Prayer: How Do I Talk to God?

June 2021
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This month’s TLO Disciple focus is Prayer: How Do I Talk to God? The links below will help answer that question.

God’s Word invites us to pray without ceasing. Jesus says to his disciples “Pray, so that you do not fall into temptation” Matt. 26:4. Paul writes, “pray on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints” Eph. 6:18. In Acts 2:42, Luke tells us, “they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” James assures us that “the prayer of the righteous person is powerful and effective.” James: 5:16.

Martin Chemnitz explains that “Prayer is when we pour out our heart before God, coming thus to the throne of grace … with submission and true devotion of heart, for the sake of Christ seeking mercy, grace and help in the things that belong to his glory and are necessary, useful, and salutary for us or given him thanks for blessings received and praise and glory his name.” (Martin Chemnitz, Ministry, Word and Sacrament,; St. Louis, Mo., 2007).

It seems that every day there are new needs for prayer identified. Thanks be to God who hears our prayers and promises to answer according to what is best for us and for our salvation. Prayer has to do with awareness of God’s loving kindness in faith and our response to this love in Christ. As you meditate on this month’s TLO Disciple, may you be led to confident prayer. By God’s grace in Jesus, you are invited to share with the Lord your fears, weaknesses, and sins, even sins and weaknesses in your prayer life, as well as your joys and your praise.

And as you pray, may you rely on God’s gracious promise that even when we do not know how to pray, God promises the Holy Spirit’s help in our prayers by interceding for us with groanings too deep for words (Rom. 8:26).

In Christ,
Pastor James Kroonblawd
Reinvigorate Your Prayer Life

Read these engaging devotional articles on Prayer from the Fall 2020 Lutheran-Life magazine:

  • Lord, Teach us to Pray
  • Is God Listening?
  • Praying God’s Promises back to God
  • You’re in Trouble
  • How Do I Talk To God?
  • Journeying Through Prayer

From Luther's Morning Prayer:
“I thank you, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray that You would keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.”
________________________
Why does Luther bother providing a whole section of daily prayers in his Small Catechism? There’s no doubt that, as is usually the case, Luther relied on the overwhelming testimony of Scripture as to the necessity and effectiveness of prayer in the life of God’s people as a reason to teach and model the prominent place of prayer in the Christian’s daily life. Read more.
From the Bible
 “And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” (Luke 11:9-10).
From the Bible
“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.” Habakkuk 3:17-18
The Little Word “Amen”
The little word “Amen” means the same as truly, verily, certainly. It is a word uttered by the firm faith of the heart. It is as though you were to say, “O my God and Father, I have no doubt that you will grant the things for which I petitioned, not because of my prayer, but because of your command to me to request them and because of your promise to hear me. I am convinced, O God, that you are truthful, that you cannot lie. It is not the worthiness of my prayer, but the certainty of your truthfulness, that leads me to believe this firmly. I have no doubt that my petition will become and be an Amen.

Luther, M. (1999). Luther’s works, vol. 42: Devotional Writings I. (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald, & H. T. Lehmann, Eds.) (Vol. 42, p. 76). Philadelphia: Fortress Press.
Prayer - A Nurturing Your Faith Study
By: Don Everts
The Bible study Nurturing Your Faith: Prayer is a four-session series exploring the role of different types of prayer in the believer's life. Prayers of intercession, gratitude, confession, and praise are considered in various scriptural settings by highlighting a particular prayer's context, who offered it, and why. An opening video featuring Rev. Don Everts prefaces each session and gives context to what follows.

From God's Word
“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11).
Prayer Promises
Again and again throughout the Bible, our Lord repeats his timeless promises to welcome and forgive us, regardless of how far we’ve wandered from home or how long we’ve been gone.

As the Christian t-shirt manufacturers have reminded us, we can F.R.O.G.—Fully Rely On God. This is especially true when we think about returning home to him to ask for forgiveness. Here are just a few of God’s promises about that.

Ephesians 1:7
Acts 10:43
Romans 5:1
Romans 6:23
Romans 8:1
2 Corinthians 5:21
John 3:16

Find and read two or three of these verses in your Bible or an online source. Using one or two of these promises as your prompt, write a prayer based on these promises:

Dear Jesus, Thank you for your steadfast love for me, the steadfast love you showed to all of us by dying on the cross for our sins so we could live forever with you in joy and peace. Help . . .   
From God's Word
“Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” (Psalm 50:15).
“Pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstance so for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18)
Praying in Faith
Matthew 6:7 - (Jesus said) "And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words."

Besides being neglected, the privilege of communing with God is sometimes misunderstood even by those who should know it best. We ask, "Lord, teach us to pray!" because too often people plead in the wrong way. First of all, they do not address the only true God. They ignore Christ and pass by the blessed Trinity. Many a public prayer could be uttered by a pagan or pantheist, and if our requests are not addressed to the One who alone can answer—how can we expect Him to hear?

Read more of this compelling article
Pray for our District Missionaries
Pray for these LCMS Minnesota South District church missionaries and leaders: Alfrieda Baldwin, Nader Alarah, Samuel Deressa, Rev. Vue Lee, Jorge Gomez. Rev. Jonny Vng, Jeanetta Cooper, Dan and Kia Thao.

Meet your Minnesota South District leaders! The District has produced YouTube video interviews with leaders who work in predominately multi-ethnic and multi-cultural contexts in Southern Minnesota. Listen as they share their heart for the Gospel and for reaching as many people in their communities as possible as well as their unique perspectives on race relations.

You are welcome to use them for personal use or a home Bible study--and wherever else you can think of! Click to access the full library!
Martin Luther (portrait by Lucas Cranach)
Quoting Martin Luther
 “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” ― Martin Luther
Ravens and Lillies
 
It may be one of Jesus’ most difficult commands, “Do not be anxious.” Anxious thoughts sweep in quickly and can, without warning, overwhelm us, from the smallest twinge of nerves to gripping, hard-to-breathe anxiety. Food, clothing, shelter, work, school, family relationships, friendships; we can, and often do, worry about everything. Yet our Lord and Savior says, “Do not be anxious about your life.” Jesus does not give us this difficult command and then walk away, leaving us to figure things out on our own. He leads us to replace our worried thoughts with something better. 


Prayer
Heavenly Father, when I am trapped in anxiety and fears for the future, comfort me and strengthen my faith through the hope and peace found in Your Holy Word. Turn my attention to the birds of the air and the lilies of the field, where I see evidence of Your care for all of creation. Through Christ my Savior You have delivered me from sin and death and have brought me safely into His eternal kingdom. You know my needs and you will provide for me, now and for eternity. Hear my prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Hymn
I am trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
   Trusting only Thee;
Trusting Thee for full salvation,
   Great and free.
 
I am trusting Thee for cleansing
   In the crimson flood;
Trusting Thee to make me holy
   By Thy blood.
 
I am trusting Thee to guide me;
   Thou alone shalt lead,
Ev’ry day and hour supplying
  All my need
 
I am trusting Thee, Lord Jesus;
  Never let me fall.
I am trusting Thee forever
  And for all.
 
(“I Am Trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,” LSB 729, vs. 1, 3, 4, 6) Text and Music: Public domain
Walking on Eggshells
 
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Father,
I don’t understand what’s happening,
           what set things off this time.
But I know it’s not supposed to be this way.
No one should have to live like this.
I’m scared all the time,
           even in my own home...
           especially in my own home.
I’m constantly making checklist after checklist,
           feeling like a prisoner,
           being treated like a child.
Or, worse — like someone who is hated.
I walk on eggshells,
           always tense and on guard,
           bracing for what might come next.
I know I’m not crazy.
           I’m not making it up.
           I’m not blowing it out of proportion.
           This is real.
I don’t know what to do.
I can’t just pick up and leave,
           that’s too dangerous,
           too unpredictable.
Lord, You love me.
Protect me from all danger,
           deliver me from all manner of evil.
Hear my pleas for great and abundant mercy,
           my crying out in secret.
In You, I am safe.
           from all things that can harm me.
You are my rock and my fortress,
I trust in You.
Help me find help.
Rescue me!
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
 
Reprinted from You Are Not Alone: A Prayer Book for Victims of Domestic Violence
Martin Luther (portrait by Lucas Cranach)
Quoting Martin Luther
 “Because God’s ways are not our ways, and his thoughts are not our thoughts, God’s answer will usually be somewhat different from what we request. This is why Luther could say, ‘It is not a bad but a very good sign if the opposite of what we pray for appears to happen. Just as it is not a good sign if our prayers eventuate in the fulfillment of all we ask for.’”

Bloesch, 92, quoting Luther from Lectures on Romans (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1961, 240).
Share your prayer request with the TLO prayer chain by calling the TLO Church Office, or submit your confidential prayer request with Pastor Kroonblawd using the Prayer Cares link:

Soli Deo gloria
Trinity Lone Oak Lutheran
2950 Highway 55
Eagan, MN 55121
651-454-7235