflect God’s love for us, the pieces start to fall into place.

The Eyes and the Heart and the Eyes of the Heart

banner-upside-down-sermon-on-mount-1.png

In his Sermon on the Mount Jesus begins to confront us with a shocking high bar for morality. This morning he makes this bold claim: “I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Is Jesus just being dramatic? A killjoy? What heart conditions does he have in mind, and how do we pursue the purity of heart to which Jesus calls us?