Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Saturday after the Eighth Sunday after Trinity Sunday

Posted on August 13, 2022 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: St. Matthew 21:18-22 (NKJV)
21:18 Now in the morning, as He returned to the city, He was hungry. 19 And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, “Let no fruit grow on you ever again.” Immediately the fig tree withered away.
20 And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither away so soon?”
21 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. 22 And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
“Whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
Now here is a passage with which many have done a great deal of mischief. “Name it and claim it” was the buzz phrase. It was Janis Joplin’s “oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz,” elevated to the level of actual dogma. It is based on a terrible misunderstanding of prayer, which imagines God can be forced to honor the covetous words of our old sinful natures.
Prayer is not a magic formula for operating the “grand vending machine in the sky.” When our Lord says “believing,” He does not mean believing in the power of the petition; He means believing in the God who is being petitioned. And a believing, faithful prayer says back to God what He has given our mouths to say.
What God has promised, pray for that. What He has forbidden, pray against. And what He has not specified in Scripture, be tentative about. Pray “Thy will be done.” Pray with confidence that it will be. And then, God grant us faith to rejoice in whatever answer He is pleased to give us. When we pray, however God is pleased to answer, rejoice that He is giving you the best possible answer, for the sake of the love He has for you through Christ Jesus.
Prayer: Grant to us, Lord, we beseech Thee, the Spirit to think and do always such things as are right; that we, who cannot do anything that is good without Thee, may by Thee be enabled to live according to Thy will; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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