Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed!
Today the theme is prayer because in the church's historical calendar this sixth Sunday of Easter is called Rogate, which is Latin for prayer. In many parts of the world, the arrival of spring rains is anticipated at this time. So today is the day to plead with God for the rains or to thank God for the rains. Today we thank God for that.
In our text, our Lord gave his disciples permission for the first time to pray in His name. "Until now you have asked nothing in my name; ask, and you will receive, so that your joy may be fulfilled." We must understand this correctly, because there are many errors regarding prayer in the name of Jesus.
Saint Paul thus says in our epistle (1 Timothy 2: 1-6), “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ; who gave himself a ransom for all, as a testimony in due course. ” We may approach the throne of God closer with our supplications only because of Jesus Christ, who fulfilled the Law in our place and suffered and died on the cross in our place. Only because we are covered with the blood of Christ do we have this privilege, because we are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus. To understand this privilege in more detail, we should think of all those baptized into Christ as priests. In his first letter, St. Peter says that the church is now the people of God and like the people of Israel in the Old Testament, we are a royal priesthood. Because of this concept of the priesthood of all believers, in our Lutheran churches we avoid the word "priest" for the ministers of the Word and the sacraments. They are the fathers in the house of God and shepherds of the flocks of God. But, all the baptized are priests.
In what way? A priest is someone who offers intercessory prayers and sacrifices to God. We do not offer propitiatory sacrifices, that is, for the atonement of sins, because Christ has made the perfect propitiatory sacrifice on the cross for the sins of all mankind. Therefore, Christ is our High Priest, who entered the Holy of Holies once for all, to offer Himself to satisfy the justice of God. However, as the people of God in the Old Testament offered sacrifices of thanksgiving in the firstfruits of their harvests, we too can offer thanksgiving in praise and offering.
Saint Paul also says, "I urge, above all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be made for all men." To pray for others, not just for our own needs, it is our right and we rejoice in it. But, it is a mistake to pray to the Virgin or the saints as the Roman church teaches. They say to pray to the Virgin is like asking your mother to pray for you. We can ask our mothers to pray for us, but we should not direct our requests to them as mediators between us and God, because there is only one Mediator between God and men, Jesus Christ. Furthermore, the Scriptures warn us against trying to communicate with the dead. The saints pray for us around the throne of God, but we have no contact with them. The first commandment says, "Have no other gods besides me", then only God should be the object of our requests and thanksgivings, in the name of Jesus.
Another thing: Power is not our prayers in themselves, but in the object of our prayers. In our Old Testament reading (Numbers 21: 4ń9-9) those who looked at the bronze serpent were healed of the poison not by any attribute of the bronze serpent, but by the promise that God made to Moses when Moses prayed for his people.
Our words do not have attributes in themselves, but by the Word of Jesus Christ. So when Jesus taught his disciples to pray, it says thus in Matthew 6: 7-8, "And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions, as the Gentiles do, who think that by their verbiage they will be heard. Do not be, then, similar to them, because your Father knows what you need, before you ask him. "
Your Father knows what things you need, before you ask Him. In the catechism, Doctor Martin Luther repeats this motto in his explanations of each request of the Our Father, which is the model of prayer that those verses follow in Matthew 6. But, if the Father knows our needs, what is the purpose of prayer? To recognize His blessings in our lives and to increase our trust in Him and His will. This is the difference between us and the non-believers who cry out, We are missing this and that, and Where is God? In every moment. God never forgets us, but we can forget God if we don't have the habit of prayer. But, if we are in the practice of prayer, we recognize the hand of God in our lives, and we trust that God listens and answers our prayers, it does not matter if the answer is yes, no and wait. Because God knows that it is for our well-being more than us.
God is merciful and generous, and He sent this rain to the pious and impious. But only by His grace, not by anyone's merits. In recognition of God's mercy and grace, let us live with joy and hope, not fear and anguish. Therefore, we have the peace that passes all understanding. Amen.
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