Bible Readings for Sunday, July 24, 2022

Introduction

Persistence in prayer is encouraged by Jesus and wins the attention of God when Abraham intercedes for Sodom. The life of the baptized—to be rooted and built up in Christ Jesus—is to be nurtured with prayer. God hears and answers prayer and so strengthens God’s own. “When I called, you answered me; you increased my strength within me.”

Readings and Psalm

  • Genesis 18:20-32
    Abraham bargains with God for the righteous of Sodom and Gomorrah
  • Psalm 138
    Your steadfast love endures forever; do not abandon the works of your hands. (Ps. 138:8)
  • Colossians 2:6-15 [16-19]
    Buried with Christ in baptism, raised with him through faith
  • Luke 11:1-13
    Jesus teaches the disciples to pray

Overview

Our Persistent, Negotiating Prayer Life

Today’s readings incorporate several themes: negotiation, commands, persistence, and expectation. And surrounding all these themes is a bigger theme: boldness. Abraham is bold in speaking with God, so bold in fact that he not only negotiates with the Almighty, the Almighty willingly grants his request. Abraham had no fear in speaking in such a way to God, because he knew that God was listening and appreciating his concern. The disciples, too, speak with boldness. They don’t ask Jesus to teach them how to pray, they tell him to teach them how to pray. Their imperative sets up a pattern of imperatives as Jesus teaches them the prayer that has been prayed unceasingly in the church catholic. These themes continue in boldness as persistence is encouraged, even to the extent of being able to ask, search, and knock, knowing that the Lord says we will receive what we ask for. And God wants to give to those who ask God. We are to ask in boldness, which comes from being “rooted and built up in [Christ]” (Col. 2:7). Strengthened by the Lord’s supper, we are filled with God’s Spirit to speak boldly and to be persistent in our prayers, and to be ready to receive the things for which we ask. The question becomes, then, what is it we want and need?

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