The Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Atonement

One in Christ. Gifted by Grace. Called to Serve.

Weekly Pastor's Message 7/27/17


Dear friends,

Today I got a haircut and talked with the barber about the presence of God. We talked about our friends who feel God’s absence, who do not think God would help them, or who even doubt that there is a God who could help. The barber mentioned that it seems strange that so many who want help from God don’t seem to consider asking God for that very help. I was struck by this, as it’s just like something Luther taught.

We do not teach that prayer is a wish made to a genie-like God. Prayer is the voice of need, and it comes from the realization that we cannot help ourselves. We are in need of rescue from hardship, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, and the sword. We are in need of help from outside ourselves; but we must realize that need in order to ask for help. But more than that, we must believe that there is one who is able and willing to help us. And so prayer is the voice of need but also the voice of faith, for we pray in faith that the One who hears us loves us and is able to deliver us.

This is what Paul is concerned with in this week’s reading from Romans 8. God has shown in Christ’s death and resurrection that God is for us. In Jesus, God has promised to be for us and with us until the end of the age. What is there to doubt? If God is for us, who is against us? Won’t God, who gave us Jesus Christ for us, also give us everything else? And so in the dangers and losses and sufferings of this life, we are conquerors through him who loved us. We pray in faith because God has shown love for us in Jesus; we pray in need because our only hope and help is in God; and we pray in confidence because our Savior has convinced us and given us faith that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

And so, prayer comes from the true need of the one who believes. We go to the one who we trust when we need help, and we trust Jesus. That’s all prayer is – going to the dependable one who is able to help us, and asking for help in our daily struggles and dangers. We do this because God loves us, and nothing can ever change that.

Yours in the Lord Jesus,

Pastor Gary