ASK THE FATHER
As Christ met with His disciples the night of His arrest He endeavored
to give them strength and encouragement for what lay ahead. The Lord
talked to them about many things and one of the topics was prayer.
Christ said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in
my name, he will give it to you.” (St. John 16:23b) A very short
statement, but one that contains three very basic principles regarding
Christ said, “…ask of the Father.” The most fundamental principle in
prayer is the recognition of God the Father as the source of all good.
As St. James put it, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from
above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no
variation or shadow due to change.” (St. James 1:17) Man’s failure to
recognize God in this way is the source of many evils. According to St.
Paul man’s ingratitude is his most basic sin, which leads to many other
evils. “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or
give thanks to him, but became futile in their thinking, and their foolish
hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and
exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man
and birds and animals and reptiles.” (Romans 1:21-23) In His
ingratitude man attributes good things to something other than God; to idols,
nature, chance, or himself. The first principle of prayer: recognize the
Father as the source of all good and be grateful to Him.
The second principle of prayer is that we must actually pray. Christ
said, “...ask the Father.” St. James said, “You do not have, because
you do not ask.” (St. James 4:2b) So why don’t we pray? Four reasons
come to mind. Some do not pray because they have a fatalistic view.
They reason, if God is sovereign He will do what He chooses to do
regardless of my wishes, so prayer is useless. This is not only a failure to
obey God’s Word, but is down right pagan. A more common reason for not
praying is plain old laziness. Real prayer is hard work and anyone
who does not realize that knows very little about prayer. We have to
work at prayer and some are not willing to do so. A third reason for our
failure to pray as we should is due to lack of faith. To pray
effectively we must believe that God is indeed our Father who wants us to talk
to Him and has assured us that He does hear and will answer the prayers
of His children. If we have a faulty view of God or do not truly know
Him as our Father this will undermine out faith and our prayers. A
final reason for not praying has to do with the many distractions of
life. In his parable of the sower Jesus told about a type of soil filled
with weeds. In explaining the meaning the Lord said, “As for what was
sown among the thorns this is the one who hears the word, and the cares
of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word and it
proves unfruitful.” (St. Matthew 13:22) Unfortunately some of us allow
weeds to grow in our lives which take up all the room and time for
Prayer is a personal relationship with God. God of course is quite
capable of acting without us praying. He is all powerful. However, He
has chosen not to present Himself to us as only a power, but as a Father.
He is a Father who desires that His children talk to Him and depend
upon Him. Every parent knows what his or her child needs, but we want
our children to talk to us that we might have a personal relationship of
love and trust.
The third principle of pray is that it must be in Christ’s name. Jesus
said, “…ask of the Father in my name.” What does this mean? It
certainly means more than saying “In Christ’s name” at the end of a prayer.
Christ’s name is not some sort of magic word or incarnation. To pray
in Christ’s name if first to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the only
means of access to the Father. Jesus said of Himself, “I am the way,
and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through
me.” (St. John 14:6) On another occasion Jesus described Himself as
the door to the sheepfold and said that if anyone tries to enter by some
other way he is a thief and a robber. (See St. John 10:1-10) It is
only true faith in Christ that gives us the right of entrance to the
Father. The door is closed if we try to enter by any other means.
To pray in Christ’s name also means to pray as He prayed. Our Lord
prayed with complete trust and submission to the Father’s will. In the
garden Jesus prayed that the cup might be removed, yet He concluded, “Not
my will, but thine be done.” St. James after telling us that we do
not have because we do not ask went on to say, “You ask and do not
receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” (St. James
4:3) We are to ask boldly as Christ did in the garden, but we are to
ask with a submissive heart, with complete faith that our Father will do
what is best. As we know, no loving parent will give their child
something harmful, but only what is best for the child whom they love. Our
heavenly Father is a perfect parent.
Someone once said that prayer is the life’s blood of the Church. It is
certainly true that in the long history of the Church that times of
spiritual vitality and growth have been the times when believers were a
praying people. And those times of spiritual lukewarmness and
corruption have been times when the Church was not strong in prayer. So what is
the best thing you may do to help the Church? The answer is simple.
Become a man or woman who really prays.
By Rev. F. M. Levi
The ladies of the Woman’s Guild sponsored a Father/Son Breakfast
Saturday morning May 3, 2008. A delicious breakfast of French toast and
sausage was served. The theme of the breakfast was sports, so a number of
competitive games were played. Rev. Levi gave a devotional entitled
“The Christian Race” in which he pointed out several sports references in
the Epistles and their application to our lives.
A new RE mission was started in April. The mission is meeting in Alsip,
IL and is called The Church of the Pentecost. It is a Nigerian
congregation and the pastor is The Rev. Olu Olujide. Do pray for the success
of this mission as it ministers to the many Nigerians who are moving
into the area.
Missionary of The Month
Judy King. Bible Translation/Discipling. Amazonas, Brazil.
Saturday, June 7, 2008, 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Bring your clean usable
clothing, jewelry, toys, and small household items to the church the
first week in June. Call the church for drop-off hours: (708) 614-7404.
Jun. 3 – Madeline Levi
Jun. 7 – Grant Chessman
Jun. 8 – Mildred Buescher
Jun. 8 – Melissa Drobnak
Jun. 9 – Patty Levi
Jun. 14 – Carl Spencer
Jun. 15 – William Garrison
Jun. 15 – Audrey Garrison
Jun. 16 – River Christenson
Jun. 17 – Dave Sellers
Jun. 18 – Jacqueline Robertson
Jun. 18 – Paul Sellers
Jun. 21 – Anita Rago
Jun. 22 – Robert Novak
Jun. 23 – Brian Stultz
Jun. 30 – Frank Levi, Jr.
Father’s Day Special
by Ruth Lommatzsch
Now and then it’s time to say
Something in a special way,
And so to fathers everywhere;
May God grant you His special care.
Give you health and happiness
And all your families richly bless,
Not just while Father’s Day is here,
But on each day of every year!