Sunday January 2, 2022 | Greg Boyd
“When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. “Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”.
What is the purpose of petitionary prayer? In this sermon, Greg seeks to answer this question by showing how prayer is a means of partnering with God to join our will with God’s.
There are many different kinds of prayer. Some of them include:
The Lord’s Prayer, or The “Our Father,” begins with praise – “hallowed be your name,” which basically means to keep God’s character distinct. The rest of The Lord’s Prayer, in its essence, is petitionary. Many struggle with petitionary prayer because we have been taught that prayer does not change God, but it changes us. However, the Bible is clear in that petitionary prayer actually has an impact upon what occurs in this world. It makes a different in the reality of what transpires.
Why does God so leverage so much on prayer? First, God is relational and does not want to monopolize what occurs. He gives say-so to his human partners and God’s hope is that we will choose to bring our say-so in line with God’s will. We are co-workers, who are called to bring alongside our will with his. To the degree that our say-so is in line with his, things transgress harmoniously.
Secondly, God creates out of love for the sake of expanding that love. Loving relationships are all about communication. If relationships are the point of God’s creation, then it makes sense that he would hard-wire into the cosmos dependence upon interpersonal communication between God and humans.
Greg asks two questions for us to reflect on: